What is Alt Text?
Alt text is also known as alternative text, alt description, or alt attributes. It’s a short description of an image that is used to provide accessibility and SEO benefits.
Alt text is typically added to an image’s HTML code. It is written within the alt attribute, which is enclosed in quotation marks. Here’s an alt-text example of what it looks like:
<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”Image alt text” title=”Image Title”/>
Key Purposes of Alt Text
Alt text is not alt tags. This serves several purposes:
- Accessibility for visually impaired users. A descriptive alt text provides a way for visually impaired users to get the content of an image. Screen readers read aloud the alt text to help them understand what the image is about.
- Replacement for broken images. When an image fails to load correctly, this acts as a substitute. Instead of encountering a broken or missing image, a screen reader user see this. This helps them comprehend the intended message or visual information to convey.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This contributes to improving the accessibility and discoverability of web content. Search engines utilize this to understand image content and include it in search results.
- Enhanced browsing experience. A good alt text creates a more inclusive browsing experience for all users, regardless of their visual abilities. It enables people who cannot see images to understand the context and meaning conveyed by those images.
Having the right strategies and team can assist you in optimizing both the image and alt text itself. SEOLeverage can conduct keyword research to identify the relevant and target keyword to include in the alt text. By incorporating these keywords, your images can rank higher in search results.
Tips for Writing Alt Text
Here are things to keep in mind:
- Check for missing anchor texts. Review your website’s images and ensure that each one has alt text assigned to it. You can use a tool to crawl your site, like SEOLeverage App, to find an image that has a missing or empty alt attribute.
- Be descriptive. This should accurately describe and provide context about the image SEO. For example, a text for a photo of a cat might be “A white cat with blue eyes is sitting on a windowsill.”
- Keep it concise. Create alt text as concisely as possible while still being descriptive. A good rule of thumb is to keep it under 100 characters.
- Use keywords, but sparingly. Just like with the alt tag, you can use keywords but don’t overdo it. Remember, keyword stuffing is discouraged by Google and can be ineffective. This practice can be a danger not just to the image but to the entire web page.
- Avoid using image file names or URLs. The alt text should not simply repeat the image links or filename. Also, don’t put this in your decorative images.
- Test your alt text. Once you have written this, test it to make sure it is descriptive, concise, and accurate. You can do this with screen reader users or by asking someone who is visually impaired to read it.
While an image’s alt text is not a silver bullet for accessibility or SEO, it is an important component of both. By taking the time to write good alt text, you can make your site more accessible and user-friendly for everyone.