This guide will teach you about alternative text (alt text), including what it is, why it is important for SEO, how to use it correctly, and more.
This is a very useful and straight-to-the-point guide with tips and advice you can use right away to improve the SEO and accessibility of your website.
What Is Alt Text?
Alt text, also called “alternative text” or “alt attribute,” is just a piece of text in the HTML code that describes the image. It is not a tag, so the term “alt tag” is not correct.
What Are The Uses Of Alt Text?
The first thing alt text did was just give a description of an image that couldn’t be loaded. When the internet was much slower, many years ago, alt text would tell you what an image was about if it was too big to load in your browser.
Images don’t fail to load as often as they used to, but if they do, you’ll see the alt text instead. Now, both search engine bots and people who use screen readers can benefit from alt text:
Alt text lets people with disabilities (like those who use screen readers) know what’s in an image. Alt text also helps search engine bots figure out what the picture is about and where it fits in.
Like every other part of SEO, it is often used in the wrong way or even abused.
Let’s look at why alt text is important in more detail.
Why Alt Text Is Important
Websites and the web as a whole are very visual. Hardly any websites don’t have pictures or other graphic elements.
Alt text is very important because of this.
Alt text helps translate the image’s content into words. This makes the image accessible to a wider audience, including people with disabilities and search engine bots that aren’t smart enough yet to fully understand every image, its context, and its meaning.
Why Alt Text Is Important For SEO?
Alt text is an important part of SEO optimization on the page. If you optimize your alt text, your website is more likely to show up in Google’s image search.
Yes, Google Image Search uses alt text as a ranking factor.
Depending on what your website is about and how specific it is, traffic from Google image searches may be a big part of your website’s overall success.
For example, when looking for products on ecommerce sites, people often start with a Google image search instead of typing the name of the product into the normal Google search.
If you don’t optimize the alt text for your product images, Google and other search engines may show less of them or none at all.
If you don’t optimize your images well, you could lose a lot of traffic and customers.
Why Alt Text Is Important For Accessibility?
Visibility in Google’s image search is very important, but accessibility is even more important.
In recent years, accessibility has gotten more attention and focus. This means that the web is now easier for everyone to use, including people with disabilities or who use screen readers.
What if the alt text of your images actually told what they were about instead of, say, stuffing keywords? In that case, you are making it easier for people who can’t see this image to understand it and the rest of the web page.
Let’s say that one of your website pages is a guide to SEO auditing that includes screenshots from different crawling tools.
Wouldn’t it be better to describe what each screenshot is about instead of putting “SEO audit” in the alt text of every image?