Alt Text

What Is Alt Text?

Alt text (alternative text) is descriptive text within an image tag that tells users and search engines what an image is about or the function of the image on the web page.

what is alt text

It’s used by visitors who are visually impaired and use screen-reading tools.

When the screen-reading tool gets to the image on the page, it reads the alt text out loud so the visually impaired user can still understand the image and its context.

The alt text will also display if the image fails to load for any reason.

But that’s not all…

Google also needs help understanding what images are about. The Google search algorithm heavily relies on alt text to understand each image online.

What does that really mean?

Put simply – Image alt text is also an essential part of search engine optimisation (SEO).

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Why Is Alt Text Important?

Image alt text is important because it fundamentally improves the accessibility of your website by describing images for visually impaired people.

It also plays an essential role in SEO by helping search engine crawlers like Googlebot understand what your image is about

Let me break it down…

There are essentially three reasons you should use alt text:

  1. Make your website more accessible
  2. Boost your image SEO
  3. Improve user experience

3 reasons to use alt text

By adding alt text to your images, people with low vision can still read and understand your content.

You’ll also help search engines better understand that image, which will help you rank higher for Google image searches.

And if for some reason your images don’t load properly – The alt text will be displayed which will enhance your overall user experience.

The bottom line is alt text is a must for any website owner.

How To Add Alt Text To Images?

To add alt text to images, use the alt attribute in the HTML image tag (<img>).

For example:

<img alt= “descriptive text about the image” src=” image.jpg”>

Simply add your alt text after the alt= part of the HTML code.

The good news is that most modern content management systems like WordPress have a dedicated field to add alternative text fields when uploading or editing an image.

It looks something like this:

wordpress alt text field

This makes adding alt text a breeze whenever you add a new image to your site.

Best Practices For Alt Text

Below are the best practices for writing good alt text.

1. Be Descriptive

Provide a detailed explanation that conveys the same message as the image.

Think about what information you’d need if you couldn’t see the picture.

This is how you come up with accurate and descriptive alt text that improves user experience.

2. Keep It Concise

Keep your alt text descriptions short and concise.

As a general rule, you should keep alt text between 30 and 100 characters.

Long alternative text descriptions can make it difficult for screen reader tools and may not be fully displayed in the search results.

3. Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Don’t just shove as many keywords as possible into your alt text.

Google is smart and will pick up on what you are doing, leading to worse rankings.

Incorporate keywords naturally and contextually. If a user reads your image’s alt text, they shouldn’t know you purposely added keywords into it.

4. Be As Specific As Possible

Write alt text that accurately reflects what the image is about OR what’s happening in the image.

The alt text should be in context with the content surrounding the image to help search engines better understand it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Your alt text should be no longer than 100 characters in length. This will ensure you have enough characters to write descriptive alt text without overwhelming visually impaired users.
No, alt text alone is not an official Google ranking factor. But using quality images in your content and optimising them is a key part of image SEO. Alt text is essential to optimising your images correctly, so you must add it to each image on your site.
Alt text is a short description embedded into the HTML image code. It provides essential information and improved accessibility for users. Image descriptions are placed within the content itself and are used for longer, more detailed explanations.

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