Alt Text is short for “alternative text”. It is a brief description that is added to images on websites, blogs, or social media platforms.
It helps the visually impaired who are using screen readers to understand what an image is about, but it also provides context for search engines to comprehend visual content.
Consider that there are approximately 1 billion image searches on Google per day. If you want to improve your chances of your business being seen and indexed by search engines, it is vital for you to add alt text to your images.
The Role of Alternative Text in your content
Alternative Text enhances the user experience by making your content more inclusive and informative. Let me explain how…
As I previously mentioned, alt text provides a written description of images. This allows those with visual impairments to understand the content of the image with screen readers.
Alt text therefore ensures that everyone can engage with and comprehend the visual elements on your page.
Alt Text offers a clear and concise description of an image. It tells of its relevance to the surrounding content. This context enriches the overall comprehension of the page or post.
For individuals who may experience slower internet speeds, the alt text further serves as a placeholder. It provides essential information about the image’s content, even if the image itself hasn’t loaded. This ensures that users still receive the intended message and information.
How alt text boosts SEO
Another reason why you should be using alt text in your online content is of course to increase the opportunity for your business to show up at the top of a search engine results page.
Remember that search engines like Google and Pinterest can’t “see” your images. They can “read” your alt text, however.
When you accurately describe your images in the alt text, search engines are better able to understand your content. If they can better understand your content, your online visibility will improve, increasing the potential for you to attract more clients to your business.
Best practices for using alt text
- Be descriptive. Remember that the main purpose of alt text is to describe the image to someone who can’t see it. Make your descriptions accurate but succinct. Do not write “pen” but instead write “purple ball-point pen laying on blank sheet of white paper”.
- Provide contextual relevance. Consider how the image contributes to the overall message of the page and provide a description that aligns with it.
- Do not use phrases like “image” or “image of”. Again, be specific and highlight the most important elements of your image.
- Use your keywords wisely. While alt text is a great place to use your keywords, do not fall into the trap of stuffing your images with keywords. Make sure that your keywords fit naturally and enhance the description of the image.
- Regularly review your alt text. As you change and update your pages, make sure that your alt text continues to align with the current content and context of the image.
- Don’t ignore any images. All images should have an alt text. If the image is just for decoration on the page and has no real value to the meaning of the page, use the coding alt=””. This tells screen readers to skip this image. Again, remember to never leave an empty alt text.
Alt Text improves your online visibility
As websites load faster and internet providers offer more rapid options, alt text may not seem important, but it is.
A well-crafted alt text bridges the gap between your visual and non-visual audience making your business more inclusive. It also ensures that search engines have a solid understanding of what your content is about and how to better place it on search results pages.
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