We are revamping our site, and will be live with a new version by next month.

 

Are you uploading images without Alt text on your website? If yes, then it can harm your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This is because search engines like Google and Bing crawl web pages and can understand image files using the image Alt tag. So, let’s understand the uses of this tag and how you can add them to your images. 

What is Alt Text?

Alt text is also known as alternative text, alt attribute, or alt description. It serves as a brief yet detailed image description of an image’s content or function on a web page. It was initially developed to aid individuals who are blind or visually impaired and have difficulty understanding visual content. In such scenarios, the alt text plays a vital role in enhancing their browsing experience when interpreted by screen reader software. 

Beyond accessibility considerations, alt text plays a significant role in ensuring that website images are properly indexed and understood by search algorithms. This improves the website’s visibility in search results. 

The alt text appears in place of an image if it fails to load and is crucial for SEO efforts. It is commonly implemented within HTML code or through content management systems (CMS). It ensures that both users and search engine bots can effectively interpret and interact with web page content seamlessly. 

Importance of Alt Text

Here are some of the reasons why alt text is crucial and should be included in your images:

  • Alt Text Aids in Inclusivity

Alt text plays an important role in ensuring inclusivity on websites, particularly for individuals with visual impairments or different learning abilities. By providing descriptions of on-page images, alt attributes enable screen readers to convey this information to users who may not be able to view the images themselves. This ensures that all users, regardless of their abilities, can engage with the content effectively. 

  • Enhances Visibility in Search Engine Results

Search engines Google, Bing, and Yahoo interpret queries to be best supported by visual content. Due to this, the search engines display image packs alongside text-based results. Optimizing images with descriptive alt text helps them surface in these image-based results, enhancing the website’s overall search engine ranking. 

  • Provides Additional Context for Image Content

To optimize images for search engines, it is essential to follow image SEO best practices, including using modern and relevant file formats and names, as well as schema markup, While Google has advanced computer vision technology to analyze image content, providing alt text remains important as it offers additional context that may not be captured by algorithms alone.

Related :   Best Tips to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings |Top Search Engine Ranking

Google’s documentation confirms that computer vision and alt text are utilized to understand imagery, emphasizing the importance of providing descriptive alt text. Running images through tools like CloudVision API can help ensure that Google accurately interprets image content, particularly for images where the subject may not be immediately obvious. 

  • Has a Potential Role in Emergencing Search Scenarios

Alt text may play a key role in emerging search scenarios like visual search or multi-search, where users can search via images or a combination of images and text. While the exact impact of alt text in these scenarios is still being explored, its descriptive qualities suggest that it could provide value in helping users better understand and interact with visual search results. 

What is the Impact of Alt Text on SEO?

Alt texts can be considered an essential part of search engine optimization for images, helping search engine crawlers index them correctly. Failure to set alt tags can negatively affect the ranking of web pages, as search engines rely on this information to understand images and content accurately. 

Additionally, alt image text serves a vital purpose when browsers are unable to display image properties. In such cases, alt attributes are displayed instead. This ensures that users still receive meaningful information about the images, thereby, enhancing the user experience. 

Overall, alt text improves accessibility by describing images to visitors who cannot see them. Not setting alt text for SEO makes it challenging for search engine crawlers as well as screen readers to interpret content, leading to a diminished user experience for visually impaired individuals. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize setting descriptive alt text for all website images to ensure accessibility for all users and enhance SEO performance. 

What Does Alt Text Look Like in HTML Code?

You can easily see what an alt text looks like in the HTML code of a website. Right-click any image on a website and select “inspect.” It opens up Chrome DevTool where you can look, or search, for the img alt.

For example, if there is an image of kittens playing with various toys, the alt text in the HTML code would look like:

<img src=“kittensplaying.gif” alt=“Kittens playing with toys”>

How to Add Alt Text to Images?

Adding and managing alt text on a web page doesn’t require technical expertise or delving into HTML code. Moreover, most content management systems offer options for inserting and editing alt text while uploading content. 

Related :   Generate Questions from a Piece of Text - On Page SEO

When adding an alt text to an image, remember that striking a balance between being descriptive and avoiding keyword stuffing is crucial. To determine if your alt text is effective, envision having someone read it aloud to you with your eyes closed, aiming for a reasonably accurate portrayal of the image. 

For example, let’s consider an image depicting a vibrant bouquet of flowers.

A subpar alt text would be- <img src=“flowers.png” alt=“flowers”>

While the text suffices, it lacks details and fails to fully describe the image. An improved version of the alt text would be <img src=“flowers.png” alt=“colorful bouquet of assorted flowers, including roses, tulips and daises”>

This alt text offers a better description, providing specifics about the types of flowers in the image. However, make sure to avoid writing your alt text like- 

<img src=“flowers.png” alt=“ ”>

Or 

<img src=“flowers.png” alt=“roses tulips daises flowers”>

The first example lacks alt text entirely, whereas the second example employs keyword stuffing, diminishing the quality and usefulness of the alt text. 

How to Write Alt Texts for Images that are Good?

When composing alt tags for SEO purposes, it is crucial to avoid solely focusing on the SEO benefits. This is important as it can distort the primary purpose. Remember that the major function of alt text is to aid individuals who are blind or visually impaired and are unable to comprehend image content. 

Therefore, your foremost objective should be to accurately describe the content of the image, steering clear of keyword stuffing. Keep alt tags concise and descriptive, utilizing only one or two keywords as needed. 

Examples of alt text:

  1. Suppose there is an image of a musician playing a guitar on stage. 

Less effective alt text- Guitarist

Good alt text- Musician playing acoustic guitar on stage

  1. An image of an office where professionals are working on their computers. 

Less effective alt text- Office

Good alt text- Business professionals working on computers in a modern office setting

  1. An image of a calm beach setting. 

Less effective alt text- Beach 

Good alt text- Sunny beach with palm trees and turquoise water

  1. An image showcasing mountains and sunrise.

Less effective alt text- Mountains

Good alt text- Majestic snow-capped mountains under a vibrant sunrise sky

  1. An image of a bookshelf filled with colorful books. 

Less effective alt text- Bookshelf

Good alt text- Library filled with rows of colorful books.

Related :   Different Types of SEO | Benefits of On Page SEO | Sept 2023

It is important to note that the alt text should provide meaningful descriptions of images to enhance accessibility for all users. These alt tag examples showcase how providing details can enhance the accuracy of these alt texts and ensure a positive user experience.

Best Practices for Image Alt Texts

When incorporating attribute image texts, focus on creating informative and relevant content that integrates keywords appropriately while aligning the page’s context. While optimizing alt for search is important, it is essential to remember its primary purpose. 

Follow the below practices to curate SEO-optimized alt text for images that benefit both users and search engines:

  • Be Specific

Compose image alt text by envisioning how you would verbally describe it over a phone. Be concise, as most screen readers cut off alt text at around 125 characters, rendering longer descriptions unhelpful to users.

  • Avoid Introductory Phrases

Given the character limit, refrain from adding introductory phrases that identify each image. Phrases like “This is a picture of,” or “This picture shows,” consume valuable space and user time unnecessarily. 

  • Incorporate Keywords Thoughtfully

Integrate relevant keywords into your alt text, but steer clear of keyword stuffing which detracts from the user experience. 

  • Avoid Repetition

Alt text serves to provide additional information from visual content. So, refrain from duplicating existing content within alt tags. For instance, if an infographic depicts steps to change a tire, and the accompanying post already outlines those steps, avoid repeating the same information in the alt tag. 

  • Consider Text Inclusion Based on the Importance

Whether to include text from an image in the alt tag depends on its relevance to the page’s information. If the text contributes significantly to the content, such as a book cover title or infographic heading, including it in the alt tag may be appropriate. 

  • Exclude Alt Descriptions for Decorative Graphics

According to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), an image is deemed “decorative” if it serves no functional purpose beyond aesthetics. Avoid providing alt text for purely decorative images like graphic dividers or background images, as it would clutter the screen reading experience without adding valuable information. 

Conclusion

Thus, alt text plays a crucial role as it helps in enhancing accessibility as well as positively impacts SEO. Make sure to add relevant alt text descriptions to your images to ensure your website is search engine optimized. Abide by the best practices to ensure the correct usage of this tag.