Adding alternative text for images is the first principle of web accessibility. It is also one of the most difficult to properly implement. The web is replete with images that have missing, incorrect, or poor alternative text. Like many things in web accessibility, determining appropriate, equivalent, alternative text is often a matter of personal interpretation. 5280 Software LLC, a professional SEO services company is here to help you understand the importance of ALT Text in SEO.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what is alt text for images and try to understand why it plays such an essential role in SEO. You’ll also discover some excellent tips to write proper alt text for images to improve your chances of gaining more visibility in search engine results. SEO companies that have the most success should optimize their website in the first phase of SEO work.
WHAT IS ALT TEXT ?
Alt text (alternative text), also known as “alt attributes”, “alt descriptions”, or technically incorrectly as “alt tags,” are used within an HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. Our professional SEO agency can help you with this HTML code if needed.
Typically, visitors will not see this text unless the images are disabled or broken. If that happens, the alt text is shown inside the image boundaries. This attribute can also be used for embedded video, applets, and other media.
HTML requires every image to have an “alt” attribute, and it’s a good idea to create alt text that’s as accurate as possible, so that search engines can understand the image’s content. This is represented as alt=“ ”, with the alt text written inside the quotation marks.
Image alt text also improves the web experience for those using screen reader devices. The reader will recite the text on a page, and when it reaches an image, it will recite the alt text as well. Those with poor vision will still be able to understand why you’ve included an image, making the page more accessible. Our SEO online marketing services include optimizing these images as our first phase of your project.
- Whether or not you perform SEO for your business, optimizing your website’s image alt text is your ticket to creating a better user experience for your visitors, no matter how they first found you. We offer a better online marketing strategy than our competitors that will lead to more of these visitors to your website.
HOW TO ADD ALT TEXT TO IMAGES
Simply add an alt attribute to the
<img> tag in the HTML code.
Image with an alt tag:
<img src=“pie.jpg” alt=“steak and ale pie”
If you’re using a modern CMS, it should be possible to add alt text without having to dig into the HTML code.
For example, in WordPress, there’s a field for alt text when adding an image to a page or post:
SHOULD YOU ADD ALT TEXT TO ALL IMAGES?
No, this is a common misconception. If the image exists for decorative purposes and doesn’t carry important information, then there’s no need to add alt text. The right online marketing strategy doesn’t include the SEO task of adding ALT Text to every single image; just the pertinent ones.
For example, some websites have icons to separate content:
These are only there to look pretty, so you shouldn’t add alt text. Doing so will only annoy visitors with screen readers, and won’t add any “SEO value” to the page. Our professional SEO services company will make sure your users have the best experience on your website.
The same goes for generic or stock images like this:
Having alt text that reads “bath and candle” isn’t useful for visually-impaired readers because it’s information they don’t need to know. It would be better to have the screen reader ignore it completely. This is one of the important technical SEO elements of your website.
But, here’s an important point…
If an image doesn’t require alt text, best practice is to add an empty alt attribute. This is because some screen readers read out filenames in the absence of an alt attribute, whereas most will skip those with empty ones. Our expert SEO services company can help you in choosing which images should or shouldn’t have ALT tags.
Here’s what that looks like:
<img src="spacer.gif" alt="">
Learn more in this guide from Web AIM.
HOW TO WRITE GOOD ALT TEXT
Alt text isn’t rocket science.
Follow these five best practices, and you should be good.
- Be concise. Lengthy alt text is annoying for those using screen readers. Use as few words as possible. (Use the longdesc attribute if a long description is necessary.)
- Be accurate. Focus on describing the image. Successful SEO case studies show accuracy in the naming convention is a major factor in creating successful tags.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. This is not a place to shoehorn keywords. Great SEO work should not include keyword stuffing.
- Avoid stating that it’s an image. There’s no need to include “Image of…” or “Picture of…” in descriptions. Both Google and screen readers can work that out for themselves. The best digital marketing companies like 5280 Software LLC will make sure your site is perfected for screen readers as well as Google.
- Avoid redundancy. Don’t repeat information that already exists within the context of the image. For example, if you have a photo of Steve Jobs and the text directly below the image reads “Steve Jobs,” there’s no need to add this description to the alt tag. Google should understand that the caption is effectively the alt text. We are one of the best SEO companies on the market that will guide you in naming images.
You should also remember to add alt text to form buttons. Otherwise, screen readers might pass over them and some visitors won’t be able to interact with your website. Our expert SEO services team can make sure all your form buttons are optimized for accessibility.
WHY IS ALT TEXT IMPORTANT?
- Explain images that fail to load: To their core, alt attributes are used for the sake of visibility. Sometimes websites do not load properly. The text is there, so you get an idea of what the page is about — but the photos probably were the bread and butter of the page. If the page were made properly, you could use alt text to read what the photos were supposed to show.
- To aid accessibility for non-visual readers: Even if your webpage loads, many people are using voice readers because they can’t or don’t want to actually read the page. The biggest reason alt text was designed is for people with visual impairments. Our professional SEO company will make sure you site is accessible by everyone who visits your website. These days, people are also using alt text for other reasons, such as:
- Accessing websites that are not mobile friendly
- Just being lazy and letting Siri or Alexa read the page to you
- To strengthen your SEO: Search engines don’t see the full picture when crawling your photos. It’s as if they get the general picture, but not what it truly means. Even if an image has text overlaid on it, search engines are unable to crawl that text (although they are getting smarter!). Keep in mind SEO marketing is evolving all the time, so make sure you partner with a company who grasps how to adapt to Google’s frequent algorithm updates.
While alt text for images is hardly worthy of being the core focus of your SEO strategy, it’s one of those small but critical elements that should not be ignored. Otherwise, you’re giving your competitors more opportunity to get ahead of you in search engine rankings. So, make it standard practice to write alt text for images whenever you’re uploading an image to your site.
About 5280 Software LLC:
5280 Software LLC, located in Denver, Colorado is a premier software development firm. We have worked with a variety of clients over the years. Our expert team of developers have helped small to medium sized businesses, startups, as well as enterprise level clients such as RingCentral. If you are looking to build a mobile app, we can deliver flawless apple ios mobile apps as well as android mobile apps. These apps can be designed for smartphones, ipad and android tablets, wearable such as smart watches, and even smart TVs. The power of a well-designed app to gain new customers is key in today’s market. We help execute your app development to perfection. A website is powerful tool for branding and showcasing the products or services you offer. We can build you a WordPress, E-Commerce, or custom coded website at competitive prices. We are also by far Denver SEO marketing experts.
Once the site is launched, or if you already have a website, we offer Search Engine Optimization Services to achieve higher search engine rankings. Contact us today with your website’s URL and we will put together a free SEO analysis of your site with pricing and timeline to get your site ranked on the first page of Google and other search engines. Our experienced and dedicated team has a proven track record and provide regular reporting on tasks completed and keyword movements during your SEO project. Our expert SEO services team help businesses and companies gain rankings on all the major search engines.
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