Why is Alt Text Important For SEO?
As a blogger you may have optimized your website with great keyword research, produced high-quality content and implemented other on-page optimization on your blog post.
But have you optimized your blog posts images with proper alt text?
You have come to the right place.
Alt text plays a vital role in increasing the image SEO of your website and there are billions of images searched per day on google.
You can lose a lot of potential clicks to your website if you think it is not that important.
And your competitors can go ahead in the SEO results.
It is a simple yet effective technique.
In this post, you will learn what exactly alt texts are, what is the importance of alt text in SEO, how you can write a good alternative text and a few examples.
Let’s get started
What is Alt Text?
Alt-text is an alternative text that describes an image and appears when the image is not loadable on the web.
It helps search engine bots to know the context of the image.
They are also known as other names like alt description, alt attribute, alt tag and alternative text but they are all the same thing.
The alt tag is technically the wrong word to use in place of alt text but still, people use it.
Importance of Alt Text For SEO?
Helps Search Engine Crawls
Alt texts help search engine crawlers to understand what the image is all about.
Crawlers can only read the HTML code of the images and they can not understand the context as humans do.
If you do not add any alt text to your website images, the crawlers can only see that the image is here but they can not understand what the image describes.
Increase SEO Rankings
Using alt attributes helps search engine bots to index your website.
Implementing an effective alt text strategy increases your SEO rankings.
Your overall visibility of the website increases.
Help Visually Impaired Users
There are lots of people in the world who are visually impaired.
Images without alt text make it impossible for them to know the context of the image.
Many of these users utilize screen readers to consume the content.
The screen readers convert the online content into the audio form including images.
Image Alt text plays a vital role in understanding the meaning of images.
Increase Google Images Traffic
Google images account for 21.03% of total search volume on the whole worldwide web.
This is the reason it is important to optimize your website images.
You can do it by writing SEO friendly alt texts.
When you optimize your images for SEO, you can drive a huge amount of traffic from google images.
Improves User Experience
Not only does images alt text increase website traffic but also improves user experience.
For example, if a visitor has a low internet connection because of which images are not loading properly then these people see the alt text in place of images.
So, rather than just seeing a broken link icon.
They can understand what the image is all about.
As described above alt text helps people with visual impairment to know the context of the images.
The Internet is all about accessibility to all types of web users despite any disability.
In addition, there are lots of browsers on the web with different capabilities, For example, some of them cannot display images at all, some of the browsers are restricted to show only specific types of images, some are configured to not show images etc.
If you have alt text then these browsers will show your descriptive text rather than images.
Alt text increases accessibility for blind people as well as web browsers.
How To Write a Good Alt Text?
Describe the image without making any assumptions.
Just write what you see in the image and it should make sense.
Briefly describe the alt text under 125 characters. This is the ideal limit. So try to stick with it.
Insert Keywords Sensibly
While describing an image through alt text you can insert one or two keywords to improve your SEO.
It helps the users to know why the image is part of the content and how it resonates with other content of the website.
Make sure you are using keywords when necessary.
Do not try to stuff the keywords otherwise, google can penalize you.
Link To Explanatory Text
If you find an image complicated to describe in a short description then you can link to explanatory text.
You can use the longdesc attribute provided by HTML.
Use Plain Text
You should only use plain text in describing alt texts.
Do not include bold, italic, bulleted or any other fancy formatting.
Do Not Use “image of” or “picture of” Words
It can be annoying for users to hear “image of” or “ picture of” phrases in every alt text.
Many screen readers automatically announce “image”.
There if you write it in all of your alt text it will sound like “image” “image of” two times.
It is not pleasant to hear every time hence can result in a bad user experience.
Therefore, always avoid it.
Using punctuation in the image alt text description helps screen readers to better describe the context of the image in a more human-sounding approach.
You can use proper commas, exclamatory signs, period signs.
For example, a comma sign can add a short break in between the sentences, the Period sign is used to “take a breath” at the end of the sentences or using the exclamation sign will cause the screen reader to add emphasis at the end of the sentence.
When Should You Not Use Alt Text?
The Decoration does not provide any additional value to the visually impaired individuals who are consuming the content on your website.
It comes in between and disturbs the users when they are trying to listen to the content of your website.
For decorative items like horizontal lines, borders, brand graphics or backgrounds a blank alt text works best because they only make a website look good but it is not useful for non-sight users.
In addition, Screen readers do not acknowledge the images without alt texts and they will skip over them.
Alt Text Examples
This text is fine but not descriptive enough. Which kitten are you talking about? What she is doing in the image? You can describe it more clearly.
Wrong: kitten grey kitten kitten happy
Do not stuff the alt text with SEO keywords. Google will not like this.
Correct: The British Shorthair kitten is happy being stroked by women’s hand.
It is descriptive and helpful. You can use it right away.
Wrong: women dog window
This text is not helpful. What do you mean by women, dogs or a window? How do they correlate with each other? A descriptive alt text would be better!
Wrong: women and dog friends
Still, it is not good enough to describe the context of the image above. You should write something better.
Correct: Beautiful woman doing a high five with her cute golden retriever dog at home.
It is good enough that visually impaired individuals can understand the situation in the given image.
Overall alt texts increase web accessibility, boost image traffic, improve user experience, help search engines to know the context of the images and allows visually impaired individuals to consume the content of the images easily.
All of these things together make Google think that you care for all your website visitors by enhancing their user experience and Google will eventually increase your search engine rankings.
Also keep in mind writing the alt text accurately makes the difference rather than bad description or keyword stuffing.
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