Image alt text (also known as "alt tags" or "alt attributes") are HTML attributes used in a <img> tag to provide a description of an image on a website.
The purpose of these descriptions is two fold:
First, they can make your website more accessible and readable by those who have difficulty seeing images, and second, they improve your website search engine rankings by providing additional information about the content of your page when it appears in search results.
Image alt text is an important part of SEO and website optimization.
It provides information to search engines, helps users with accessibility issues, and can help increase click-through rates on your site.
Image alt text also provides additional information about the content of an image for those who may not be able to see it due to various reasons such as visual impairments, slow internet connections, or blocked images in emails.
When used correctly, image alt texts can greatly improve both user experience and SEO rankings.
Search engine crawlers are unable to visually identify images like humans so they rely on the alt text you have provided as clues regarding what’s contained in the image file itself.
When you include relevant keywords in your alt texts you are helping search engines to have a better understanding of the context surrounding each picture which will help them rank your pages higher in relevant searches.
This can lead directly to more organic traffic for your website from Google Image based results, a source often overlooked by many marketers.
Let's talk about why Image Alt Text is important for SEO and why it should not be overlooked, but instead should be a priority.
Why Does Image Alt Text Matter For SEO?
Now that you understand what image alt text is and why it exists from an accessibility standpoint, let's talk about why it also matters from an SEO perspective.
Search engines rely heavily on content while crawling websites and they determine how to rank each website in the organic search results pages.
However, search engine crawlers are not able to actually see pictures as humans do, they only read through words and codes.
Therefore by providing descriptive yet concise alternate descriptions via image ALT tags not only does Googlebot get more context about each individual page but at the same time some extra keyword phrases may be added which helps improve the overall visibility of your site online.
Moreover having proper ALT texts attached to each graphic element serving as part of your content pieces will allow machines (like screen readers) to interpret these visuals so even people with disabilities will get a better experience while navigating around your website pages.
This is very important because nowadays better user experience metrics play a big role in getting higher rankings on search results.
With the advanced technology that we have now, you don’t need to know how to code to be able to add alt text to your images.
With popular CMS software like WordPress, it is easier for you to add descriptions to your website images without coding.
Adding alt text to your web page images will give you the opportunity to increase your website's organic traffic through image-based results.
And by taking advantage of Google image-based traffic opportunities via proper alt tag usage you can significantly increase your chances of being noticed by your potential customers who might have never come across your website through text based results.
Why Should You Use Image Alt Text?
There are several good reasons why you should use image ALT text on your website:
1) To make sure that your website visitors who cannot see images understand what’s going on within them:
This includes both visually impaired users using screen readers and other assistive technologies as well as users whose connection speed has slowed down so much their images don't load properly.
2) To provide additional context for search engine crawlers:
Search engines rely heavily on textual information when indexing websites so adding some descriptive words related to the content of each image will help the search engine to understand your image context which could lead to higher placement in SERPs (search engine results pages).
3) To help prevent link-spamming:
By adding keyword-rich ALT tags you can reduce the chances that someone might try to leverage your website’s traffic through deceptive linking practices such as link farming or creating “cloaked links” that redirect elsewhere upon clicking them.
Now that we have known the reason why you need to use to use Image Alt Text for your website images.
Let's further to get the perfect practices on how to create an effective image alt text that search engine will love.
Tips For Creating Effective Image Alt Text
1) Keep It Short And Specific:
When writing alternative text, brevity is key. You should aim for descriptions that are no more than 125 characters according to W3C standards.
You want your image alt text to convey enough information without being overwhelming.
You need to also make sure each one accurately describes its associated image, this means avoiding generic terms like “photo” or “image” unless absolutely necessary (e.g, when there isn't any other useful detail).
2) Avoid Redundancy:
Do not repeat words used elsewhere on the page, instead focus on providing additional context that adds value beyond any other surrounding content or captions associated with the same image (e.g, use “person smiling” instead of simply repeating “smiling person”).
3) Include keywords Related Specifically to the Photo:
Whenever possible, include relevant keywords associated with the topic at hand (e.g., if you were writing about snowboarding gear, some appropriate terms might be “snowboard boots," "ski goggles," etc.).
This is to ensure that your photos appear alongside relevant searches within search engine results pages (SERPs).
4) Make Sure They Are Descriptive & Accurate:
While using relevant keywords is important, the main purpose of the ALT tag is more than just optimization.
It is also used as a descriptive tool so that people who cannot view pictures understand what they depict when browsing through a webpage or blog post.
Therefore, you need to make sure that any words used accurately describe what is present within each picture or photo so that your website visitors will have a clear understanding of what's going on even if they cannot physically see them displayed properly (e.g blind users).
5) Don't Ignore Captions If Needed:
If there are multiple images appearing close together then adding additional captions under each one could be helpful since these won’t interfere with Google crawlers scanning page elements like ALT tags do when searching for SEO relevance.
Instead, captions will offer further clarification about specific photos which supplement existing descriptions already provided via their respective ALTs but add additional context which can sometimes be missing.
How Bad Image Alt Text Can Hurt Your SEO
Many website owners overlook image alt text when creating their pages, so this results in poor SEO performance due to bad image alt text.
Bad image alt text will hurt your website rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
First off, let's look at why it's so important to include accurate and descriptive alt-text on all images you use on your website.
Search engines like Google use algorithms that crawl websites looking for content such as headings, keywords, and images.
When a crawler comes across an image with no accompanying information or just generic file names such as "image1," they may not know what the actual picture contains which can lead them to ignore the entire page altogether.
Thus by including accurate descriptors within each image's ALT tag you are helping Google and other search engines to better understand what your page is about so that it can index it properly.
This ultimately leads to higher rankings in SERPs which will send more organic traffic your way.
Apart from helping you with ranking potential, when you have good quality ALT tags, it also helps people who cannot see pictures because of visual impairments or other disabilities.
This is to make sure that everyone has equal access to your website content regardless of ability level.
The appropriate alternative texts explain various aspects of an online photo or video frame-by-frame allowing those using screen readers or other assistive technology devices to gain an understanding of the message you are trying to pass across to them without missing out on any key details.
Harnessing Image Traffic to Increase Search Engine Rankings
When you want to create alt tags for your website images you should include key phrases related to your business’s offerings as well as any other words associated with its niche industry that you think your potential customers might use when searching online.
You should also try not to use generic terms like ‘image’ or ‘picture’, instead, focus more specifically on what the photo actually talks about.
For example, if you are posting an image about wedding venues then consider including keywords such as “romantic outdoor weddings” rather than simply “wedding venue".
Doing this will make it easier for people who are looking for services related to yours to find their way straight onto your page through your website images.
It is also important to note that adding descriptive names and keyword-rich titles are great practices when uploading images onto websites, they do not replace proper alt tags, which should always accompany all photos regardless.
In conclusion, image alt text is an incredibly important tool for on-page SEO. It provides search engines with the information needed to properly index and ranks your images on Google image-based results.
Not only does this help to make your website become more visible to your potential customers and online users, but it is also used to make sure that your web content is accessible for all users, including those who rely on screen readers or other assistive technologies.
By adding image alt text to your website images, you can quickly improve your website search engine rankings and click-through rate.