An abbreviation of ‘alternative text’, alt text may not seem to have much of an impact on your website’s SEO. While it may not be as impactful as other elements, like the performance of your website’s content, or internal links, for example, alt text should not be counted out in helping your website achieve SEO success.
The Immediate Purpose of Alt Text
Though we all intend for our websites to run smoothly, and for users to successfully view content, sometimes life happens, and things don’t always go according to plan.
The chances are extremely high that your website uses images. So, what happens when an image fails to load? Or, when a user is visually impaired? That’s when alt text comes in to save the day.
Serving as a description, alt text allows users to understand what’s happening in the image, in the event that it doesn’t load.
Where Does SEO Come in?
Not only does alt text inform users of what’s going on in an image, but it also tells search engine crawlers – and this is where SEO comes into the picture.
Crawling is the first step that search engines take whilst evaluating and gathering search results.
When search engines seek out content, they also look for alt text, which makes it an important ranking factor.
Crawling comes before indexing or the placement of a URL on a search engine result page.
How Do I Write Good Alt Text?
Remember to honor the purpose of alt text, and write descriptions that help visually impaired people understand the contents of an image.
Good alt text is brief yet descriptive.
Good alt text: Soccer fans cheering at a stadium
Bad alt text: Fans
See how “Soccer fans cheer at a stadium” is brief yet descriptive, and “fans” is broad and unspecific. Cater to users of your website and improve accessibility by writing good, straightforward alt text.
Is Alt Text Necessary For All Images On My Website?
Necessary? No. Chances are, if you operate a non-government website, you are not required by law to have alt text for your images.
But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it.
Alt text not only improves the readability of your site for visually impaired users but also plays a significant role in SEO ranking.