Why Should I Add Alt Text to My Images?

As you start to learn about building and optimizing your website, you have probably seen the term “alt text” floating around. Alt text, otherwise known as alternative text or alt tags, are captions that are used to identify and describe the images on your website, and can be used to boost your appearance in image search as well. Your alt text should be concise and describe what the image is showing.

What is Alt Text & Why is it Important?

You may be wondering what the point of alt text is, since you can see what the image you’re uploading looks like and so can the users of your site. Alt text is used for three main purposes: the first being search engine optimization, but it’s also useful in cases of loading failure, as well as for the visually impaired. As your site is crawled by bots, the text on your site is read in order to understand what your content is about and the utility of the information. However, these bots have difficulty processing the images that populate your website. Alt text will help search engines read these images, and populate them in search results for the keywords that you use to describe the images with.

Including your site’s main keywords in the alt text will help improve your image search ranking, but only if they are relevant to the image. Inserting additional, irrelevant keywords into your alt text can be considered keyword stuffing and potentially cause harm to your overall SEO efforts. If your image fails to render and load correctly on your page, the alt text will appear in the image’s place. This will indicate to your users that there is an image that is intended to fill that space, even though they cannot see it at that moment. If a visitor to your website is visually impaired, they may utilize a screen reader to browse through your website. The screen reader will interpret your website content, and alt text will describe the images across the site in content.

How Do I Add Alt Text?

Adding alt text is simple in a CRM such as WordPress: when uploading or selecting an image, there will be a line marked for an alternative tag. Keeping with best SEO practices is important to maintain and improve your search ranking, and keep your alt text simple. If a person encounters a load error, they should be able to tell what they are missing from the alt text.

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