As we move towards becoming a more visual-like internet, it is extremely important that we take advantage of all visual search tactics such as descriptive text for images, also known as ‘alt tags’. Adding an alt tag to an image is about as easy as adding the image itself to the page, leaving you with no excuse to leave them out.
It is important to include a descriptive text to your image for two reasons:
- Search Engines
- Screen Readers
Having alternative text allows search engines to actively crawl your site to get a better understanding of what your website is about. As of now, Google cannot read images, so if a user is viewing your site on a browser that does not support images, the descriptive content provides information about the picture.
Alternative technologies such as a screen reader, which is a software for speaking on-screen or outputting to a Braille display, allow search engines to read out loud the alternative text of the image.
Alt text is best used when they are short, but descriptive. This doesn’t mean you can stuff keywords into the text and call it a day, nor can you copy and paste an entire sentence, however alt text should be treated like other parts of a page targeted for optimization.
Don’t be lazy – add the alt tags to your images (it’s worth it!) and even go crazy by adding an image sitemap!