Alt text (alternative texts) or alt tags are used on images. They describe the appearance and function of an image on any page. Alt texts are referred to in some quarters as alt descriptions or alt attributes. A well-written alt tag is important and with good reason.
1. Image SEO
Alt texts help search crawlers identify your image. This, in turn, adds to the implicit and explicit benefits you earn from image SEO.
Alt texts describe images to visitors who are unable to view them. Such visitors may include visually-challenged users as well as prospects using certain browsers and screen blockers. Alt texts ensure all users view the images and this helps them appreciate your content.
What Defines the Best practice in Writing Alt Texts?
- 1. Deliberate Use of the keywords
Keywords are important in signalling SEO of the relevance of your page to the searches done. It then follows that using your keywords in the alt texts helps search engines link the search results to your site.
2. Avoiding Keyword Stuffing
It is critical to ensure the keywords you use to remain relevant within the alt tags. The keywords should give context to the image. This improves the user experience since they will find the image’s relevance in your content.
3. Keeping the Alt Descriptions Short
The ideal word count is 125 characters. Popular screen readers cut off descriptions past the 125 character mark.
4. Offering a Specific Description of the Image
Alt tags offer explanations to visitors who are unable to view them as alluded to earlier. Therefore, the description in the tags should be specific to the content on your site.
5. Avoid Substituting Images for Texts
Search engines are unable to read texts within images. It is best practice to avoid using images in place of words. If it is unavoidable, be sure to offer a description of what your photo is all about within your alt tags.
6. Stay Clear of Certain Phrases in your alt texts
Phrases such as ‘picture of’ or ‘image of’ should be avoided. The assumption is that the alt tags explain the information related to the image. Such phrases do not add value and may affect the ideal 125-character count.
7. Use Form Buttons
Image buttons on your site should have alt attributes. The attributes will give a description of their function such as, subscribe, apply, search, submit, pay, and sign up among others.
8. Use longdesc=””
For complex images that require longer descriptions, be sure to use the longdesc=”” tag.
Relevance of the alt text to the images
Not all images on your site relate to the content. Certain images are decorative or social icons meant to improve the site’s appearance. Therefore, not all images require an alt tag. Be deliberate on the images that you provide alt tags for. The images should be related to the site’s content.
SEO is constantly advancing. New techniques are constantly being developed to improve the overall online user experience. Any site developer or owner should continuously seek improvement on their craft and site to make the most out of the SEO.