The Ultimate Guide to Alt Text: Boosting SEO and Accessibility

Published On: June 16th, 2024Categories: SEOBy

The Ultimate Guide to Alt Text: Boosting SEO and Accessibility

Alternative text, also known as the alt attribute or alt text, is a brief text description of an image in the HTML code of a webpage. Initially, its primary function was to describe an image that failed to load. Years ago, when internet speeds were slower, alt text helped users understand the content of images that couldn’t be displayed. 

Now, while images rarely fail to load, alt text still appears if an image does not display correctly. More importantly, it helps search engine bots understand the image’s content and context. Alt text is often overlooked, but every image on your site should include it. Providing detailed alt text is essential for search engine bots trying to understand your website and for users who rely on screen readers.

Alt text serves multiple purposes, including: 

SEO Optimization:

Images are a fundamental part of the web experience. Alt text helps translate visual content into words, making images accessible to search engine bots and users with disabilities. Properly optimized alt text can significantly improve your website’s chances of ranking in Google image searches. Alt text is a ranking factor for Google image search, and well-described images can drive more traffic to your site, especially for e-commerce websites, where users often start their search through Google images.


Beyond SEO, alt text plays a vital role in web accessibility. Alt text is critical for making your website accessible to all users, including those with disabilities who use screen readers. Descriptive alt text allows these users to understand the content of images, providing a more inclusive web experience.

Writing alt text, try to avoid these common errors:

Failure to use alt text: Every image should have alt text, even if it’s just a brief description.

Using the same alt text for different images: Each image should have unique alt text that accurately describes its content.

Overly general alt text: Be specific. For example, instead of “dog,” describe the dog’s breed, color, and activity.

Using file names as alt text: This can result in unhelpful alt text like “IMG_1234.” Always write descriptive text instead.

Tips for creating effective alt text include:

Avoid keyword stuffing: Include keywords naturally within the description.

Be descriptive but concise: Provide enough detail to describe the image but keep it brief.

Don’t use text on images: All textual content should be in HTML to ensure it’s readable by screen readers.

Visualize the content: Ensure that reading the alt text alone provides a clear picture of the image.

To audit and fix alt text on your website:

Inspect elements: Right-click on an image and select “Inspect” to see its alt text.

Use tools: Tools like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb can crawl your site and report on missing or incorrect alt text.

Display alt attributes: Use browser extensions or developer tools to display alt text for all images on a webpage.

Alt text is a critical aspect of both SEO and accessibility. By ensuring that all images on your website have well-written, descriptive alt text, you can improve your site’s search engine ranking and make it accessible to a broader audience. While alt text may seem like a small detail, it plays a significant role in the overall user experience and the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. Prioritize alt text to enhance your website’s SEO and make it more inclusive for all users.


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