Everything You Need to Know About Alt Text + Best Practices

If you’ve spent any time around digital marketing, you might be familiar with or have heard of alt text. Alt text provides context to search engine crawlers, helping them index images properly.

What is Alt Text?

Alt text (alternative text, alt tags or alt attributes) is a word or phrase that describes the nature or contents of an image. Alt text is a short description of about 100 characters that websites can assign to any images on their site. They are also visible on mouse hovers if an image is unable to load.

Why is it Important?

  • We all know how important it is to have our website rank high on search engines. Using alt text gives search engines like Google or Bing another opportunity to grab onto your keywords as they crawl your content and determine how relevant it is for ranking purposes. Within your SEO practices, you should always be adding alt text to your images.
  • If for any reason an image file can’t be found, the alt text will be displayed in place of the image.
  • Visually impaired users often use screen-reading tools to describe images, and those tools pull information straight from the alt text. The addition of alt text ensures all users, even those with visual impairments, have a great user experience.

Best Practices for Alt Text

Just like with other SEO practices, it isn’t enough to just add alt text to an image. You’ll need to optimize it as well to make sure it is effective. Here are some ways you can optimize your alt-text:

  • Use a full sentence, rather than a word or short phrase. Using a full sentence helps you provide context to the image rather than simply using one describing word or a short phrase.
  • Be as descriptive as possible, clearly explaining what the image contains. Alt text is designed to provide text explanations of images for users who are unable to see them. If you can close your eyes and imagine a reasonably accurate version of the image, you’re on the right track.
  • Include keywords in your sentences whenever it makes sense to do so. Alt text provides you another opportunity to include your target keyword, so if it makes sense, include it in the alt text of at least one image on the page. For images of products, in particular, include their item name and product number.

At OTM, we take care of all of your alt text woes for you. It is in our best interest as well as yours to make sure your website and content is ranking among the top in search engines. After all, your content is too good to not be seen! Contact OTM today to see how our team can help you reach your marketing goals!