Alt Text is used in websites and documents to provide a description of images, which is read out loud by screen readers and indexed by search engines. It helps users understand the purpose of the image and enables them to access the content even if the image is not visible or cannot be loaded.
WHAT is Alternative (Alt) Text?
Alternative (Alt) Text is a brief, descriptive text that is added to the HTML code of an image on a webpage. Its purpose is to provide meaningful information about the image to users with visual impairments as well as search engines. Alt text is read aloud by screen reader software and is displayed on the page if the image cannot be loaded.
WHY is Alternative (Alt) Text important?
Alternative (Alt) Text is important for several reasons:
- Accessibility: For visually impaired users, Alt Text provides a way to understand the content of an image that they may not be able to see. Screen readers rely on Alt Text to describe images to the user, allowing them to fully understand the content of the webpage.
- SEO: Search engines rely on Alt Text to understand the relevance of an image to the content of a webpage. By providing descriptive Alt Text, webmasters can help search engines to properly index and rank their pages.
- Usability: If an image cannot be loaded, Alt Text is displayed instead, providing some context and information about the missing image. This can make the page more usable and informative for all users.
How to write effective Alternative (Alt) Text?
To write effective Alt Text, consider the following tips:
- Be descriptive: Alt Text should provide a brief but accurate description of the image. Use concise, descriptive language that conveys the purpose and content of the image.
- Avoid redundant information: Don’t repeat information that is already present in the text content of the webpage. Instead, focus on describing the image in a way that enhances the meaning and understanding of the page.
- Be concise: Remember that Alt Text is meant to be brief. Stick to the most important details and avoid unnecessary details or wordiness.
- Use keywords: Consider including relevant keywords in your Alt Text. This can help search engines to understand the relevance of the image to the rest of the content on the page, potentially improving your page’s search engine ranking.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing Alternative (Alt) Text?
When writing Alt Text, there are some common mistakes to avoid:
- Being too vague or generic: Avoid simply labeling the image with a generic description, such as “picture” or “photo.” Instead, try to provide more specific information about the content or purpose of the image.
- Providing too much detail: While it’s important to be descriptive, avoid providing too much detail or unnecessary information that can clutter the Alt Text and make it harder to understand.
- Stuffing with keywords: While it’s good to include relevant keywords, avoid stuffing the alt text with too many keywords, as this can be seen as spammy by search engines and potentially harm your page’s ranking.
- Copying the image file name: The Alt Text should not simply repeat the file name or URL of the image. Instead, provide a meaningful description that adds value and context to the content on the page.
Alternative (Alt) Text is a valuable tool that can improve the accessibility, usability, and SEO of your webpages. By following some simple guidelines and avoiding common mistakes, you can write effective Alt Text that enhances the meaning and understanding of your web content for all users.