If you’re somewhat familiar with social media and digital marketing, you may have seen the option to “add alt-text” to photos. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook all now include areas for you to add alt-text to images and GIFs.
Alt-text can also come in to play on your website, especially if you use a platform like WordPress. WordPress lets you add alt-text not only for images, but also for buttons like “submit” or “sign up.”
What is Alt-Text?
Alt-text is short for alternative text, and it is also known as “alt attributes” or “alt descriptions.” Alt-text is used within an HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page.
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’re on a website and the text loads, but the images don’t, alt-text would be beneficial, as it would stand in place of that image and describe the image.
Why Does Alt-Text Matter?
Alt-text matters for a variety of reasons, but most notably for accessibility and SEO.
Mentioned in the example above, the alt-text can appear in place of the image in cases where the image is unable to load on the page due to poor site speed, bad internet connection, or browsers that block certain images. Alt-text can also help users who are sight-impaired understand the full content on the web page.
Alt-text helps with website SEO rankings because while search engine crawlers are highly sophisticated in the ways that they can understand the content on a web page, they still cannot visually “see” the images or graphics on the page. If the crawler can’t understand what the image is, your SEO ranking may take an unintended hit. By adding alt-text that contains not only a description of the image but also the keywords your page is targeting, you will increase your chances of ranking for that search term.
Writing alt-text isn’t complicated and can easily be done on a variety of social media platforms and websites. Good alt-text should accurately describe what the image shows without starting out, “this image is…” (Say that part in your head, and then list the completion of that sentence as your alt-text.) Alt-text should be short and succinct and include any relevant keywords without keyword stuffing.
Google Images accounts for 20.45 percent of all search traffic and requires alt-text in order for images to appear as search results.
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