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What is Alt Text and How to Optimize It for SEO?

showing alt text

An alt tag is a piece of code that tells a web browser what to display if an image can’t be loaded. It’s also sometimes called an “alt attribute” or “alt description.”

If you’re a visual person, think of alt text as the words you would use to describe an image to someone who couldn’t see it. The goal is to provide enough information so that the person understands what is going on in the image.

Alt text is important for two main reasons:

1. Accessibility: People who are blind or have low vision rely on alt text to understand what’s in an image.

2. SEO: Google and other search engines use alt text to help determine what an image is about, which can help your website rank higher in search results.

searching for alt tag

Few guidelines you can follow to make sure you’re doing it right

  • Keep it short and to the point. Alt text should be no more than a few words.
  • Use keywords wisely. Choose words that accurately describe the image and that you think people might search for.
  • Avoid using “image of” or “photo of.” These phrases take up valuable space and don’t add any useful information.
  • Be specific. alt text should describe the contents of an image, not its general context. So instead of saying “a man standing in front of a building,” you might say “a man in a blue suit standing in front of the Empire State Building.”
  • Use alt text even if an image is decorative. A common misconception is that alt text is only needed for images that convey information. But even if an image is just there to make your website look pretty, it should still have alt text. That way, if the image doesn’t load, people will still know what it was supposed to be.

Writing alt text can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Not only will it help make your website more accessible and improve your SEO, but it will also give you a chance to describe your images in your own words. So take the time to write alt text that is both informative and accurate, and your website will be all the better for it.

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