What is Alt Text?
Alt text (alternative text), also known as “alt attributes”, “alt descriptions”, or technically incorrectly as “alt tags,” are used within an HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page.
How Alt Text helps:
- Adding alternative text to photos is first and foremost a principle of web accessibility. Visually impaired users using screen readers will read an alt attribute to understand an on-page image better.
- Alt tags will be displayed in place of an image if an image file cannot be loaded.
- Alt tags provide better image context/descriptions to search engine crawlers, helping them to index an image properly.
So now that you know why image alt text is relevant, how do you write good alt text that benefits your SEO, accurately describes your images and is easily read by screen readers?
Here are some do’s and don’ts while writing Image alt text
- Write your alt text in sentence case
Ever wondered if you should use sentence case, title case, or all lowercase for your alt text? I sure did, and I’ve seen alt text written in each of these formats. But your alt text should be in sentence case, except for acronyms.
- Use keywords, but don’t keyword stuff your alt text
- Keep it short or use longdesc=””
- Capitalise those acronyms – but remove ampersands.
- Don’t forget alt text for your image buttons.
You can repeat your primary call to action (CTA) in the alt text or describe the button’s function. Some examples: “search,” “read more” or “buy now.”
If you’re wondering you’ve neglected your image alt text up till now, don’t worry. There are quite a few automated tools and checklists to help you quickly identify and solve accessibility issues. Here are a few Wave evolution tool and Accessibilityoz.