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the importance of alt text

The Importance of Alt Text

Alt text has so much importance when it comes to the optimisation of images on your website. Known also as an ‘alt attribute’ or an ‘alt description’, alt text is a short caption that describes the images you are using.

Web designers use them on images displayed on their client’s website that includes the HTML of the web page. An interesting part about alt texts is that they are not immediately visible and tend to go unnoticed by website users. The importance of alt text is its value to your search engine optimisation (SEO). Without including alt text with the images on your website, your images will simply have no effect to your ranking – which allows for a great opportunity to be overlooked. In some instances, your images on your website can be more important than the visible text (particularly on sales or infographic pages). By having alt texts applied to your images throughout your website, this is an essential way to ensure you are properly accounted for in Google’s crawl. It can help leave your website notably positioned in search engine results – especially if the alt text includes key words and terms you are targeting.

Technical failures are inevitable and is something that all websites will experience at one point or another. Whether technical failures appear from the users end due to poor connectivity or loading issues, or if there are coding complications or a backend glitch on the web server for example; it is very possible that your website images will fail to load for each and every single user. This is where the importance of alt text comes in again. When images fail to populate for whatever reason, by having alt text assigned to your images the alt text will load in the images place, giving the user some level of understanding and clarity. This also helps in terms of user experience (UX) for those who may be vision impaired for example and can read text easier than making out shapes and images etc.

Although adding alt texts throughout your website seems like a logical step, it is important to not go too crazy with them. It is key to not add any amount of text that doesn’t relate to the image in your alt text. The best possible outcome for your website is to contextualise the images within the article in the body copy (and not in the alt text). Make sure to only describe the image using key words and try not to make it overly elaborate. This can lead to confusion for the website user, especially if the image fails to load. In the forever changing world of the internet, things will continue to crash and not perform as planned. By having as many descriptive alt texts applied to your website images, they will be your reliable fail safe if something ever goes wrong – while also being a great help to your SEO efforts too.