How Alt Text works and how to use it

Paula Cortés 6th September 2018
Work space programmer working with laptop on table.

Alt text (alternative text), also known as ‘alt descriptions’, ‘alt tags’ or ‘alt attributes’ are used in the back end of the websites to describe an image. This helps search engines to improve the accessibility of your website.

Here’s how the code looks:
<img src=”street.jpg” alt=”kid in the street”>

The alt text needs to be descriptive enough so if the image cannot be loaded, the text will be displayed in its place and it will explain what the image is about. Here are some examples of what is recommended:

– Ok: <img src=”street.jpg” alt=”kid in the street”>
– Good: <img src=”street.jpg” alt=”kid walking in the street”>
– Better: <img src=”street.jpg” alt=”kid walking the street with an umbrella”>

Search engines have improved hugely in the last years but they can’t see the images properly so the use of alt text, will help crawlers to understand your site and it will improve the user experience, which may bring SEO benefits.

Tips to use it:
– Describe the image and keep it as short as possible.
– Use keywords that you would like search engines to recognise.
– Google understands that it is an image so don’t use ‘picture of…’ or ‘image of…’ in your alt text.
– Don’t use spammy terms. I.e. <img src=”curry.jpg” alt=”chicken curry Indian food best curry recipe”>

I hope this has given you an understanding of how to use the alt text. If you struggle with it, please let us know by contacting us at 01202 677 277.

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