Alt text explains a picture on a web page. It lives in the HTML code and normally is not displayed on the page. But the main question that occurs in everyone’s mind is how alt tags on images is an important SEO factor and how to describe an image with proper alt tags. 

Importance of alt text

Enhances the accessibility

Millions of people are impaired visually, and many utilize online content screen readers. This works by translating content, including photos, to audio on a screen. Images without alt text create screen readers problems because the content of the image can’t be transmitted to the user. Usually, these photos are overlooked, or worse, long and helpless image filenames are read. Google discusses the significance of alt text in their SEO Starter Guide to users with screen readers.

Improves the topical relevance

To comprehend what it’s all about, Google looks at the words on a page. For example, Google understands that this website mentions poodles, labradors, and retrievers. What about the pictures? Because in photographs which Google may not decipher, the context is sometimes ‘locked away.’ Although Google may nearly surely say these are pictures of dogs without alt text, the particular race may be less evident—then alt text comes in.

Help to rank the website in google images

The second most used search engine in the world is Google Images. It accounts for 20.45% of all internet searches, which is ahead of YouTube, Bing and other integrated search engines. This means you have a chance to drive Google Images traffic. Just check out the number of clicks we had on Google Images’ Ahrefs Blog in the last 3 months:

Adding alt tags on images

Just insert an alt tag in the HTML code into the <img> tag. You should be able to add alt text without digging into the HTML code when you use a modern CMS. For example, when uploading an image to a page or post in WordPress, there is an alt text field.

Is it necessary to add alt tags on each image?

No, it’s a frequent misunderstanding. If the image does not include vital information for ornamental purposes, there will be no need to provide alt text. Some websites, for instance, include content separation icons:

You shouldn’t add alt text here; just looking nice. This merely irritates people with screen readers so that no ‘SEO value‘ is added to the page. It is not helpful for visually challenged readers to have alt text that reads “bath and candle,” because that is information that they need to know. It is better to ignore it totally by the screen reader.

If a picture does not require alt text, then an empty image alt text & attributes should be added. This is because, in the absence of an alt attribute, some screen readers scan file names while most skip those with empty ones.

Tips for writing good alt tags on images

It is not hard to write perfect alt tags on images that will help you better image optimization. You should follow these five best practices and be good.

  • Be brief: For many who use screen readers, long alt text is unpleasant. Use as few words as you can.
  • Be precise: Concentrate on the picture description.
  • Avoid filling in keywords: This isn’t a place where keywords can be found.
  • Avoid dismissal: Do not repeat information existing in the image context. For example, you do not have to add this description to the alt tag if you have a photo of Steve Jobs, and the caption reads directly below “Steve Jobs.” Google should be aware that the alt text is the title.

Remember to provide alt text to form buttons. If not, you can get screen readers, and visitors cannot engage with your website.

Tips for locating and fix alt attribute issues

Many tools may crawl through your site and identify missing alt attributes. But missing alt text isn’t always a problem because not every picture requires alt text. Thus, it is better to monitor and enhance alt tags for pages previously trafficked than crawl on your website and worry over every missing alt attribute. For this, there are two reasons:

  • They have readers with visual impairment. A vision disability is persistent in 2.4 per cent of US residents. That is one in about every 42 persons that means that 240 of them cannot consume your content adequately if your page receives 10000 views every month.
  • You could receive more traffic possibly. In Google Photos, alt text can help images rank better, which leads to more traffic. Even an additional 100 visitors rise to only one page with 10000 monthly visits.

You can follow the below-mentioned process to locate and fix the alt tag errors: 

1. Find the most viewed pages 

See the Ahrefs website explorer for Google Analytics and locate the most viewed pages of the website.

2. Audit all the alt attributes

Install the free Alt Text Chrome Tester extension, open the most traffic page, then turn the extension on. Whenever you roll over the image, you should see the alt text shown. You’ll notice a warning if the alt attribute is missing. For a few pictures on the page, check the alt tags on images. You will rapidly sense whether they’re well, badly or not optimized at all.

3. Repeat the steps for various pages

Repeat this method on your website for the most viewed pages. This should give you a feel of the sound or work requirements of your alt tag optimization. Since most websites only get a handful of pages with the bulk of their traffic, it shouldn’t be too long. For most of our high-traffic pages, we can quickly audit and optimize alt text in minutes.

Final words

Alt tags on images are crucial, but not all of the picture requires alt tags for image optimization. Filenames additionally should be optimized; responsive images should be served, facile loadings should be considered, and all other SEO factors should be properly followed to get better reach and more views.