At Andro Media, we understand the critical role alt text plays in enhancing the accessibility, user experience, and search engine optimisation of a website. Alt text, short for alternative text, concisely describes an image’s content.
By utilising alt text effectively, you can not only ensure that visually impaired users can understand your images but also improve your website’s visibility in search engine results. This comprehensive guide will provide valuable insights and best practices for optimising alt text to outrank other websites and achieve higher search rankings.
Why Does Alt Text Matter for SEO?
Alt text is an essential element for search engine optimisation, as search engines rely on textual cues to understand the content and context of images. By providing accurate and descriptive alt text, you can increase the likelihood of your images appearing in relevant search results. This, in turn, drives organic traffic to your website and enhances its overall visibility.
Crafting Effective Alt Text
When creating alt text, it’s crucial to strike a balance between descriptive and concise language. By following these key principles, you can optimise your alt text for both search engines and visually impaired users:
1. Be Descriptive and Specific
Describe the image in detail, using clear and precise language. Incorporate relevant keywords naturally, ensuring they align with the context of the surrounding content.
2. Maintain Relevance
Ensure that the alt text accurately represents the image and its purpose within the webpage context. Avoid using generic phrases or unrelated keywords that may confuse search engines or mislead users.
3. Keep it Concise
While it’s important to provide sufficient detail, keeping the alt text concise is equally crucial. Aim for a length of 125 characters or fewer, as longer alt text may be truncated by some assistive technologies.
4. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
While incorporating relevant keywords is beneficial, avoid over-optimization or keyword stuffing. Focus on crafting meaningful and natural-sounding alt text that enhances the user experience.
5. Use Hyphens for Multiple Words
Using hyphens (-) instead of spaces when describing images with multiple words. This helps search engines recognise individual words and improves the accessibility of the alt text.
6. Contextualize the Image
Consider incorporating relevant information to provide context if the image is part of a specific topic or section. This helps users understand the image’s purpose even if it’s not visible.
Best Practices for Alt Text Optimisation
To further enhance your alt text optimisation strategy, consider the following best practices:
1. Prioritize Key Images
Focus on optimising alt text for images that are essential to understanding the content or conveying critical information. This ensures that users, including those who rely on assistive technologies, can comprehend the significance of these images.
2. Don’t Use Placeholder Text
Avoid using generic phrases like “image” or “picture” as alt text, as they provide limited context and do not contribute to your SEO efforts. Instead, be specific and descriptive to represent the image’s content accurately.
3. Utilize Relevant Keywords
Identify and incorporate relevant keywords that align with your overall content strategy. Consider using keyword research tools to find high-performing keywords that can improve the visibility of your alt text in search engine results.
4. Test with Assistive Technologies
To ensure the effectiveness of your alt text, test it using assistive technologies such as screen readers or text-only browsers. This will help you understand how visually impaired users experience your website and make necessary improvements
5. Incorporate Alt Text in Image File Names
When saving images, use descriptive file names that reflect the image’s content. This helps search engines understand the image and provides an additional opportunity to optimise alt text. For example:
6. Consider Contextual Surroundings
Consider the text and context surrounding the image when crafting alt text. This can help you create more meaningful and relevant descriptions that align with the overall content of the webpage.
7. Include Important Details
If the image contains specific details essential for users to know, ensure that those details are incorporated into the alt text. This helps visually impaired users comprehensively understand the image’s content.
8. Utilize Mermaid Diagrams
Mermaid is a markdown-friendly syntax for generating diagrams, and it can be a valuable tool for enhancing the visual representation of complex concepts. Consider incorporating a mermaid diagram to explain the alt text optimisation process visually.
Crafting effective alt text is integral to optimising your website for search engines and improving its accessibility. Following the best practices outlined in this guide, you can create descriptive and concise alt text that enhances the user experience and boosts your website’s visibility in search engine rankings.
Remember to prioritise relevance, avoid keyword stuffing, and consider the needs of visually impaired users. With a well-optimized alt text strategy, you can outrank other websites and ensure that your images contribute to a more inclusive and SEO-friendly online presence.