The Role Of Alt Text In Image Metadata And How To Write It For SEO
Alt Text (alternative text) describes the design or purpose of an image page. Alt text gives search engines valuable details about the page's content.
Also referred to as "alt attributes," "alt descriptions," or technically incorrectly called "alt tags," alt text should be placed within HTML code or within an appropriate field within your CMS (Content Management System) software.
Making alternative text available to your website's images is one of the fundamental principles of accessibility on the web.
Alt attributes allow screen readers to read information from images displayed on a page for the visually impaired. If an image file cannot be loaded, Alt Text will replace the image.
Alt text provides more descriptive and useful context for images to crawlers of search engines, helping them index and rank them appropriately in results for images.
Alt text is an integral component of image metadata and plays a significant role in SEO. Now that we know the Role of Alt Text in Image Metadata, let's learn How to Write It for SEO.
Define An Image As Precisely As Possible
Alt text should provide textual explanations for those unable to view it; if an image serves no purpose other than design purposes (e.g., decorative images), then it must be included in CSS rather than HTML.
Keep Alt Text Relatively Brief
Experts suggest keeping alt text under 100 characters, with some popular screen readers even removing it after 125 characters. While this rule has since been relaxed, it remains an effective guideline for SEOs and content creators when writing alt texts for images requiring longer descriptions.
Include Keyword In Alt Text
Alt text provides an opportunity for you to incorporate keywords on a page, indicating to search engines that your website is relevant to the given query. Ideally, use at least one image on your page with at least one alt tag, including your desired search term as its text content.
Be Wary Of Keyword-Stuffing
Google won't penalize you for poor alt text, but it could put your image at risk if it attempts to include too many relevant keywords. Focus on writing descriptive and providing context for the image while including relevant keywords when possible, but do not go beyond that.
Do Not Use Images For Text
This is not just an alt text best practice but an overall SEO-friendly website development rule. Since search engines cannot interpret the text in images you upload, be mindful not to substitute images with words in the alt text. If you must do this, make sure you explain what the image means in the description field of your browser window.
When crafting your alt texts for images, avoid including terms like "image of," "picture of," etc. These are assumed to refer to an image, and there's no need to further define its identity.
Follow Accessibility Guidelines
Create complicated images using best practices by adhering to accessibility guidelines. Charts, maps, diagrams, and other complex images should all adhere to these standards for accessibility. Even though browsers handle longdesc=" attributes differently, they are still available on screen and screen readers users.
Don't Overlook Form Buttons
If your site uses an image for the "submit" button, make sure it has an alt attribute that explains what the button does (e.g., search," "apply now," "sign up") and other similar actions.
Writing descriptive, relevant, and suitable alt text can enhance website accessibility and make it more searchable in search results. It ensures that users and bots can understand your website content.
Additionally, if image searches are an important element of your SEO strategy, providing Google with accurate information regarding your images is an effective way to communicate their importance. To do this correctly, utilise modern file formats and alt text alongside relevant file names and schema markup.