Alt Text For Images – Examples and Best Practices

by XeniaKo
A white desk with pencils, notes, and laptop

Nowadays, a blog is successful when it attracts traffic from various sources: Google search and image results, social media, and so on. The key goal for Google is to satisfy search needs regardless of where people look for information. People’s  perception varies, some prefer to analyse information in text form, others will be inspired by images.

It’s a well-known fact that sites that are in the Top will attract the most traffic, and the competition as to who will occupy the Top is becoming really strong. So, make sure to benefit from competitors’ weakness if they do not care about  the right SEO for images.

Alt – Basic info

Alt text for images is an alternative text in HTML code that Google uses:

  • To help visually impaired people better understand what an image is about;
  • To help other users understand what an image is about when they cannot download it;
  • To help crawlers better understand what an image is about.

Alt text – optimisation

As voice and image searches are gaining in popularity, it’s not wise to leave empty Alt text. If you do not know what Alt is, you  can find it in the HTML code of the webpage, e.g.

Example of Alt text in HTML code from Hubspot website

The best format of Alt describes objects, people, or other objects that are shown in the image. If you are not sure whether or not you completed Alt in the proper way, there are two ways to check:

  • Ask someone to close their eyes and read the Alt text. If the person can imagine an accurate version that means the Alt text was completed in the right way;
  • Go to Google vision, download the image and analyse how Google sees it. Use proposed keywords in your Alt text.

Let’s look at an example:

Google vision analysis of the image with a white cat

Not recommended Alt: <img src="cat.png" alt=""> or <img src="cat.png" alt=" white cat, kitty, feline, pet">. Acceptable: <img src="cat.png" alt="white cat">  The good Alt: <img src="cat.png" alt=" A small to medium-sized white Turkish Angora cat”>.

An image should be relevant to the topic of the post/article and add additional value. It should also be placed near the related fragment and in a place where users can access them while using their mobile devices.

As images should add additional value, you need to avoid publishing content that is blurred, small in size, low quality, or unclear. Also remember that “heavy” images are recommended for optimisation not to slow down the page speed. There is a good variety of free programs to optimise images, I use this one. If you need free images, read the article Free Photos For Blogs – 10 Best Photostocks

Interface of imagecompressor website to optimise images for websites

If you have never optimised Alt, here are guidelines that help you write a good Alt:

  • Describe the image in detail, but try to be short and put the most important information within the first 125 characters. Try not to exceed 155 characters.
  • Use the proper keywords, and place them in the beginning of Alt. Avoid keyword stuffing and using phrases such as “image/picture of”.
  • Use punctuation wisely, as a short break in between announcing content will be added.
  • Avoid using capital letters in Alt, as some screen readers might read each letter individually.
  • Alt should include content and context of the image.
A meeting in the office where a few people are sitting at their desk and one young woman with long black hair is explaining the process at the whiteboard

For a post about a marketing automation tool, the Alt might be “alt=”A woman explaining the marketing automation process”. While for the article about courses, the Alt might be alt=”A student explaining how she has solved the problem”.

If there are posts  on your blog or website that you would like to boost the performance of then, consider performing an audit of Alt texts to see where you can implement changes.

Alt text for images – FAQ

Can Alt be empty?

You can leave Alt empty only for decorative images.

Is Alt important for SEO?

Yes, when you complete Alt, it gives a boost to your articles.

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