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  • Writer's pictureDerick Johnson

Creating Alt-Text for SEO and Accessibility

They say a picture is worth one thousand words and in SEO nothing could be truer. In time working at the University of Toronto, I found that written communication could only go so far. You had to pull out all the stops to get your point across some times. Text can take you so far that’s why having pictures and other media on a website is important. However, there are some people who have trouble seeing and might not be able to get all of the information that your pictures provide. That’s what Alt text is for! For people with screen readers and the like, a simple picture will convey very little meaning since all they can see are a bunch of pixels instead of the full picture like we do.

So how is this important to SEO, you ask? Well, like screen readers, the bots that code and index the web, can only see pixels as well so its up to us to create text that describes the images so that the bots know what they are looking at. It kills two birds with one stone. You are not only helping visually impaired people be able to make the most of your website but you are also making your website more visible to search engines. It’s a win-win!

Now we come to the tricky part. Actually making the alt text. How to put it into your website and what exactly to write to make it as concise and legible as possible. Your alt text should be sufficiently detailed with out being crowded with keywords. Ultimately if you can read your description to someone and they can fully imagine the image, you’re on the right track. Most CMSs (content management systems) have a section for SEO, where in which you can add your alt text as well as other tools for good SEO. You can also use the source code to create and edit alt text. Here’s what it would look like.

Source code for the Dark Traveler SEO homepage.

So to end, here are some tips for creating good alt text so that anyone can understand what you are presenting on your site.

Describe the image with as much detail as possible but keep it short. This is pretty obvious, but it’s important, many screen readers have character cut-offs at 125 characters so to try to keep it at that length. Remember that you don’t need to use picture of or image of when you describe your image.

Use keywords but don’t stuff your descriptions with them. Good alt text requires good descriptions. Sometimes your keywords with work for the description and some times it won’t. Google with take you down in ranks if you are shoving keywords where they don’t really fit.

Your button are also considered images so if you have a subscribe now button or a button that links to your social media make sure to tag it with alt text as well.

Those are some tips to improve your SEO for images, keep this blog in mind if you need insight into other topics regarding SEO.

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