What is Image Alt Text?
Image alt text, or alternative text, is a brief description of an image that is used by screen readers and other assistive technologies to help visually impaired users understand the content of the image. Alt text is also displayed in place of an image if it cannot be loaded for any reason, providing context for users who may not be able to see the image.
In addition to its accessibility benefits, alt text can also play a role in search engine optimization (SEO). By providing search engines with information about the content of an image, alt text can help improve search engine rankings for relevant keywords.
The Impact of Alt Text on SEO
The importance of alt text for SEO has been a topic of debate among SEO professionals. Some argue that alt text is a crucial element of on-page SEO and can help improve search engine rankings, while others contend that alt text has minimal impact on SEO and is not worth the effort of optimizing.
Despite this debate, there is evidence to suggest that alt text can play a role in improving search engine rankings. According to Moz, a leading SEO software company, “search engines use alt text to understand the content of images, so the more descriptive and accurate your alt text is, the better your chances of ranking for relevant keywords.”
Neil Patel, an SEO expert and founder of Neil Patel Digital, also stresses the importance of alt text for SEO, stating that “the more descriptive the alt text is, the higher the chances of your images showing up in Google Images, which can lead to more website visitors.”
The Future of Image Alt Text and SEO
As search engines continue to evolve, the role of alt text in SEO may shift. In recent years, search engines like Google have placed an increased emphasis on the user experience, prioritizing content that is useful and accessible to users. As a result, accurate and descriptive alt text is likely to become even more important in the future, as it can help ensure that visually impaired users have access to the same content as sighted users.
According to Search Engine Journal, a leading online publication covering the latest trends in SEO and digital marketing, “as search engines become more intelligent, it’s expected that alt text will play an even bigger role in helping search engines understand the content of images and the context in which they’re used.”
Additionally, as more businesses and organizations prioritize accessibility, alt text will remain a crucial element of creating accessible web content.
Image alt text is a critical component of both web accessibility and SEO. Accurate and descriptive alt text can help visually impaired users understand the content of an image and can also improve search engine rankings by providing search engines with valuable information about the subject matter of an image. As search engines continue to evolve, the importance of alt text may increase, making it even more crucial to include accurate and descriptive alt text on webpages. By following best practices for writing alt text, businesses and organizations can improve both the accessibility and SEO of their websites, creating a more inclusive and user-friendly online experience for all users.
- Moz. (n.d.). Image Alt Text vs. Title: What’s the Difference? Retrieved from https://moz.com
- Patel, N. (2016, July 27). The Ultimate Guide to Image Optimization for Better SEO. Retrieved from https://neilpatel.com/
- Search Engine Journal. (2021, April 22). How to Write Alt Text for SEO. Retrieved from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/