Alt text or alternative text is a commonly neglected but great tool to enhance your SEO strategy and help your page rank better. Its primary purpose is to describe the image for people who are unable to view it. It can be a great way to optimize your content and rank not just on web search but also make its way to rank for images in the image search.
Before we learn how to use Alt text for SEO, we must understand why it is so essential.
Alternative text or alt text for short is the easiest way to describe your images present in your content. The primary reason it is used is to express your image for visually impaired users. This allows the material to become more user friendly and opens possibilities for audiences with disabilities. For SEO, it can help Google understand your images and what they contain so they can rank better and more accurately according to the searches.
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Alt text has many major benefits to both the user and the webpage owner. The first is that it reaches a much larger audience. Other than visually impaired people who depend upon these alt texts to get the essence of the image, many people also have blockers on their browsers. They could be doing it to save data or if the internet is slow and the image cant be loaded. In that case, instead of missing out completely on the content, they get a snippet through the alternative description of the image.
So, your content won’t be limited by the speed of their connection or the ability to see it. It would have a further reach all around the world and be accessible to virtually anyone who wishes to view it.
Google uses web crawlers to rank its pages. These crawlers can read the text very clearly and determine its relevancy to a topic. However, when it comes to images, web crawlers cannot read it. Well then you might be wondering, it can still read the text around it and rank my content accordingly? That’s is what it does, but the competition is ever-growing, so how can you expect to rank number 1 when your competitors have got an advantage?
Another way that alt text can help your SEO is because it allows you another opportunity to rank for your keywords. You can nestle your keyword into your image which gets you one step ahead to rank for your targetted keyword.
One way to use the images is as an anchor to insert your links to other webpages. Now, you may ask, what is anchor text? It’s simply the text that holds that clickable link. It allows google to understand more about what your page is about. The more Google understands about your page and what it contains, the better it can be ranked.
Once you are aware of the importance of alt text, we can learn how you should write it. Certain rules should be followed to make the alt text as precise and optimized as possible.
When adding alt text, you might get overwhelmed by the number of images and thus alt text that needs to be written. In reality, that is not true; you should only focus on writing alt text for images that hold importance or add value to the content. If your content contains some brand logos or decorative images that aren’t necessary to convey your message across, you can leave them out. Instead of leaving it blank, you should write an empty alt text. In this manner, the screen reader will not be reading the file name of the image and just skip over it entirely.
In an alt text for an image, you want to be sure that you are getting the clearest message across. E.g., if you have the picture of a cat: a good way to write the alt text for the cat would be by adding the breed and colour instead of just saying cat. This creates a more clear picture of the cat in the reader’s mind.
Similarly, if you have a picture of a person, describe the person and their actions but dont waste characters describing the person’s features and characteristics unless they are relevant to the topic.