Why ALT Text Is Important for your website

In the dynamic landscape of web design and digital content, every element plays a crucial role in enhancing user experience and search engine visibility including ALT text.

One often overlooked but immensely important component is Alternative Text, commonly known as ALT text. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the significance of ALT text, its dual role in web accessibility and SEO, and why you should prioritise it in your website strategy.

What is ALT Text?

ALT text is a brief, descriptive attribute added to HTML code that provides alternative information about an image. Its primary purpose is to ensure that users with visual impairments can comprehend and interact with the content of a website, but its benefits extend beyond accessibility.

The Dual Role of ALT Text

Web Accessibility

  • Screen Readers: ALT text is crucial for individuals who use screen readers to navigate the web. When a screen reader encounters an image, it reads the alternative text aloud, providing context and information that may not be apparent from the image alone.
  • Compliance with Accessibility Standards: ALT text is a fundamental element of web accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Including descriptive alternative text ensures your website is inclusive and compliant.

Search Engine Optimisation

  • Image Search: Search engines, like Google, rely on ALT text to understand the content and context of images. Properly optimized ALT text improves the chances of your images appearing in relevant searches, contributing to better overall SEO.
  • Keyword Relevance: Including relevant keywords in your ALT text can boost the keyword relevance of your page, potentially improving its search engine ranking.

Why ALT Text Matters

1. Inclusivity and Accessibility

ALT text serves as a bridge to a more inclusive web experience. By providing descriptive information about images, it ensures that users with visual impairments can access and understand your content, fostering inclusivity and diversity.

2. Improved SEO and Search Engine Rankings

Search engines use various factors to determine the relevance and quality of content. ALT text not only helps search engines understand the content of images but also provides an opportunity to incorporate keywords, enhancing your overall SEO strategy.

3. Enhanced User Experience

Even for users without visual impairments, ALT text contributes to a more comprehensive and enjoyable browsing experience. It provides additional context to images, making the content more informative and engaging.

Best Practices for Writing ALT Text

  1. Be Descriptive: Provide a concise and accurate description of the image, conveying its essential information.
  2. Include Keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords naturally, but avoid keyword stuffing.
  3. Keep it Short: Aim for brevity while ensuring that the alternative text effectively communicates the image’s purpose.
  4. Omit Redundant Phrases: If an image is already described in the surrounding text, avoid duplicating the information in the alternative text.

Conclusion

Incorporating alternative text into your web design and content strategy is not just a matter of compliance; it’s an essential step toward creating an inclusive, user-friendly, and SEO-optimised online presence.

By understanding the dual role of ALT text in web accessibility and SEO, you empower your website to reach a broader audience and enhance its overall visibility on search engines.

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