Adding alt-text to images — the whys and hows

Alternative text, or alt-text, is simply a line added to the code of a website that describes the appearance and function of an associated image. If you’ve ever performed an image search on a search engine like Bing or Google and wondered how the search algorithm brings up pictures based on your query, alt-text is one of the more basic ways it does this. 

There are a number of benefits to providing alt-text to images on your webpage. If you’re looking to learn how to do it properly and write useful descriptions, understanding these benefits is a great place to start. 

Why should you add alt-text to images on your website? 

From a basic functional standpoint, it is not critical to add alt-text to your images. However, there are some key advantages from both a user experience and SEO perspective for doing so. These include: 

  • If an image does not load properly, alt-text will be displayed as a backup
  • Alt-text can help visually impaired users who use screen readers better understand on-screen imagery 
  • It can provide image context for search crawlers and help your rankings in both web and image searches

As you write alt-text image descriptions, it’s important to keep these primary uses and benefits in mind to ensure they achieve their objectives. 

How to add alt-text to images on your website 

Alt-text images can be added through a simple HTML tag on the back end of your webpage. It will generally look something like this: 

<img alt=”text“> 

Additionally, many programs such as photo viewers, photo editors and content management systems allow you to add alt-text to images through a more user-friendly interface. Check with your webmaster to determine the optimal method for adding alt-text to your images.

In terms of writing a quality description, avoid overly long descriptions and keyword stuffing — although keywords should be utilized mindfully. Instead, imagine closing your eyes and having someone read the description to you. If you see something close to the image in your head, this means it’s a good alt-text description. 

The experienced professionals at Burg & Co. can help with your website

Want to learn more about adding alt-text and other important optimizations to your website? The team of friendly and knowledgeable marketing experts at Burg & Co. are here for you. From a ground-up web design to an overhaul to tweaks, we know what it takes to build a high-performing website that meets your needs and offers return on your marketing investment. 
Contact us today to learn more and schedule your free marketing consultation.

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