ALT Tags – Are You Using Them Correctly On Images?
The ALT tag is a significant attribute of the webpage. How many of you have gone deep to understand why it is called the ALT tag? Yes, this tag is the one to describe images inserted on a webpage and add them to the <image> tag. An ALT tag is a noteworthy part of image SEO.
The ALT is an abbreviated form of ‘alternate text’ and displays the text if an image fails to load on any webpage. It may be due to slow speed, some error in the source code, or the user browsing the web page using a screen-reader.
Importance of Alt Tags
Let’s find out the importance of the Alt tags and how they affect the user experience.
1. Enhances Accessibility
● Text entered in this Tag gets displayed in case the image could not get displayed due to a slow internet connection or the user has chosen not to view images for any reason.
● Alt Tag enables blind or visually impaired screen readers to access the content placed in the this Tag, as images aren’t visible to them. These Tags help individuals having learning disabilities with specific sensory processing.
2. Alt Tag improves SEO
Crawlers cannot read images, but they can read the description entered in the Alt Tags. So whenever a search query is triggered, the search engine can relate those queries with the images stored in the database and displays them back in the search results.
In short, any strategically entered description in the Alt Tags helps the search engines to have information about your webpage and will rank the page higher.
Examples of correct usage of Alt Tags
● Bad usage: Climbing
Good use: Group of mountaineers climbing Mount Everest
● Bad usage: Pool
Good use: Beautiful pool at SEO Newcastle
● Bad usage: Painter
Good use: Painting with BrandName Colours gives an excellent finish
How to use Alt Tags correctly
In case you are struggling to know how to use the Alt Tags correctly, here are some tips.
1. Be precise
Avoid being descriptive while using the Alt Tags. Just be specific and frame your content with the best minimal word count without losing the information.
Exceptionally you will need to jot down a complete sentence for the Alt Tag when the image is intended to attract and is the main focus of your content, but most of the time, a couple of words will be enough. As a word of caution, screen readers truncate the text in Alt Tags at around 125 characters, so try not to cross that limit.
2. Cut down on meaningless words
When you have an image of an elephant or a city, try avoiding opening words like “Image of”, “Picture of”, or “Pic of”. These words mean nothing to the users and offer no value.
Instead, it’s a good idea to use “closeup”, “sketch”, “screenshot”, etc., which will create interest within the users’ minds.
3. Avoid keyword stuffing
Insert keywords in the ALT tags only for the sake of indexing by the crawler and adding it to their database. More than the required keywords may feel like keyword stuffing exercises, which won’t be helpful for your SEO.
4. Avoid repetition of content
You must ensure not to repeat any content from your article in the ALT tags. Repeating the same content twice may not be considered a good practice from the search engine’s perspective.
5. Include text from an image
If you have a picture with text as its part, you should repeat the text in your Alt Tag using the exact words or rephrasing those. It is essential as crawlers can’t read the text from the images. Therefore you need to add that text to Alt Tag so that crawlers and the users know it better.
6. Do not ignore buttons used in forms
You will often use nice image buttons for a better user experience. Provide Alt Tags to these buttons to let crawlers and users know their functionality.
7. Avoid writing Alt Tags for SEO
Many times we are weighed down more on SEO than the user. You should always have your user as the priority and crawlers as the second.
Therefore whenever you enter any description in Alt Tag, think of how it would be understandable for the user, rather than targeting SEO.
8. Use the Company name for the company logo image
Always use the real organization name while using Alt Tags on your company logo. Some people will just leave it writing “logo”, “company logo”, “my logo”, etc.
Where not to use Alt Tags
Let’s understand where you should avoid usage of Alt Tags-
1. Don’t use Alt Tags for decorative images
Some images you use to decorate and divide the page for a decent visual appearance. Do not use Alt Tags on them, as they are out of context and don’t provide any value.
Imagine you use Alt Tag on this with a description out of context, and what impact it will have when displayed on the screen for users with slow connectivity, users who have disabled image viewing in their browsers, visually impaired, or using screen readers.
We have all come a long way in creating and presenting content for our dear clients. Keeping that in mind, each attribute responsible for structuring the web page is essential. One of that attributes is the Alt Tags. Using Alt Tags is not a thing to be done casually. It needs to go under a thought process, understanding how the user perceives the information loaded onto a web page.
As you all know, we use Alt Tags to describe an image on the page. It helps provide information to the users in case the picture doesn’t get loaded onto the page. In this blog, we have presented the information on how to use Alt Tag correctly, where to use and where not to use them. Correct use of Alt Tag can help the crawlers to know more about your page and help to rank higher in search engines. But more importantly, the information will be easily accessible to some users where image display is an issue.