What is Alternative Text and How Does it Relate to Link Building?

What is Alternative Text?

Alternative text, sometimes called “alt text” or “alt attributes,” is an attribute used in HTML to describe the appearance and function of an image on a web page. Alt text is read aloud by screen readers used by the visually impaired, and it can display in place of an image if it fails to load. It is also indexed by search engine bots to help them better understand the content of the page. Alt text is an important part of making sure your web pages are accessible to everyone.

What are the Benefits of Using Alternative Text?

1. Better Search Results for Visually Rich Websites

Using alternative text (alt text) can have a significant impact on the search results for websites that feature a lot of images. Alt text is used to provide a textual description of an image, and when used properly, it can help search engines better understand the content of a page and its relevance to a search query. This can lead to improved search engine rankings and increased organic traffic.

Alt text also improves accessibility for people using screen readers, allowing them to gain a better understanding of the content of the page. This makes it easier for those with visual impairments to use the website and access the content.

In summary, using alternative text can help to improve a website’s search engine rankings, increase organic traffic, and improve accessibility for people with visual impairments.

2. Improved Accessibility for Blind and Visually Impaired Users

The use of alternative text improves accessibility for blind and visually impaired users by providing them with the information that they need to access and understand the content on a website. Alternative text helps to ensure that digital content is accessible to people with disabilities by providing a textual equivalent to visual content. This allows screen readers and other assistive technologies to read out the alternative text, which provides a clearer picture of all the information on the page. Furthermore, providing alternative text for images can also help search engine bots to access and index the content. Ultimately, the use of alternative text helps to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the same content as someone who does not require assistance.

3. Improved Indexing by Search Engines

Using alternative text, or Alt Text, to describe the content of an image is an important part of optimizing for search engines. Alt Text improves accessibility by providing a clear description of the image for those using screen readers, as well as providing additional information for the search engine to index the image. This helps the image rank better in both image search and image packs.

Alt Text also serves as anchor text for image links, providing additional contextual clues for search engines to determine the topic of the page. Additionally, including Alt Text can improve the topical relevance of a page, helping it rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Alt Text is therefore an essential element to consider when optimizing images for SEO.

4. Increased Click-Through Rates for Images

When optimizing your content for search engines, it is important to be aware of how Google’s search engine results page (SERP) displays images. Approximately 38% of SERPs now include images, which can be an untapped source of organic traffic if you take the time to optimize your images with alt text. Alt text can help improve accessibility, topically relevance, and can help you rank in Google Images. Since Google Images is the second largest search engine, accounting for over 20% of all online searches, optimizing image alt text can help drive additional organic traffic to your website. For example, the HubSpot blog team increased their image traffic by 779% in less than a year simply by optimizing their images with alt text.

Using alt text to optimize images can also increase click-through rates. This is because image captions are read 3 times more than body copy, making them a useful signpost for readers to take in the information being shared. In addition, using keywords in the file name and alt text of an image directly impacts its findability in search, helping to boost click-through rates.

5. Increased Site Traffic and Conversion Rates

Using alternative text (alt text) on images can be an effective way to increase site traffic and conversion rates. Alt text can improve accessibility, as it helps both search engine bots and people using screen readers to access content more easily. Additionally, it can help you rank in Google Images and can serve as anchor text for image links. This can result in thousands of more organic visitors and an increased conversion rate. To optimize for this, make sure to check Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or the Top pages report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Furthermore, ensure that you give your images relevant and descriptive alt text, as it can help to increase topical relevance.

6. Better Brand Recognition

Using alternative text to describe images on websites can help improve brand recognition. Alt text is a great way to optimize a website for SEO and can help reinforce target search keywords, making it easier for potential customers to find a website when they are searching the web. Additionally, alt text can improve the accessibility of a website by providing an image description to the visually impaired. This helps create a better user experience and can increase the likelihood of a customer returning and referring the website to others.

7. Improved User Experience

Using alternative text can significantly improve the user experience for both search engine bots and those using screen readers. Properly-labeled alternative text allows search engine bots to better understand the content of an image, allowing them to accurately index and rank a website’s images in search engine results. Alternative text also provides a descriptive label of an image for those using screen readers. This allows visually-impaired users to understand the content of an image, as well as providing them with an easier method of navigating a page through keyboard-only use. By providing appropriate alternative text, websites can make it easier for both search engine bots and screen reader users to access their content.

Finding your most visited pages from organic search to use as alt text for links is a simple process. First, check Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or the “Top pages” report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to locate the most visited pages on your website. This will give you an idea of whether your alt text optimization is sound or needs work. With just a few pages likely accounting for the majority of your website’s organic traffic, it won’t take much time to audit and optimize your alt text.

Once you’ve optimized your images for SEO, you’ll want to check the load speed of your pages. Google PageSpeed Insights is a great tool to use for this. PageSpeed Insights will analyze load speed for mobile and desktop devices, provide you with a performance score, and even suggest areas for improvement.

By optimizing your website’s images for SEO, you can open up another source of organic traffic and make it easier for both search engine bots and people using screen readers to access your content.

Step 2: Audit your alt attributes.

Auditing your alt attributes is an important step in optimizing your SEO strategy. To start, perform a basic audit of your existing content to see where you can incorporate alt text into previously untagged pictures. You can inspect an element (right-click and select Inspect when hovering over an image) to check if a given image has alt text. For a more comprehensive audit, use a crawler like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb to crawl the site and navigate to the image report to review the alt text of all website images. Install the free Alt Text Tester Chrome extension, then load up the page with the most traffic and activate the extension. When writing alt text, be concise as lengthy descriptions are annoying for screen readers. Following these five best practices will help you create strong and effective alt text.

Step 3: Use keywords in image names.

Using keywords in image names and alt text can help search engines better understand the content of a website and can help improve a website’s search engine ranking. To create and use alt text for images that contain keywords, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the relevant keywords for the image. Consider what the image is about and what users might be searching for when looking for an image like it.
  2. Insert the image into your webpage using the HTML img tag.
  3. Add the alt attribute to the img tag and include your alt text within the quotation marks.
  4. Make sure your alt text contains the keywords and describes the image in detail. Don’t stuff keywords into the alt text and keep it relatively short.
  5. Use your target keywords in a natural way, as part of the image’s description.
  6. Give the image a relevant and descriptive file name that contains the keyword. Separate words by hyphens (-).
  7. Finally, make sure you can visualize the image’s content by just reading its alt text.

By following these steps, you can create and use alt text for images that help search engines better understand your website content and can improve your SEO ranking.

Step 4: Use captions.

Using captions with images can help create more effective alternative texts for links. Captioning images can provide more detailed descriptions, as well as provide more context for the image and how it relates to the content. This can help ensure that the alt text is accurate and complete, rather than just a brief description of the image. Furthermore, captions can provide extra information that may not be included in the alt text, such as markup or text, helping create a better user experience. Additionally, captions can help with optimizing images for organic search, as long as keywords are not overused. Ultimately, captions help with creating and using alternative texts for links as they provide a way to accurately and effectively describe the image’s contents and context.

Step 5: Avoid keyword stuffing.

To avoid keyword stuffing with alt text, follow these five best practices:

  1. Keep the alt text concise. It should provide a brief but accurate description of the image.
  2. Focus on describing the image in detail, but keep the alt text relatively short.
  3. Avoid using too many keywords in the alt text. Use the target keyword only if it fits into the image’s description.
  4. Don’t use text on images – add all text using HTML code.
  5. Avoid stating that it’s an image in the alt text – users and search engines already know that.

Step 6: Use the right format and size of images.

If you want to make sure that your website’s images are optimized for SEO, it’s important to use the right format and size. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose the right format. For larger images, JPEGs are best for maintaining clarity. For images with background transparency, use PNGs or Scalable Vector Graphics (SVGs).
  2. Resize the image. Make sure to resize your image before you upload it, as scaling with the display size option in a CMS won’t help your page load times.
  3. Name the image file. When naming your image files, include your keyword at the beginning and separate words by hyphens (-). This will help Google to differentiate the words in the file name.
  4. Write an alt text. Make sure to include descriptive alternative texts for all of your on-site images, include relevant keywords, and avoid repeating yourself in alternative texts for images that already have captions. The best tip for writing alternative texts is to imagine that you’re describing an image to someone who can’t see it.

By following these steps, you can make sure that your website’s images are optimized for SEO and help improve your page ranking.

Step 7: Write concisely.

Creating concise alt text for links is an art. Here are some steps to help you do it well: 1) Be specific and describe the link content in the alt text; 2) Keep it short; no longer than 125 characters; 3) Use target keywords, but in a natural way; 4) Avoid repeating words like “click here,” “more,” or “read more”; 5) Visualize the image’s content by just reading its alt text; 6) Make sure the link text makes sense without the surrounding sentences or content.

Step 8: Use images with alt text.

Using images with alternative text can help improve your website’s accessibility, optimization, and topical relevance. Here are some steps to make sure you use alternative texts for all of your on-site images:

  1. Identify the relevant keywords for the image. Consider what the image is about and what users might be searching for when looking for an image like it.
  2. Insert the image into your webpage using the HTML img tag.
  3. Add the alt attribute to the img tag and include your alt text within the quotation marks.
  4. Use descriptive alternative texts, include relevant keywords, and avoid repeating yourself in alternative texts for images that already have captions.
  5. Remember to imagine that you’re describing the image to someone who can’t see it.
  6. If you’re using WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to add alternative texts to your images.

By following these steps and using alternative texts for all your on-site images, you can significantly improve your website’s accessibility and optimization.

Step 9: Repeat for more pages.

To repeat the process for more pages, first check Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or the “Top pages” report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. This will give you an indication of which pages on your website get the most visits. Once you have identified these pages, you can audit and optimize the alt text for each one. To make sure your content is optimized for both search engine bots and people using screen readers, ensure that only one link is provided to the same destination, and that all elements are wrapped within one link. Additionally, you can read our comprehensive SEO keyword research guide and our ultimate link building guide to learn more about optimizing your pages for search engine results pages.

How to create and use alternative text for links.

FAQs

What is alternative text?

Alternative text, also known as alt text, is a piece of text that describes an image in the HTML code. It is intended to help web visitors who use software called screen readers. Screen readers read or describe what is on the screen for people who are not able to see it otherwise. Additionally, alt text provides information about the appearance and function of images on a web page should the image not load or should the user be visually impaired. Alt text is also indexed by search engine bots to better understand the content of a page, and it is displayed in place of an image if it fails to load.

Alternative text can help link building efforts by optimizing images on websites and improving the topical relevance of the page. Alt text helps search engines understand what the image is about, allowing them to associate it with relevant keywords and phrases. This in turn helps the page rank better in search engines, and thus increases the visibility of the page – resulting in more organic traffic and potential link building opportunities. Additionally, alt text helps websites become ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, which can further boost the page’s visibility and linkability.

What is the correct format for alternative text?

What is the correct format for alternative text? The best way to format alternative text is to describe the image in question in a way that takes into consideration its purpose in relation to the page content. This includes providing relevant keywords and avoiding repetition in alt texts for images that have captions.

When writing alternative texts, you should imagine that you are describing the image to someone who cannot see it. Depending on context, the same image might need different alternative text. According to the W3C, informative images should have a text alternative that describes the information or function of the image, while decorative images should have a null text alternative (alt=””). For functional images, such as an icon or button, the text alternative should describe the functionality. For images of text, the text alternative should contain the same words as in the image, and complex images such as graphs or diagrams should have a complete text equivalent of the data or information presented in the image. If multiple images convey a single piece of information, the text alternative for one image should convey the information for the entire group. Lastly, for image maps, the text alternative should provide an overall context for the set of links and each clickable area should have alternative text that describes the purpose of the link.

As an example, an appropriate alternative text for an image of a strawberry could be: “A ripe, juicy strawberry with a glossy red skin surrounded by green leaves.”

How do I use alternative text to help my website?

If you want to use alternative text to improve the optimization and relevance of your website, here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Log in to your WordPress and go to Posts or Pages.
  2. Select an article that you would like to edit, hover your cursor over it, and click “edit” once it appears next to the post’s title.
  3. Select an image and click on it.
  4. In the Image Settings menu on the right, enter your alt text in the alternative text window.
  5. When writing alternative text for images, be clear and concise while still providing enough detail to be informative. Avoid over-describing the image.
  6. For example, if it’s a panned-out image with multiple people or objects, accurately describe exactly what the objects are, how they are positioned, or what the people are doing.
  7. For example, “people in the office sitting in front of their computers working”.
  8. If you’re writing your content in Google Docs, you can add alternative texts to images by right-clicking on them and selecting “Alt text” from the menu that appears.
  9. By creating descriptive and useful alt texts, your images can start to appear and rank in Google Images Search for relevant search queries.
  10. In addition, good alternative texts can also improve the topical relevance of your pages and serve as a potential ranking signal for Google.

How do I add alternative text to images on my website?

Adding alternative text to images on your website is an essential SEO step that can help search engines better understand your content and improve your visibility in search results. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to add alt text to images on your website:

  1. If you are using WordPress, open the post or page you would like to edit. Select your image and click on it. In the Image Settings menu on the right, enter your alt text in the alternative text window.
  2. If you are using other software platforms such as Google Docs, right-click on the image and choose ‘Alt Text’ from the menu that appears.
  3. If you are using WordPress, you can also add alternative texts to images via Media » Library. Simply upload a new image and click on the ‘Edit’ button – you will access image settings where you can add alternative text.
  4. When writing alternative text for images, it is important to be clear and concise while still providing enough detail to be informative. Try to avoid over-describing the image, as this can be repetitive and reduce the impact of the alternative text.

By following these steps, you can ensure that search engines have the necessary insight to interpret and understand your content, and to make it easier for users to identify images.

How does alternative text help with web accessibility?

Alt text helps with web accessibility by providing better context and descriptions to search engine crawlers and screen readers. By including relevant and descriptive alt text, websites can ensure that people with visual impairments can access and understand the visual content on the page. Alt text also helps search engines index and rank images, improving SEO and helping sites rank better in search results. Finally, alt text ensures digital content is compliant with standards set forth by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and other countries’ accessibility requirements.

How does alternative text improve my website’s rank?

Alternative text, also known as alt text, plays a key role in improving a website’s ranking. Search engines such as Google and other search engines can’t “see” the images on the website, so they rely on alt text to better understand the image and how it relates to the content on the page. By providing descriptive and useful alt text, images can start to appear in the Google Images search results for relevant queries.

Alt text also affects the topical relevance of a website and can serve as a potential ranking signal for search engines. Furthermore, it can improve the UX of social media images (Facebook, Twitter, and images in email templates) and make them more accessible.

Alt text is important for many reasons, including improving accessibility, increasing topical relevance, helping to rank in Google Images, and serving as anchor text for image links. Optimizing alt text increases the chances of a website appearing in Google image search and gaining more potential traffic and customers.

Alt text is also essential for SEO optimization, as search engines need to understand the content of a website’s images. Without proper optimization, a website may fail to appear in Google image search. Finally, alt text is necessary for website compliance with the ADA standards set forth in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

What are some common mistakes to avoid when using alternative text?

When using alternative text, it’s important to avoid some common mistakes. Firstly, it’s essential not to forget to use alt text or to use empty alt text. It’s also important not to use the same alt text for different images, as this can be confusing for screen readers. Additionally, it’s important to avoid using general alt text that does not accurately describe the image – for example, using the alt text of “dog” on a photo of a particular dog instead of describing its color, what it is doing, and its breed. You should also avoid using the name of the file as the alt text. To make sure you’re writing the best alt text, imagine you’re describing an image to someone who can’t see it. You should also remember to avoid using screenshots, PNGs, or JPEGs of text, and you should type the text into the alt text tag instead.

Furthermore, it’s important to remember that the most appropriate alternative text for an image depends very much on the context of the image, and the same image might need different alternative text depending on how it’s used. Additionally, when writing alt text for a link, it’s important to make sure that it describes to the user where the link will take them. Finally, you should make sure that the alt text is concise and accurate, avoid keyword stuffing, avoid stating that it is an image, avoid redundancy, and always double-check the spelling and grammar.

How can I use alternative text to make my website more search engine friendly?

Using alternative text (alt text) is a great way to make your website more search engine friendly. Alt texts are an essential part of image SEO and help search engines better understand and index your content. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use alt texts correctly and effectively:

  1. Add alt text to all images on your website – this includes images in blog posts, pages, and even social media posts.
  2. Create descriptive and useful alt texts – include relevant keywords and make sure to not repeat yourself in alternative texts for images that already have captions.
  3. Imagine that you’re describing an image to someone who can’t see it – write succinct but accurate descriptions that include key details such as the subject matter, color, and composition.
  4. If you’re using WordPress, you can add alternative text to your images using the Yoast SEO plugin.

By adding descriptive and keyword-rich alt texts to your images, you can improve the on-page optimization of your website, serve as a potential ranking signal for Google, and increase the topical relevance of your pages.

How can I optimize my website with alternative text?

Optimizing your website with alternative text can be a great way to improve the user experience, as well as the on-page optimization and topical relevance for your website. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you optimize your website with alternative text:

  1. Add descriptive alternative text to all of your on-site images that aren’t strictly decorative.
  2. Include relevant keywords in your alternative text, as this will help search engines better understand your image and how it relates to the page content.
  3. Avoid repeating yourself in alternative texts for images that already have captions.
  4. When writing the alternative text, imagine that you’re describing the image to someone who can’t see it. Be clear and concise while still providing enough detail to be informative.
  5. If you’re using WordPress, you can add alternative text to your images in the post editor with the help of Yoast SEO.
  6. If you’re writing in Google Docs, you can add alternative texts to images by right-clicking on them and selecting “Alt text” from the menu.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to optimize your website with alternative text and ensure your images are accessible to those with disabilities, as well as improve your website’s ranking with the help of search engine optimization.