How To Write Alt Text

Alternative text—more commonly known as alt text—is both an accessibility and SEO feature. Originally, it was only for screen readers or other accessibility displays that allowed people with vision impairments to interact with the image and get value from it. Due to this, Google also started using alt text to better understand website content. Here’s how to write alt text.

#1: Use Keywords, But Sparingly

You do want to use your keywords in your alt text (as long as it is relevant to the image). However, do not simply make your alt text a list of keywords or completely irrelevant in regards to the photo. Make sure that your alt text both describes the photo and has relevance to the overall page. When placing alt text on before and after images, you may say something like, “Before breast augmentation patient photo.”

#2: Know When (And When Not To) Add Alt Text

Not all images on your website need alt text. For example, dividers, your logo, or similar brand imaging do not necessarily need alt text. It can overdo it and from an accessibility standpoint, people do not need to know the location of the divider to understand the content on the page. Thus, for your decorative images, do not add alt text.

#3: Captions vs. Alt Text

Captions can sometimes take the place of alternative text. If you have a good caption that describes the photo, you may not need alt text since screen readers and Google will both pick up the caption. With that said, there are times when you may want to add alt text regardless of a caption. Basically, if the alt text and caption would be the same or similar, you don’t need the alt text.

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