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ALT text (Alternative text)

ALT text (alternative text) What is it and why is it relevant for images?

ALT text is the abbreviation of Alternate text. It is an HTML tag that is added to the images of web pages, where a brief description of the content of the image is included. Search engines can read and interpret the ALT text of an image, without the slightest problem, and thus know the content of the image; this information will help the system to rank it properly.

1. What is the ALT text?

The ALT text is nothing more than a phrase associated with an image, it describes the content of the image, gives it context and a purpose. Although current content managers already allow you to include the ALT text of the images in a few clicks, you can also add the alternative text for published images on a website using the HTML code. An example of alternative text of an image would be the following:

<img src = “amanecer-palmeras.jpg" alt = “amanecer en playa del caribe con palmeras">

2. What is ALT text used for?

The ALT text has several uses. But perhaps the most important one is the fact that it will help to improve your SEO strategy. Since this information is in the HTML code of the website, it is read by the robots or crawlers that index the information to create the results returned by the search engines.

It is also relevant for replacing the image itself in case the page doesn’t load correctly. In that case, instead of the image, the alternative text would be displayed and thus it is possible to know what the missing image contained.

Last but not least, it is a relevant element for web accessibility to visually impaired people, since these people use special screen readers and thanks to the ALT text they can read a description of the image to understand its content.

3. Creating an ALT text

To create an alternative text correctly, which fulfills the functions for which the Alt tag has been created, it is necessary to keep in mind these premises:

  • All the images on your website must have an associated Alt text.
  • Write it to be read by people, not for search engines.
  • Avoid placing too many keywords because this strategy will be detected and your SEO ranking will be affected.
  • Use 4 to 8 words to describe the image.

Finally, it is highly recommended to include an Alt text for all the published images, although when they are merely decorative or were included for improving the page design, you could leave this field blank; on the other hand, many webmasters include a description of these images as well.