Black graphic with an illustration of a cherry layer cake and a piece of HTML code to the right showing the image source and alt text for the cherry cake

The Importance Of Image Alt Text

January 17, 2024 - courtney

What Is Alt (Alternative) Text?

Alt text, short for alternative text, or alt tags are often the unsung heroes of website design. These small snippets of descriptive text attached to images on your website may seem inconspicuous, but their impact is profound. Their primary role is to provide a text-based alternative to visual content, particularly benefiting those who rely on screen readers.

Understanding and implementing effective image alt tags is not just a technical detail; it’s a fundamental aspect of responsible and user-friendly web design. By prioritizing accessibility, enhancing user experience, and optimizing for search engines, you contribute to the overall success and impact of your website.

Let’s delve deeper into the multifaceted significance of alt text for your website.

The Purpose Of Alt Text

1. Accessibility Matters: Enabling Inclusivity

Imagine a friend with a visual impairment navigating your website. Alt tags become their companions, as their screen reader reads these tags aloud, offering a vivid description of the images. It’s like providing a personalized verbal tour of your content, making your website not just accessible but inclusive. Inclusion is more than a buzzword; it’s a fundamental aspect of responsible web design that caters to diverse audiences.

2. SEO Superpowers: Elevating Your Website’s Visibility

Beyond alt tags’ role in accessibility, they are SEO superheroes. Search engines, unlike humans, can’t visually interpret images. Instead, they rely on the textual cues provided by alt tags to understand and index content accurately. Implementing meaningful alt tags, enriched with relevant keywords, guides search engines through the visual landscape of your website, increasing the chances of your content showing up prominently in search results.

The absence of alt text for your images leaves search engines in the dark, with the potential to impact your website’s ranking in search results. To ensure your website stands out craft descriptive and accurate alt tags.

3. User Experience Boost: A Safety Net for Visual Hiccups

Think about those moments when an image takes a bit too long to load or, worse, doesn’t load at all. Alt text steps in as the unsung hero, providing context and preventing confusion. It’s akin to having a backup plan for a seamless user experience. By offering a textual description, alt tags ensure that users still grasp the intended message or information, even in the absence of visuals.

Considering the varied internet speeds and the diversity of devices accessing your website, alt tags become an essential part of creating a user-friendly experience. They contribute to a smooth and consistent user experience, regardless of potential visual hiccups.

4. Compliance Revolution: Navigating Legal and Ethical Frontiers

The digital landscape is evolving, and with it comes increased attention to web accessibility standards. Adhering to guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) isn’t just about following best practices; it’s a legal and ethical imperative. Alt text plays a pivotal role in the compliance revolution, ensuring your website is accessible to a broader audience, including those with disabilities.

By incorporating alt text in your web design strategy, you’re not just meeting regulatory requirements; you’re fostering a digital environment that respects and accommodates the needs of every user. This commitment to inclusivity and accessibility reflects positively on your brand and establishes a user-friendly reputation.

Tips For Writing Alt Text:

Boost your site’s visibility and charm search engines with these alt-tag optimization tricks:

Be Descriptive:

  • When crafting alt tags, aim for descriptions that are both informative and concise. Convey the content and purpose of the image in a few words. Think about what information would be valuable to someone who can’t see the image.


  • Ensure that the alt text is directly relevant to the context of the page. The alt tag should contribute to the overall understanding of the content and its purpose on the webpage. Avoid using generic or unrelated descriptions.

Keyword Consideration:

  • While writing alt text, consider relevant keywords associated with your content. However, it’s crucial to incorporate them naturally and avoid keyword stuffing. The primary goal is to provide accurate and meaningful descriptions. 

Examples and Practical Applications:

Let’s walk through a few examples to illustrate how to apply these principles effectively:

Example 1: A Blog Post Image

Blog image screenshot of a saleswoman talking to a female customer while the customer holds a shopping basket inside of a cosmetics store and a screenshot of the image's alternative text in the bottom right corner

Consider an image within a blog post about “Utilizing User-Generated Content (UGC) & Influencer Marketing.” For this image under the section discussing where UGC comes from, a suitable alt tag might be: “A saleswoman talking to a female customer while the customer holds a shopping basket inside of a cosmetics store.”

This alt text is descriptive, concise, and directly related to the content of the blog post.

Example 2: Decorative Spacer Image

Now, think about a decorative spacer image used for layout purposes. This approach ensures that screen readers don’t unnecessarily announce non-relevant details.

Tools for Alt Text Optimization:

If you are not currently working with an SEO specialist or team of marketers there are other options to implement optimized alt text. Several tools can assist in optimizing and evaluating the effectiveness of your alt text.

  • Accessibility Auditing Tools: Tools like WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) or Axe Accessibility can scan your website for accessibility issues, including missing or poorly crafted alt text. They provide valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.
  • SEO Analysis Tools: For SEO optimization, tools like Yoast SEO or Moz can help you assess the overall SEO health of your website, including the quality of your alt text. These tools often provide actionable recommendations to enhance your site’s performance.

Nurturing An Inclusive and Discoverable Web Presence

As you continue your journey in web development or content creation, keep in mind that small details like alt tags can make a significant difference in how your website is perceived, accessed, and discovered on the vast landscape of the internet.

Now, armed with the knowledge of alt tags and their importance, who’s ready to make their websites more inclusive and discoverable? Let’s embark on this journey together, creating digital spaces that welcome and engage every user, regardless of their abilities or limitations.

Let’s Work Together

If you aren’t writing your website’s alt text on your own, Solution Agency’s expert team of digital marketing experts and website developers can help you find a solution. Our inboxes are open if you have any questions about our services or other related marketing topics. Contact us to get started.