Alt Text: What is it and Do I Need to Use It

'Alt Text' stands for alternative text - it provides a text fallback for your images if they cannot be loaded.

Alt text can easily be added to all images on your site through WordPress, when they are embedded on the page. When you choose your image from the Media Library, you can enter custom text on the right hand side.

Ideally, alt text should simply describe the subject of the image. So, for a picture of a cat sitting on a bench, the text would be ‘a cat sitting on a bench’. Where custom text isn’t added WordPress will fallback to the name of the image file. This could be helpful if you have named your file after the subject of the image, however, DSC2035.jpg isn’t very useful!

As well as providing a helpful piece of text to describe an image if it hasn’t loaded, alt text is also important for search engines. A search bot will be able to understand the subject of an image by it’s alt text and index it as such. This will help to boost the SEO of your page or post, and your website as a whole.

Lastly, alt text is incredibly useful for those who are visually impaired and use Screen Readers. Screen Readers are browser extensions that will scan the contents of the page and read it out to the user. If images on the page have alternative text, it will also be able describe these.

By simply adding a few descriptive words to your images, you could help to improve your website in a number of ways. For more information about boosting your website’s SEO, we’ve written a post about the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress, which is one of the best tools for managing your website’s SEO.

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May 28, 2020