Alt Text For Images | What Is It? And Why You Should Be Using It.


alt tags for images

 

Before I go any further, let me just announce that I am definitely no expert on the subject of Alt text (or Alt tags) but I have learned as I’ve gone along and with the help of my younger brother – shout out coming up… He’s European head of e-commerce for a well-known global company so he knows a thing or two about managing a website and has helped clarify things for me.

When you first start blogging, there are always so many little niggles and I get frustrated when I see wording or jargon that I don’t understand. It’s not really acceptable to just ignore It hoping it will go away, as often we don’t realise the importance of such things and how they can affect SEO. That’s just what I was doing until recently, ok, I was editing the meta description with the snippet editor if I felt it necessary – that’s pretty much self-explanatory, but certainly, I haven’t been doing as much as I should’ve.

Of course, we can always search Google, but often there are so many answers out there our mind just boggles. If you’re like me, hopefully this will answer your questions. My blog is self-hosted over on WordPress.org, I imagine WordPress.com has the same process of adding Alt text, I can’t remember off-hand but pretty sure it does.

Alt text, or tags what on earth are they, and why we should be using them.

I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible so it’s easier to understand. Many may not realise it but adding alt text is actually mandatory for images on the web, however, it is generally ignored or overlooked. Possibly due to a lack of understanding or because we may not think we need to do it, or that it won’t make any real difference. Simply put, the Alt tag is the text that displays in the image container (when an image doesn’t load) and lets the reader know what the image is. Essentially, a blind, or visually impaired user – (using a screen reader) will have the image description read out loud to them. This making your site far more accessible and your blog post more enjoyable for those with visual impairment.

Also, a point to mention is that unless you’re using a screen reader you wouldn’t generally see alt tags (unless an image fails to load) however, search engines do, and they index your images based on the alt tags. So it’s doubly important to add them.

Here’s how you add your alt text: Once you’ve added you image/s you will notice some boxes under the attachment Details. See my screengrab below:

 

alt text for images. Image shows where to add your tag

 

What Do I Need To Do?

You should write something descriptive about your photo, It doesn’t need to be elaborate but remember to include your focus key words/s. If your photo is for example, Dior Rosy Glow blusher, in the Alt text box you could simply write ‘Dior Rosy Glow blusher compact in Petal Pink’. Google will then know what the image is and that it’s relevant to your text. Your photo/s can then be included in image searches/indexing. Conversely, if you’re image is purely for decorative purposes only, pretty much like mine in this post then you will still want to add an alt tag but in this case you would write alt=”” this gives a null attribute and the screen reader will then know to ignore the image because it has no real relevance to the written content. You can of course just write “decorative image” if you prefer, just as long as there is a tag.

This is something I wasn’t doing as I had no idea I needed to –  I’ve had to go through all my images and add the alt tags retrospectively which has been a little tedious. If you need to do the same then simply edit your post, click on the image to bring up the edit toolbar, then click the pen icon, next, add your chosen alt tag in the box and save.

Image Title

The image “Title” is used by WordPress to organise the image files and will already have a tag. i.e IMG-0008 like mine here. I generally don’t re-name the title but you may want to if it helps you locate an image when searching for a specific image file.

Have you been using alt tags? I Hope you can take something from this going forward, and hopefully, improve how your site is indexed in future.

Futher reading – My blog maintenance check list.


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11 Comments

  1. March 14, 2017 / 7:23 am

    Thanks! I had no idea what this was. I was changing the Title instead. What is/where do I find the snippet? H x

    • Samantha
      Author
      March 14, 2017 / 8:13 am

      Hi Hayley, thanks for reading! It’s easy to ignore things when we don’t understand, I was doing the same until recently! For the snippet if you scroll down to the bottom of the page where you add a new post you’ll see the snippet editor there. There’s a preview but also an edit snippet button with a pen icon. Click that, go to the meta description box, alter or re-write your snippet there then ‘close’ the snippet editor. Update or save and you’re done! Try googling your blog site and see what your current snippets say on the links 💞hope this helps! x

  2. March 14, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    Very informative post! I just became self hosted, and omg, navigating through all this is like learning a different language. I’m slowly learning though. 🙂

    • Samantha
      Author
      March 14, 2017 / 5:51 pm

      I know, it’s a huge learning curve, We are slowly becoming experts!! So much to learn. Thanks for reading! 😘

  3. July 16, 2017 / 7:45 am

    This is such a fab post, I have been ignoring this ever since I started blogging but I need to start doing this every time! Thank you Samantha x

    • Samantha
      Author
      July 16, 2017 / 9:35 am

      It’s just something we don’t think of but google does!! I’ve still got a few things o need to sort out to improve mine! I’ve had to message Pipdig about my blog post titles not counting as H1 headers which is affecting my score. The MOZ tool is good if you google MOZ DA checker there are other search options on the left where you can run other searches. The SEO check is free. Glad you found it useful! Xx

      • July 17, 2017 / 6:37 am

        Thank you samantha!! You’re always so helpful! X

  4. July 23, 2017 / 10:18 am

    Oh wow, I’ve got a big job in my hands now! Thank you so much for explaining this so clearly, I’m definitely going to go through all of my blog photos to add that in now. I vaguely knew what it was before but I didn’t know how important it was so thanks again for sharing this!

    • Samantha
      Author
      July 23, 2017 / 10:27 am

      Ah thanks lovely! So pleased you found this useful. As I mentioned it’s one of those things we just don’t think of adding. Have you tried running an SEO check on your site? If not, google MOZ checker. I use it regularly to see my DA score and fix broken links etc. Every little helps!
      Thanks again 😘😘

  5. July 24, 2017 / 11:09 am

    Ooh must look in to this now!! I add tags to some pics but not all and didn’t know this was the reason to!! Great post xxx

    • Samantha
      Author
      July 24, 2017 / 12:11 pm

      Yes add them! I still have a few without tags but I’m working my through them all. Glad you found it useful!
      Xx

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