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


Before I go any further let me just announce that I am definitely no expert on the subject of Alt text but I have learned with the help of my younger brother (shout out coming up…)! He is European head of e-commerce for a rather large, well-known global company and has a masters degree in marketing science so of course I turned to him to clarify things for me!

When you first start out there are so many little niggles with blogging 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 what I was doing until recently, okay I was editing the meta description with the snippet editor if I felt it necessary as that was pretty much self-explanatory.

Of course there is 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. Pretty sure it does.

Are you sitting comfortably!? Okay, let’s talk about Alt tag or “alt text” What on earth is it, and why you should be using it. 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 attribute is the text that displays to describe the image in the image container (the empty box where the image should be) when the image does not load, or, essentially, a 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 low vision.

Also a point to mention is that unless you are 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 a photo/s you will notice some boxes under the attachment Details.  See the photo below:

How do I use It?

You should write something descriptive about your photo, It doesn’t have to be elaborate, 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’ The idea is that google will then know what the image is and can include it 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 ou would write alt=”” this gives a null attribute and the ‘Screen Reader’ will then know to ignore the image has it has no real relevance to the written content.

Amazingly, This is something I wasn’t doing until a few months back, I’ve had to go through all my images and add the alt tag retrospectively which is a little tedious. Oops! If you need to do the same then simply edit your post, click on the photo 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 Word Press 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.

Hope you can take something from this going forward and hopefully improve how your site is indexed in future. Any questions please feel free to ask and I’ll see if I can help!


Follow:
Share:

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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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

Share your thoughts...