What is Alt Text?

Alt text (alternative text) is used in coding to describe what is shown in an image. It is used to describe the appearance and function of an image that visually impaired people can use to have the same experience on a web page. It also helps when people are using a browser that does not allow for images or blocks the images on your page for whatever reason.

alt text example with section of code highlighted

Image provided by Moz — The highlighted text to the right shows the alt text of the image.

Using Alt Text Properly in SEO

Here is a short list of the do’s and don’ts of alt text. Keeping these things in mind will help you to use alt text properly in your web content.

  • Describe your image specifically – help the visually impaired people and browsers that do not allow images to let users still get a feel for what is happening in your images.
  • Keep it short and concise – alt text is generally cut off around 125 characters.
  • Use your target keywords – makes sense to also add a few keywords or keyword phrases that (appropriately) fit into the description.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing – Use keywords naturally, as you always should. Don’t get caught up making sure every single phrase and syllable is in there. Just make it look natural and help people who need alt text to get a feel for what your image is about.
  • Don’t include redundant description – It is already assumed that your picture is a “picture of” or “image of” whatever your subject matter is. There is no need to take up character count using these redundant phrases.
  • Image-based button alt text – don’t forget to also describe the buttons that you have on your website when you are using images as buttons. This is an easy way to let search engines know that your page includes a “submit button,” “apply for _____,” and things of that nature.