Images can make your web page more visually appealing, and add interest and information that text alone can’t. Sometimes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” (Don’t forget to size and optimize your images for the web, using our Tutorial: Preparing Images for the Web.)
But, you can get even more benefits from images on your web pages by adding Alternative Text.
Adding alternative text, or alt text, to your images is an easy way to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your web page. It can also make your page more accessible to visually impaired visitors.
When most people look at this degree page, they see a photograph, text, and a button:
When search engines visit or crawl your pages, they only see code and text:
Search engines use two clues to understand images, and you control both image file and alt text
You can review best practices for naming your files in our blog post Improve your file names and reap rewards.
You can add alt text to images in Web Manager through the image properties tool.
By using relevant keywords in your alt text and image file names, you help search engines understand your content and make your page more findable. This is true both for on-site search and on the World Wide Web.
People with vision problems often use screen readers to tell them what is on your web page. Screen readers can tell if an image exists, but they can’t get any value from the image unless you add alt text to let them know what it’s about. If the image is purely decorative, it’s OK to leave the alt text blank.
For more information on how to use alternative text for accessibility, see Accessibility: How to Use Alt Text Properly.