Posted on 28 Apr '23

5 Tips to Improve Your Image Alt-Text

Good image alt-text can go a long way to improving the accessibility of your content – and driving traffic to your website! We asked our Client Campaigns Manager, Sarah Hancock, to explain why alt-text matters and how to make yours the best it can be.

Alt-text (the small line of text sits behind an image you have on your page) is a fundamental feature of any successful web content.

You may think of image alt-text as just those couple of words that stand in for an image when it fails to load. But it’s much more than that!

Its primary function is to help to make your pages accessible to everyone. Those who use screen readers or other assistive technology can access all the content on the page, providing them with a better user experience. This is beneficial to you as it can increase the chance of higher engagement in your campaign, leading to more conversions.

Here are five tips to help you to improve your alt-text.

#1 Be Specific

If the image fails to load, or a user is using assistive technology, your content should still be accessible. Use the subject and context of the image to help guide you when describing it. A good way to help you write the alt-text is to think of how you’d describe the image to someone else.

Avoid using ‘image of’ or ‘picture of’ in your description – just jump right into describing it. Google and screen-readers can identify it’s an image using the HTML source code.

#2 Add Some Context…

Not every image you use will necessarily be associated with your institution (if you’ve opted to use a stock image, for example). You can add some context to the image using the content of the page. For instance, if you are using an image of students in a classroom, you could add a reference to your institution in the alt-text.

#3 …But Keep It Brief

You don’t want to have a long sentence as the alt-text. A good thing to remember is that screen-reading tools typically stop reading alt-text after 125 characters. Having alt-text that’s longer than this may lead screen readers to cut off abruptly mid-description, which will lead to a less-than-optimal experience for the user!

#4 Watch Those Keywords

It’s good practice to incorporate some keywords into the alt-text – but keep it to 1-2 words. If you stuff your alt-text with keywords, it can negatively impact your page ranking. Search engines don’t like keyword stuffing.

On another note, if you have a series of images within your post, they don’t all need to contain that keyword. Find the image that best represents your topic and assign it your keyword.

#5 Check your alt-text actually matches your image

This might seem obvious, but it is worth noting that if you do make any updates to the content of your webpage and apply new images the old alt-text may be lingering somewhere. Make sure any new images have appropriately paired alt-text for your audience so your content is synchronized.

If you would like help with extending the reach of your content and campaigns to our global FindAMasters and FindAPhD audience, please get in touch with your Account Manager, email [email protected] or call +44 (0)114 268 4940.

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