Image Alt Text Checker

Use our image alt checker to optimize Web Accessibility and SEO.

Welcome to the world of image alt text, an often overlooked but vital aspect of web design and SEO. Whether you're a seasoned developer, an aspiring blogger, or a business owner looking to optimize your online presence, understanding and leveraging image alt text is key. In this guide, we will dive into what image alt text is, why it's crucial for SEO and web accessibility, and clear up some confusing terms. Let's get started!

What Is Image Alt Text?

Image alt text, also known as "alt tags" or "alt descriptions," refers to the text attribute tied to images on a website. This attribute allows you to provide a written description of the image which isn't typically displayed on the webpage, but can be read by search engine crawlers or screen reading software. For example, given an image element in HTML:

<img src="puppy.jpg" alt="A brown puppy playing in the grass">

Here, "A brown puppy playing in the grass" is the alt text that serves as a description for the image.

Alt Text vs Image Description

Although they may sound similar, alt text and image descriptions have different roles. As we covered, alt text succinctly describes the essential content of an image for search engines and screen readers. On the other hand, an image description provides a more detailed explanation of an image, included as caption text or contextually within the surrounding content. Image descriptions are more about enhancing the user experience for all users, while alt text specifically aids in SEO and accessibility.

Image Alt Tag vs Image Alt Text

The terms "alt tag" and "alt text" are often used interchangeably, but technically, there are differences. "Alt text" refers to the actual descriptive text assigned to an image. "Alt tag" is a bit of a misnomer, as there’s no such thing as an “alt tag” in HTML. It's shorthand slang that's developed over time among some developers and designers. In HTML, alt is an attribute, not a tag. The correct term should be "alt attribute". So, when people refer to an “alt tag”, what they mean is the alt text within the img tag:

<img src="kitten.jpg" alt="A small kitten sleeping on a blue couch">

In this code snippet, "A small kitten sleeping on a blue couch" is the alt text, not an alt tag.

Remember, while these technicalities can seem trivial, having a solid grasp of these semantics can make all the difference between an effective alt text strategy and one that falls short. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into practical examples, tips, and best practices in the subsequent sections!

Importance of Image Alt Text

The Role of Image Alt Text in SEO

When it comes to search engines like Google, image alt text plays a pivotal role. While these platforms have grown increasingly sophisticated over the years, they still largely depend on text-based data to index and categorize the vast amount of online content.

Search engines use crawlers (or bots) to explore and understand the content on your website. These crawlers read the HTML of your website, extracting important information to help the search engine understand the site’s content. When they encounter an image, they can't "see" it like a human would. However, if you've provided alt text, they can read this description and have a good understanding of what the image portrays.

Take for instance:

<img src="chocolate-cake.jpg" alt="Delicious homemade chocolate cake with dark chocolate icing">

Here, not only does the alt text clarify that the image depicts a "delicious homemade chocolate cake with dark chocolate icing", but it also contains keywords such as 'homemade', 'chocolate cake', and 'dark chocolate icing'. These assist search engines in accurately indexing the image, improving your page ranking for those particular search terms.

The Role of Image Alt Text in Accessibility

Beyond SEO optimization, the power of alt text extends to encompass accessibility. For individuals with visual impairments who rely on screen readers to browse the internet, alt text is essential.

Screen readers are software applications that convert text-based and certain coded information into speech. When a visually impaired user encounters an image on a web page, the screen reader uses the image alt text to describe the image aloud. Without alt text, the user may miss out on significant content.

Let's take an example:

<img src="team-celebrating.jpg" alt="Our team celebrating after winning the industry excellence award 2023">

In this case, the alt text "Our team celebrating after winning the industry excellence award 2023" allows screen readers to convey the context and sentiment of the photo to their user, ensuring they don't miss out on this integral part of the page's content.

As a rule of thumb, always ensure your alt text accurately represents the image and includes pertinent keywords without being overly stuffed or sounding unnatural. It should provide value to both search engine bots and human users, promoting better overall accessibility and user experience.

Case Studies Demonstrating Successful Use of Alt Text in SEO Strategy

Now let's discuss real-world examples illustrating the power of alt text.

  1. Zappos: The popular online shoe retailer Zappos is a textbook example of successful use of alt text. Pay a visit to their website, and you'll notice that every product image has alt text directly relating to the product's name and type. For instance, an image of a Nike running shoe might have alt text such as "Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 Running Shoe." Zappos' effective use of alt text allows them to rank highly in image searches, driving considerable organic traffic to their site.

  2. Airbnb: Airbnb is another company that leverages alt text effectively. On their platform, hosts upload photos of their accommodations, which are then assigned relevant alt text — like "Cozy cabin with fireplace in Vermont" or "Modern apartment with skyline view in New York City." This helps Airbnb listings show up in both Google Image searches and regular keyword searches for people looking for specific types of accommodations or experiences.

So, incorporating thoughtful, well-designed alt text into your SEO strategy can lead to noticeable improvements in your site's visibility and searchability. It's a small change that can make a big difference!

Best Practices for Writing Image Alt Text

Creating effective alt text begins with genuine consideration for the end-user's needs. So, how do you create this valuable attribute? Here are some guidelines:

  1. Be Descriptive: Aim to accurately and succinctly describe the content of the image. Ask yourself: If I couldn't see the image, what would I need to know about it?

  2. Keep it Short: Most screen readers cut off alt text at around 125 characters. Aim for brevity while maintaining descriptiveness.

  3. Avoid Keyword Stuffing: While it’s important to include relevant keywords in your alt text when applicable, avoid overdoing it. Overstuffing can lead to a poor user experience and might get flagged as spam by search engines.

  4. Don’t Use “Image Of,” or "Picture Of": Assistive technologies already identify the element as an image, so this is redundant.

  5. Use Your Keywords Naturally: If the image realistically represents the keyword you're targeting, feel free to add it into your alt text.

  6. Every Image Needs Alt Text: In order to maintain a fully-accessible site, every image should have alt text.

Tips on Incorporating Keywords Into Your Alt Text for SEO Purposes

Optimizing your alt text for SEO purposes requires balancing user accessibility with keyword relevance. Here are a few tips:

  1. Natural Inclusion: Alt text should incorporate your keyword in a manner that does not feel forced or unnatural. For instance, if your keyword is "chocolate cake recipe", and your image portrays a chocolate cake, your alt text could be "Homemade chocolate cake from our recipe".

  2. Describe the Image, Not the Keyword: Your goal is to accurately describe the image using your keyword. Do not force-fit your keywords if they don't genuinely depict the image.

  3. Utilize Long-Tail Keywords: Where possible, use long-tail keywords. They offer less competition and often match user search intent better. Using our previous example, a long-tail version might be "Easy homemade chocolate cake recipe".

Remember, writing compelling, user-friendly alt text is a best practice that will improve the accessibility and SEO of your site alike. The key is to put the user first and let the SEO naturally follow.

Examples of Good and Bad Alt Text

Let's look at some examples:

Bad Alt Text: <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="puppy"> While this isn't incorrect per se, it lacks specificity. It tells us nothing about what the puppy is doing or what it looks like.

Good Alt Text: <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="Beagle puppy playing with a blue ball"> This offers a far more detailed description of the image, giving context and helping users understand the image content.

Bad Alt Text: <img src="blog-graphic.jpg" alt="SEO strategies blog tips marketing online blogging"> This is an example of keyword stuffing which can lead to penalization by search engines.

Good Alt Text: <img src="blog-graphic.jpg" alt="Infographic highlighting SEO strategies for successful blogging"> This provides a concise and clear description that includes relevant keywords without stuffing.

How to Add Alt Text to Images on Different Platforms (Image Alt Text Examples)

Let's explore how you can add alt text to your images across various platforms


WordPress makes it incredibly easy to add alt text to your images.

  1. Begin by logging in to your WordPress account and navigating to the desired post or page.
  2. Click on 'Add Media' and upload the image file.
  3. Once uploaded, you will see the Attachment Details on the right side. There, you'll find a field labeled 'Alt Text'.
  4. Enter your descriptive alt text into this box, then click 'Insert into post'.


For Shopify users, here are the steps to add alt text:

  1. Log in to your Shopify admin panel.
  2. Navigate to 'Products', and then click on the specific product you want to modify.
  3. Scroll down to the 'Images' section, select the image, and click 'ALT'.
  4. A box will appear where you can input your alt text. Write a clear, brief description and click 'Done'.

HTML Sites

If you're working directly with HTML, adding alt text is straightforward. Here's an example:

<img src="image.jpg" alt="Description of image">

In the above code, replace "Description of image" with your actual alt text. The alt attribute provides alternative information for an image if a user can’t view it for any reason.


Markdown, popular in readme files and forums like Reddit, also supports alt text. Here's how you would add it in Markdown:

![Description of image](image.jpg)

In the given syntax, the square brackets [] hold the alt text while the parentheses () contain the image filename or URL.

React/Next.js Powered Websites

In JavaScript libraries such as React and Next.js, you can add alt text similarly to HTML. However, remember to use curly braces {} when adding dynamic alt text. Here's an example:

return ( <img src="/path/to/image.jpeg" alt={'Description of image'} /> );

Common Mistakes in Image Alt Text Usage and Their Solutions

When creating a website or a blog post, images enhance the user experience. But it's not just about adding visually appealing pictures. For accessibility and SEO purposes, using appropriate image alt text is crucial. However, mistakes in alt text usage are common, impacting both the website's search engine ranking and overall accessibility. Let's delve into these errors and discuss how to rectify them:

  1. Not including alt text at all: This common mistake involves neglecting to include alt text for every image on your site. Without it, you miss out on valuable SEO points and reduce your site's accessibility for those who use screen readers. To prevent this, always include alt text for each image. In HTML, it looks like this: <img src="my-image.jpg" alt="Description of the image">.

  2. Repeating the same alt text: Using identical alt text for multiple images may seem like a time-saver, but it confuses search engine bots and hampers your SEO efforts. To rectify this, ensure each image has unique alt text that describes its content, even for similar-looking images. This approach aids search engines in understanding and accurately ranking your images.

  3. Keyword stuffing: Overloading alt text with keywords leads to Google penalties, as it goes against their guidelines. Alt text should be descriptive and relevant, not a repository for excessive keywords. A balanced use of relevant keywords is the solution here. The rule of thumb is to write alt text that sounds natural when read aloud.

  4. Being too vague: Phrases like "an image" or "a picture" aren't helpful to anyone – human or bot. Alt text needs to precisely describe the image content so those who can't see the image still grasp its message. Therefore, it's worth spending extra time crafting specific, descriptive alt text.

  5. Ignoring image format: For images containing text (like infographics), the text within the image also needs to be included in the alt text, a step often overlooked. When the image contains text, include that in your alt text. For instance, an infographic titled 'How To Bake a Cake' with listed steps could have alt text as: <img src="bake-a-cake-infographic.jpg" alt="Infographic titled 'How To Bake a Cake' listing five steps: Step 1 - Gather ingredients, Step 2 - Mix dry ingredients, Step 3 - Add wet ingredients, Step 4 - Bake in oven, Step 5 - Allow cake to cool">.

Alt text holds more significance than initially apparent, playing an essential role in web accessibility and efficient SEO strategy. By avoiding common mistakes and implementing these solutions, you pave the way for a more accessible and effective website.

Final Thoughts

As we wind down our thorough exploration of image alt text, it's clear that its importance cannot be overstated. Alt text serves a dual purpose: it enhances your website's SEO value while striving for a more inclusive, accessible internet for all users.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is image alt text important?

Yes, image alt text is important for several reasons. Firstly, it improves web accessibility, allowing visually impaired users or those using screen readers to understand the content of an image. Secondly, it can enhance search engine optimization (SEO) because search engines use alt text to identify the content of images, thereby helping your website gain visibility. Lastly, alt text provides a description if the image fails to load, ensuring that users get the context even if they can't see the image itself.

Does image alt text help SEO?

Yes, image alt text does help SEO. Search engines use alt text as a component in determining what the content of an image is and how it relates to the rest of the on-page content. It makes your website more accessible to visually impaired users who use screen readers, which is a factor considered by search engines for ranking. In case images fail to load, alt text provides context to visitors about what the missing image was supposed to be. Thus, using appropriate and descriptive alt text can improve your site's SEO.

What is alt text vs image text?

Alt text, also known as "alternative text", is a word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document to tell website viewers the nature or contents of an image. It's used when the image cannot be displayed for some reason, and it is particularly useful for visually impaired users who rely on screen readers to describe the content of an image.

Image text, on the other hand, is text that is embedded within the image itself. It becomes part of the image and can't be read or interpreted by screen readers or search engines. Unlike alt text, if the image fails to load, the image text will not be accessible, as it is not separate from the image but is incorporated into it.

What images require alt text?

Alt text should be provided for all images that convey information or have a function on a webpage. This includes graphics, photos, diagrams, charts, maps, and other types of image-based content. The alt text is critical for users who cannot see the image, such as those using screen reader technology or with slow internet connections where the images don't load. Providing alt text improves accessibility and helps ensure everyone can understand the content, regardless of their ability to directly view the image. However, decorative images that provide no information or functionality may not require alt text.

What should image alt text say?

Image alt text should provide a clear and concise description of the image's content. It should depict the main elements or subject matter within an image, potentially including colors, actions, scenes, or other defining features if they are relevant to understanding the overall context. Alt text is particularly important for visually impaired users who use screen readers, as it provides them with an equivalent experience to people who can see the image. It's also used by search engines to understand the image content, so it could include keywords related to the surrounding text. However, its primary purpose is accessibility, not SEO.

Should image alt text be capitalized?

Image alt text does not need to follow any specific capitalization rules because it is meant for screen-reading tools used by visually impaired people, and these tools don't distinguish between uppercase and lowercase letters. However, good practice would be to write alt text in sentence case (first letter of the first word capitalized and the rest in lowercase). The primary goal should be making the alt text descriptive and helpful for understanding the image content, irrespective of capitalization.

Should I add alt text for background images?

Whether or not to use alt text for background images largely depends on the role of the image in your content. If the background image is purely decorative and doesn't convey meaningful content or functionality, it's typically acceptable to ignore the alt attribute because screen readers will bypass these images. However, if the image has crucial context or functionality, you may want to think about another way to present this information, as background images with CSS aren't accessible to screen readers. Remember, alt text is primarily used to improve your website's accessibility, allowing visually impaired users to understand the content of images through screen reading technology.

Should I add alt text for banners?

Yes, it is generally recommended to add alt text for banners on your website. Alt text provides a description of the image content which can be read by search engine crawlers and screen readers used by visually impaired individuals. This enhances your website's SEO performance and makes it more accessible to all users. However, the alt text should accurately describe the content or purpose of the banner to be most effective.

How do i know if an image has alt text?

You can determine if an image has alt text by inspecting the page's HTML code. When a webpage is loaded and you right-click on an image, select "Inspect" or "Inspect Element" from the drop-down menu (the precise wording may vary depending on the browser used). This will open the browser's developer tools and highlight the HTML code associated with the image. Look for the "alt" attribute within the "img" tag. If there is text between the quotation marks following "alt=", then that is the alt text. For example, in <img src="image.jpg" alt="This is alt text">, "This is alt text" is the alt text. If the "alt" attribute is missing or there is no text between the quotes, the image does not have alt text.

How long should image alt text ideally be?

The ideal length for image alt text is typically around 125 characters or less. This length is suggested because screen reading tools used by visually impaired individuals commonly cut off alt text at this point. Alt text should be concise yet descriptive enough to provide a meaningful experience for those who cannot see the image. It should convey the purpose of the image and include any relevant information that's contained within the image, but it should avoid redundancy or providing excessive detail.

Is there an image alt text character limit?

Yes, there is a character limit for the alternative (alt) text in HTML. While the HTML5 specification does not define an exact length limit for alt text, it is generally recommended to keep it below 125 characters. This is due to constraints of certain assistive technologies and screen readers, which may truncate or ignore alt text over this length. However, it's important to note that the key purpose of alt text is to provide a clear and succinct description of the image content for those who can't see it, so it should be as concise as necessary to convey this information effectively.

Can image title and alt text be the same?

Yes, an image title and alt text can technically be the same. However, they serve different purposes and it's usually best to make them slightly different to optimize their utility. The alt text is intended to provide a textual alternative to visual content for accessibility reasons, such as for visually impaired users or if the image cannot be loaded. Meanwhile, the title attribute can provide additional information about the image and is typically displayed as tooltip text when a user hovers over the image. In the context of SEO, unique and descriptive alt text and titles can contribute to better visibility in search engines.


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