ALT Text for Images: Everything You Need to Know in 2022

How to Alt Tag your images on line so that the visually impaired can read them

Do you SEO your images for Google and Social Media?

As a business owner, you’re missing an opportunity if you’re not optimising your images.

Google is able to index images on your website if you have the ALT tags optimised for your target keyword. From Google’s perspective, it’s a huge opportunity to provide value to its users. And for you, it is a huge opportunity to get ranked higher on search engines.

How can you help the images on your website (I’m talking products or services, including blog posts) rank on Google with the help of ALT text?  I’m going to answer this and many other questions in this blog.  It’s not a long read and you can save this post for later or reference, but by the end of the read you’ll know everything you need to get your images ranked on Google.

Let’s crack on…

What the hell is an Alt Tag for Image Optimisation?

Google crawlers cannot index your images if you don’t have them optimised for search engines. The only way to do that is by adding the ALT tag (often known as Alt Text) to the image. The text is added to the ALT tags and also to ALT descriptions. The text you add to the ALT tag is what shows up when the image fails to load.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) say that globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a near or distance vision impairment. Google and other search engines want their searches to include a way for the visually impaired to access their content and if a business is ensuring their images are optimised for any reader they will thank you for it.

So, while you can optimise your images to rank higher on search engines, you’ll also be able to provide a better user experience for the visitors which now can find you in many different ways.

One of them being images on SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

Importance of ALT Text in your business website

The most significant benefit of having ALT text on your images is accessibility.

As we mentioned earlier, it helps provide a better user experience to visually impaired online users.

Alt Text for images - how to guide by Pickled Ginger Marketing

That aside, it also helps people who have difficulty visually identifying the image to better understand it. You want every visitor to appreciate your content – we all do.

It is also important to understand its usefulness in SEO. Does it really affect your online rankings?

It’s true that search engines have become quite equipped to crawl images. But, they still lack the cognitive ability to understand what the images are all about. ALT text helps them understand the images better, so let’s manipulate what Google sees.

Since 59% of the online users consider visual information more important than text, you could be missing out on a whole load of opportunities if you aren’t’ already optimizing your images for SEO.

The numbers grow to 85% when you niche the market down to just people shopping online for clothing and furniture.

Optimizing ALT Text for Different Online Platforms

So, how can you optimize your images using ALT text? In this section, we’ll help you understand exactly how you can do that for images on different online platforms.

social media branding with pickled ginger marketing in Marlow and London

1.   Website

To add ALT text to the images on your website, all you need to do is open the web page or the blog post to make changes to it.

On clicking the image on the page, you will get an image optimization or rich text module. Here’s where you can create and change the ALT text. The ALT text is then automatically added to the HTML source code of your website.

The image used above is obviously from Pickled Ginger’s website, and we use WordPress.

The most important part of writing the ALT text is to be descriptive and specific. The image’s context must be well-described by the text. It should also have the target keyword for that particular page. Best advice, just try and explain your image to someone who is visually impaired – simple as that, an informative sentence if you like.

2.   Instagram

Yes, you can add ALT text to photos you post on Instagram as well. The idea behind allowing users to do that is to make the platform more accessible.

The screen readers will be able to read the custom ALT text and help visually impaired users.

You can add ALT text on Instagram by first uploading the picture to the platform. You can then edit the picture by adding filters.

Next, in the advanced settings on the bottom of the screen, you will have the option to add ALT text. Type the ALT text and you will be done.

3.   LinkedIn

LinkedIn also allows users to add alternative text to photos on its platform. To do that, you must be logged in to LinkedIn through your desktop computer or a laptop. ALT text is not available on the app as of yet.

Once you are in, you can start off by posting any image you want. Choose the image option on the ‘Start a Post’ section. Select the image you want to upload. Once the image uploads, you will have the ‘Add description’ option available on the image.

Then you can save the alternative text and go on to post it on LinkedIn.

4.   Twitter

Twitter has also tried to gear its platform to serve the visually impaired. It allows users to compose a description of the images they tweet on the platform.

Now you can upload an image direct to your phone and on that image at the bottom right it has a little black circle that says “ALT” – click it and add your text.

If that doesn’t work on your phone, you can go to twitter.com and then go to Settings and Privacy > find Accessibility and turn the ‘Compose Image Descriptions’ setting on.

5.   Facebook

Adding ALT text on Facebook is quite simple. When you select a picture to upload, you will be able to edit the photo as well.

Keep in mind that this description will only be read if someone is using a screen reader to access Facebook.

To see and edit alt text for a photo before you post it:

Click Photo/Video at the top of your News Feed > Select the photo you want to add > Hover over the photo and click edit Edit.

The automatically generated text will be shown on the left side of your photo > Override generated alt text to edit it > click Save in the bottom left.

If you have already POSTED and then want to change the Alt Text:

Click the photo to open it > press MORE  in the top right and select Change Alt Text > Click Override generated alt text or change the alt text in the text box.

Don’t forget to SAVE.

6.   Pinterest

Not going to lie, this is tricky.  Platform is a search engine of its own and therefore has complicated coding and needs to ensure that its own image pins don’t muck up your own website image’s Alt Text for Google searches.  It depends if you have a Squarespace website or a WordPress.   If you click on the hyperlinks on those website platform words, it will take you to some external help.

As a reminder, Alt Text is added to an image HTML coding to describe the image should and it’s also used by Google for SEO purposes.  Pin Text is also added to an image HTML coding to provide a keyword rich description that Pinterest pulls when people pin your image.  A little confusing, we get that.

Maybe contact us for more help on this directly!

Wrapping Up

Alternative text is something that makes the Internet inclusive and considerate. It’s like killing two birds with one stone (not that we advocate killing birds….). On one hand, you get to rank higher on search engines, and on the other you provide a great user experience to your visually impaired visitors. We hope this piece of content brought great value to you. Have questions?  Follow us on InstagramFacebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.