As a business owner, it’s crucial to ensure that your multimedia is accessible to all users, including those with visual impairments. One key accessibility component often overlooked is including alternative or “alt text” for images.
What Is Alternative Text
Alternative text, commonly known as alt text, is a descriptive text that provides a concise and clear explanation of an image for people who cannot see it. This description gives the screen reader users a clear understanding of the image’s content and purpose on the webpage. In most browsers, the ALT text is also displayed when an image is broken or disabled.
Examples of Image Alt Text
Why Is Alternative Text So Important
Accessibility: Alt text ensures that individuals with visual impairments can access and understand images through screen readers.
SEO: Providing descriptive alt text can improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), making it easier for search engines to understand your content.
User experience: If an image fails to load, the alt text will be displayed, helping users understand the image context without seeing it. User experience is also a primary ranking factor of SEO, doubling down on the importance of this point.
Legal compliance: Including alt text is necessary to comply with accessibility guidelines and legislation, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What Does Missing Alt Text Mean?
Missing alt text refers to the absence of alternative text (alt text) for an image on a website. Alt text ensures search engines, assistive technologies can understand your content, if the images fail to load, and users who might not be able to see the images on the page.
What Happens If Alt Text Is Missing
- Accessibility issues: Visually impaired users who rely on screen readers will miss the information conveyed by that image. It creates a less inclusive browsing experience.
- SEO impact: Search engines like Google use alt text to understand the content and context of images. Missing alt text may result in lower rankings for your website in search results.
Usability problems: If an image fails to load due to a slow connection or a broken link, the empty alt attribute won’t provide any helpful information about the picture. Users might need proper context to understand the content.
How to Find Missing Image Alt Text
Screaming Frog is a popular SEO tool that you can use to find missing image alt text on your website. To get started, download and install the Screaming Frog SEO spider software. Then, follow these steps:
1) Input your website URL and start the crawl.
2) Once the crawl is finished, click the “Images” tab.
3) Filter the results by clicking the filter dropdown and selecting “Missing Alt Text.”
You will now see a list of images without alternative text, along with their URLs. You can easily export this data to a CSV file for further analysis and action.
Semrush, another powerful SEO tool, also allows you to find images lacking alt text. To utilize Semrush for this purpose, follow these steps:
1) Create an account or log in to Semrush.
2) Navigate to the Site Audit section.
3) Add your URL, configure settings as necessary, and run the audit.
4) Once the audit is completed, go to the “Issues” tab.
5) Look for the “images don’t have alt attributes” issue in the list.
Click on the issue, and Semrush will display a list of images without alt text and their respective URLs. This information can be exported for further examination and modifications.
How to Fix Missing Image Alternative Text
It’s important to make your website accessible and inclusive for all visitors. By using the list of images that require alt text, you can take the first step towards achieving this. Start by:
1) Log into your WordPress website and click on “Media”.
2) Take your list of images missing alt text and start searching your library for them using their file name or location.
3) Review the image and provide an accurate description of what’s in it. Avoid keyword stuffing and be descriptive.
4) Repeat until all of the images in your media library have alternative text.
By following these steps and adding alternative text to all your images, you’ll significantly improve the accessibility of your content for users relying on assistive technologies and enhance your website’s search engine optimization.
Conclusion: How to Handle Missing Image Alt Text
To address the issue of missing image alternative text, consider the following:
- Review your website or application carefully: Go through each and every image and ensure they have appropriate alternative text provided. This will improve not only web accessibility but also user experience for those who rely on screen readers or have visual impairments.
- Use empty alternative text when necessary: If an image is purely decorative and does not contribute to the content, use an empty alternative text attribute (e.g., alt=” “). This allows screen readers to ignore the image, keeping the focus on the main content.
- Consider the content and context: When providing alternative text, think about the information the image conveys and how it relates to the surrounding content. Your alt text should be concise and adequately describe the image’s purpose.
- Regularly monitor and update your website: As your website or application evolves, new images may be added, or existing ones may change. Keep track of these updates to ensure alternative text remains accurate and relevant to the user experience.
By diligently addressing missing image alt text on your website or application, you help those with visual impairments and create a more accessible and enjoyable experience for all users.
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