An alt tag is an attribute of an image, that is often alternatively referred to as as alt text.
The alt tag is used on images to describe what is depicted within the image. For example, if you have an image of a cat with brown fur, your alt text might simply be “brown cat”.
They are also used to describe the function of some image. So if you had an image that’s used as a button to buy a blue shirt, the alt text could be “button to buy blue shirt”.
The benefits of using alt tags are two-fold.
Initially, alt tags were used by screen readers that the blind and visually impaired use. Screen readers read out what is on the page, and they use the alt tags to describe what is in the image.
Secondly, alt tags can help tell the search engine what the image depicts, and therefore helps build a picture of what that web page is about, and how to rank it.
To add an alt tag to an image, you need to use code similar to the example below, where src is the image location, and alt is the alt text.
If you are using a content management system, you often get to set the alt tag on an image, when you first upload an image.
Need help explaining this to your boss, or web developer?
Use our concise explanation below to explain this issue via email:
Our websites missing some alt tags on our images. Alt tags are a text description which labels each images. You can’t see alt tags on the website, but they are hidden away in the code.
The first benefit of alt tags is that they help blind people understand what’s on the page.There is software which “reads” a website to users, and this type of software uses the alt tags on each image to describe to the person what the image is depicting.
The second benefit, is that alt tags tell Google and other search engines what the image is showing. This can help rank our pages better, which of course will get our website more traffic.
I have a list of all pages that have images without alt tags, and am going to go through these page and accurately but concisely describe what each image is depicting. This will have no visual effect on our website, but will help us get more visitors.