What Are Image Alt Tags And Why Are They Important In SEO

What Are Image Alt Tags And Why Are They Important In SEO featured image
13 Feb 2024
Nirlep Patel

In today’s digital landscape, where websites are competing fiercely for visibility and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), every aspect of web design and development plays a crucial role in determining a website’s success. 

One often-overlooked aspect that holds significant importance in both web accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO) is image alt tags. 

In this blog post, we will explore the definition of image alt tags, their importance in SEO and how they contribute to enhancing the overall user experience. 

Definition of Image Alt Tags:

Image alt tags, also known as alt attributes or alt text, are HTML attributes applied to image tags within a webpage’s code. Their primary purpose is to provide a textual description of an image’s content for users who may not be able to view the image due to technical limitations or visual impairments. 

Alt tags serve as alternative information that can be displayed in place of an image or read aloud by screen readers, making websites more accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.

How do Alt Tags Differ from Image Titles and Descriptions?


While alt tags describe the content of an image succinctly and accurately, image titles and descriptions provide additional context and details about the image. 

Image titles are typically visible to users when they hover over an image, while descriptions offer a more comprehensive explanation of the image’s purpose or significance. 

Alt tags, on the other hand, are specifically designed to cater to users who rely on screen readers or encounter issues with image loading, emphasising functionality over visual aesthetics.

Accessibility for Users with Disabilities:

Image alt tags play a critical role in ensuring web accessibility for users with visual impairments. 

Screen readers, assistive technologies used by individuals with disabilities, rely on alt tags to interpret and convey information about images to users. 

By providing descriptive alt tags, web developers can enable screen readers to accurately describe images, allowing visually impaired users to understand the content and context of web pages effectively.

SEO-Friendly Descriptions:

In addition to enhancing accessibility, alt tags also play a crucial role in SEO by providing search engines with valuable information about the content of images. 

Search engine algorithms rely on alt tags to understand the relevance and context of images in relation to the surrounding text. 

By using descriptive and relevant alt tags, website owners can optimise their images for search engine indexing, ultimately improving their chances of ranking higher in image search results.

Improved Image Search Ranking:

Well-optimised alt tags can significantly contribute to higher rankings in image search results. Search engines use alt tags to index and categorise images based on their content and relevance to search queries. 

Websites that utilise descriptive alt tags are more likely to appear in relevant image search results, increasing their visibility and driving organic traffic to their pages.

Compensating for Image Loading Issues:


Alt tags serve as a fallback option for providing information about images in situations where they fail to load properly. Whether due to slow internet connections or technical errors, images may occasionally fail to display on a webpage. 

In such cases, alt tags ensure that users still receive meaningful information about the missing images, preventing a negative impact on the user experience.

Keyword Relevance:

While alt tags offer an opportunity to incorporate relevant keywords, it’s essential to avoid keyword stuffing, as this can have a detrimental effect on SEO. 

Instead, businesses should focus on creating alt tags that accurately describe the content of the image while naturally incorporating keywords when appropriate. 

Keyword-rich alt tags can enhance the overall SEO performance of a webpage, but they should always prioritise relevance and user experience.

Compliance with Web Standards:

Alt tags contribute to adherence to web accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which aim to make online content more accessible to all users. 

By ensuring that images have descriptive alt tags, website owners demonstrate their dedication to inclusivity and compliance with industry standards, which can positively impact their SEO efforts.

Enhanced User Experience:

Well-crafted alt tags not only improve accessibility and SEO but also enhance the overall user experience for all visitors. 

By providing additional context and information about images, alt tags help users understand the purpose and relevance of visual content, making websites more engaging and informative.

Social Media Sharing and Integration:

Alt tags play a crucial role in influencing the appearance and accessibility of images when shared on social media platforms. 

When users share web pages on social media, alt tags are often used as the default description for images, making them essential for maximising the visibility and impact of shared content. Businesses should ensure that alt tags are optimised for social media sharing to maintain consistency and relevance across different platforms.

Best Practices for Alt Tag Optimization:

When creating alt tags, businesses should follow best practices to ensure they are effective and SEO-friendly. Some key considerations include:

  • Keep alt tags concise and descriptive, providing enough information to convey the image’s content accurately.


  • Use relevant keywords naturally within alt tags, but avoid overstuffing or keyword spamming.
  • Prioritise accessibility by focusing on creating alt tags that cater to users with disabilities.
  • Test alt tags using screen readers and accessibility tools to ensure they provide meaningful descriptions of images.
  • Regularly review and update alt tags to reflect changes in content or website structure.

By following these best practices, businesses can optimise their alt tags to improve accessibility and SEO. 

This will ultimately enhance the overall performance and effectiveness of their websites. 

In summary, image alt tags play a crucial role in web development and SEO. They serve as valuable tools for enhancing accessibility, boosting search engine rankings, and enriching the user experience. 

By recognizing the significance of alt tags and implementing optimization best practices, businesses can ensure that their websites are inclusive and easily discoverable. 

This will ultimately lead to success in the competitive online world. If you wish to learn more about this get in touch with an International SEO services provider.


Q1. Can you explain the difference between alt tags and image titles?

Alt tags (alternative text) and image titles have distinct roles. Alt tags describe an image’s content for users who cannot view it, like those using screen readers or experiencing image loading problems. On the other hand, image titles appear when users hover over an image and usually offer extra context or details. Alt tags prioritise functionality and accessibility, while image titles provide supplementary information for users who can see the image.

Q2. Are alt tags necessary for all images on a website?

Although it is strongly advised to use alt tags for all images on a website, they may not be needed for purely decorative images that don’t provide important information. However, for images that have a functional or informational role, like product photos or infographics, alt tags are essential to ensure accessibility and SEO optimization.

Q3. Are there SEO implications for using identical alt tags across multiple images?

Using the same alt tags for multiple images can have SEO consequences. Search engines use alt tags to grasp the content and meaning of images, so if you use identical alt tags for different images, it might confuse search engine algorithms and lead to lower rankings. To make the most of SEO advantages and enhance user experience, it’s crucial to create unique and descriptive alt tags for each image.

Q4. Can businesses track the performance of alt tags through analytics?

Businesses can evaluate the effectiveness of their alt tags by analysing metrics such as image impressions, clicks, and conversions. If needed, they can make adjustments to improve SEO performance.

Q5. Are there any limitations or restrictions when it comes to alt tag optimization?

There are a few limitations and restrictions to consider when optimising alt tags. 

    • Firstly, alt tags should be concise and descriptive, providing enough information to convey the image’s content accurately without being overly long or verbose.
    • Additionally, alt tags should prioritise accessibility and user experience over keyword optimization, so businesses should avoid keyword stuffing or using irrelevant keywords in alt tags. 
    • Finally, alt tags may not be effective for images that are purely decorative or serve no functional purpose, so businesses should use discretion when determining which images require alt tags.