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Images you use should have an alt text. Not just for SEO purposes, but also for accessibility. Because people using a screen reader will otherwise not know what the image is about. One thing to note, however, is that not every single image needs to have an alt text. Instead, think of alt text as a part of your content, think of the value it brings to your reader and be mindful about it. A purely decorative image doesn’t necessary need an alt text. Whereas, an image with a statistic should have an alt text that describes what the statistic is about.


Title text

The title attribute is shown as a tooltip when you hover over the element. A title attribute is not required. What’s more, most of the time it doesn’t even make sense to add it. They are only available to people who use a mouse (or other pointing devices) and the only one case where the title attribute is required for accessibility is on <iframe> and <frame> tags.

If the information conveyed by the title attribute is relevant, consider making it available somewhere else, in plain text. And if it’s not relevant, consider removing the title attribute entirely.

But what if an image doesn’t have a purpose?

If you have images in your design that are purely there for design reasons, you’re doing it wrong. Those images should be in your CSS and not in your HTML. If you really can’t do anything about these images being there, give them an empty alt attribute, like so:

<img src="image.png" alt="">

The empty alt attribute makes sure that screen readers skip over the image. If you’re using WordPress, you can leave the field for “Alt text” in the Image settings empty.

alt text and SEO

Google’s article about images has a heading “Use descriptive alt text”. This is no coincidence. Google places a relatively high value on alt text. They use it to determine what is on the image but also how it relates to the surrounding text. This is why, in our Yoast SEO content analysis, we have a feature that specifically checks that you have at least one image with an alt tag that contains your focus keyphrase.

What does the ‘keyphrase in image alt attributes’ check in Yoast SEO do?

The keyword in image alt attributes assessment in Yoast SEO includes two checks: a) if there are images in your post and b) whether these images have an alt text with the focus keyphrase. Firstly, you should always think about adding images to your posts and pages, as these make your content more descriptive and appealing. But by also adding alt text to your images, you provide users of screen readers and search engines with a textual description of what’s on that image. This improves accessibility and if you include your keywords, your chance of ranking in image search too.


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