Alt Text vs. Image Title

Billie Hillier

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Alt Text vs. Image Title

Understanding the web is a multifaceted process.

It requires not only understanding the literal content presented but also the ways in which this content is structured and presented.

Key aspects of this process include alternative text (Alt Text) and image titles.

These seemingly minor details play a critical role in how users and search engines interact with and understand your website’s content

Alt Text vs. Image Title

Alt Text vs. Image Title

Alt Text: An Overview

Alt text, short for alternative text, is an attribute added to an image HTML tag. It provides a textual alternative to an image. It’s primarily designed to describe images to users who are unable to see them. This includes users who use screen readers due to visual impairments and scenarios where the image fails to load on a webpage.

A typical HTML tag for an image with alt text looks like this:

<img src="image.jpg" alt="A description of the image">

The alt text serves a dual purpose. First, it improves website accessibility by offering a description of embodiments to visually impaired users. Second, it provides additional context to search engines, helping them understand the image content, which can improve your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Read our article on Website Images: Best Practices, Tips, Warnings, and Resources.

Image Title: An Overview

On the other hand, the image title attribute is an optional attribute that can be added to the image HTML tag. It’s intended to provide supplementary information or additional commentary about the image.

A typical HTML tag for an image with a title looks like this:

<img src="image.jpg" title="Additional information about the image">

The title attribute is revealed as a tooltip when a user hovers over an image with a mouse cursor. It can add to the user experience by providing extra information, but its impact on SEO is relatively minor compared to alt text.

Differences Between Alt Text and Image Title

  1. Purpose: Alt text is designed to provide a textual description of an image for visually impaired users and for scenarios where the image doesn’t load. In contrast, the image title is intended to provide additional information or commentary when a user hovers over an image.
  2. SEO Impact: Alt text has a significant impact on SEO. It provides search engines with context about an image, helping them index it properly. Image titles, however, have minimal SEO impact.
  3. Accessibility: Alt text is crucial for web accessibility. It allows screen readers to describe images to visually impaired users. Image titles, while offering additional information, are not typically read by screen readers and therefore do not enhance accessibility in the same way.

Alt Text vs. Image Title Best Practices

Alt Text

  1. Be Descriptive: The alt text should accurately describe the content of the image. Avoid vague descriptions like “image” or “photo.” Instead, use concise, informative descriptions.
  2. Consider the Context: The alt text should align with the webpage’s content. Make sure it fits with the overall content and purpose of the page.
  3. Avoid Keyword Stuffing: While alt text does play a role in SEO, it’s essential not to overuse keywords. This can lead to a poor user experience and may be flagged by search engines as spam.

Image Title

  1. Provide Supplementary Information: Image titles are great for adding extra commentary or information that would not fit naturally in the alt text.
  2. Use Sparingly: Not every image needs a title. Use them when they genuinely add value to the user’s experience.
  3. Don’t Repeat Alt Text: Avoid copying and pasting the same content from your alt text into your image title. The two should provide different types of information.

Alt Text vs. Image Title Tips and Warnings

  • Always include alt text with your images. It’s a crucial aspect of web accessibility and can boost your site’s SEO.
  • Keep in mind that while image titles can enhance the user experience, they are not a substitute for alt text.
  • Be careful not to overstuff alt text with keywords. Search engines may consider this spam.
  • Image titles are not typically accessed by screen readers. So, vital information should always be included in the alt text, not the image title.

Alt text and image titles serve different purposes and should be used thoughtfully and appropriately.

By following these guidelines, you can enhance the accessibility of your website, improve your SEO, and provide a richer experience for all users.

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