7 Tips to Fix Missing Alt Text 

If you have missing alt text there are several tools and tips you can use to fix this issue to improve your SEO rank and site accessibility.

Charmaine Griffin

Copywriter

Person sitting on the floor with a laptop in front of an oversized blog post image holding a picture.

When it comes to images on your website, how often do you think about missing alternative (alt) text? Maybe you skip over it because it doesn’t feel like a top priority, or it’s something you can do later. 

Here’s the truth – alt text is just as necessary as other written information on your site. Just like your website brings information to life, so does alt text. It describes an image in words just in case the image is unavailable or inaccessible to the reader. 

If you’ve been bypassing alt text, it’s time to prioritize it. We’ll explore why alt text is important, the implications and risks, and offer some helpful fixes.  

All About Alt Text

Alt text is a short description of an image. It’s helpful for visually impaired people who use screen readers to read the description of the image on a site. It’s also displayed when an image fails to load or if readers adjust their browser settings to turn off images. 

Unlike an image caption, which always appears as a visible description, alt text is hidden and added to the HTML code. Content management systems (CMSs) like WordPress have sections that allow you to add alt text for the images you include on your site. 

Alt text is typically less than 140 characters and describes an image in relation to the page. When you’re adding alt text, you want to consider what’s important about the image, such as colors, settings, objects, and people. This information enhances the overall understanding of the image.

Consequences of Missing Alt Text 

When alt text is missing, it makes it difficult for visually impaired people to understand what’s on your site. This is a major barrier to user experience. Missing alt text also impacts your site’s SEO. Not only can this affect how your website shows up in search results, but it can also negatively impact your overall online presence.

Accessible vs. Restrictive 

When your site offers an equitable experience for everyone, visitors will want to come back. When your image is missing an alt text, you create an online environment that excludes people. ​It doesn’t just make a website less accessible – it also takes away a complete and meaningful online experience for individuals with visual impairments. You risk violating accessibility laws under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which could lead to fines and other consequences. 

SEO and Ranking Risk   

Aside from decreasing user accessibility, missing alt text impacts how search engines like Google understand the content on your site. When you ignore or forget about alt text, you might face indexing issues, like the site not appearing in search engines.  This also means losing out on traffic you could’ve gained from ranking in Google images and other image searches.  

Fixing Missing Alt Text 

You can take a few approaches to fix missing alt text, like trying different tools and methods. Online tools can check how accessible a website is, and SEO tools can look at how well alt text shows up in searches. You can use these tools to scan your web pages and make detailed reports. Additionally, methods like site auditing and regularly updating alt text can keep you ahead of the curve to prevent future issues down the line.  

  1. Conduct an Audit – A good place to start is to conduct an audit of your website’s images. Identify images that don’t have alt text and prioritize addressing high-impact pages. Clariti makes it easy with a built-in filter tool that allows you to filter for “alt text missing count,” which pulls a list of content missing alt text. Check out our guide on filtering blog posts.  
  1.  Implement Alt Text Strategically – Writing alt text should go beyond just the description; it should contextualize the image. For example, writing “There’s a table with a plant” is not as descriptive or helpful as “Brown table with a large green plant on top. The plant is in a white pot. There is also a black candle on the table.” The more descriptive and concise, the better. (If you’re using an image as a link, be sure to describe the destination of the link.)
  1. Try AI Automation Tools – AI automation tools, like Ahrefs AIt Text Generator, can help streamline the process of generating alt text based on image content. Although these tools aren’t a complete replacement for writing your own descriptions, they get the job done quickly. Be sure to adjust the wording of the text if needed. 
  1. Prioritize High-Impact Pages – Some pages on your website are more important than others. Prioritize fixing or writing new alt text for images on your high-impact pages, such as landing pages or blogs. With this targeted approach, updating or adding alt text on your site is less overwhelming. 
  1. Educate Content Creators – If you have a team, be sure to educate content creators about the importance of alt text. Incorporate alt text guidelines into your content creation workflow, emphasizing the role it plays in both accessibility and SEO. This approach fosters a culture of inclusivity within your digital content creation team. You can also encourage them to use a website crawler or an SEO tool like SEMrush or Screaming Frog.
  1. Regularly Update Alt Text – Even if you’ve already written alt text for all of the images on your site, updates are important. Regularly review and update alt text as your website evolves, ensuring it’s still in alignment with the content and context of the images. Consider this an ongoing practice contributing to sustained accessibility and SEO.  Pro Tip: We recommend manually inspecting the HTML code on your site, searching for “<alt=” ”>”. 
  1. Accessibility evaluation tools – Use an accessibility evaluation tool like WAVE to scan pages and make sure they are user-friendly for people with different abilities, including those with visual impairments or other challenges. Accessibility evaluation tools can flag/identify issues and even provide solutions.

Alt text is not about checking a box, it’s about creating an accessible space for everyone visiting your website. Addressing missing alt text involves taking several steps throughout the life of your website for continued accessibility. Not only are you making it easier for people who are visually impaired, but you’re also giving users other ways to engage with the images on your site. 

Try some of the tips we suggested and think about other ways you can make your site feel more inclusive. Whether it’s using a tool or manually auditing, it’s all about prioritizing accessibility and optimizing the online experience for your visitors. So go ahead and fix those missing alt texts – it benefits everyone. 

Avatar for Charmaine Griffin

About the Author

Charmaine, a full-time copywriter and blogger from Los Angeles, California, started her writing career in 2015 while teaching in South Korea. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, Flaunt Magazine, LA Travel Magazine and more. She's also a proud pet parent to two adorable cats, and on weekends she's either at a new coffee shop or planning her next trip abroad.

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