AI alt text generation for RentCafe websites [New feature!]

Apr 19, 2023

AI alt text generation example with a picture of a kitchen

Great news for RentCafe websites on the RentCaffeine platform! We’ve added an AI alt text generator that makes uploading new photos faster and easier.

This tool creates alternative text — more commonly known as alt text — automatically for you. Alt text is copy that describes images using words, making your website more accessible to people who have a hard time viewing or understanding pictures.

That’s right, as promised by countless articles, artificial intelligence is here to help you! (As a bonus, we promise that this version of AI has no aspiration to take over the world.)

Keep reading to learn what it is, why it’s important and how to use it. Then check out some client feedback about our new AI tool for RentCafe websites.

AI tool for alt text

Our AI tool for alt text automatically writes image descriptions for you, so you don’t have to. It will create high-quality image descriptions of new photos you add to your media library. It will also generate descriptions for existing photos that are missing alt text, helping you quickly fill accessibility gaps.

Why it’s important

Alt text is alternative text that that describes the appearance or function of an image online. It’s important to people and search engines alike.

Alt text is read aloud by screen readers used by visually impaired users. If an image fails to load on your site for any reason, the alt text will be displayed so people know what’s supposed to be there. Alt text is also crawled and indexed by search engines to better understand the content of your page.

Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked or skipped in the process of uploading photos. Entering alt text can be time consuming when you’re working with more than a handful of images. Manually entering alt text also adds potential for typos and other human errors. Mislabeled images are just as bad as unlabeled images.

Our AI alt text generator fixes this, making the process of adding alt text to your images easy and instant.

“I’m proud that RentCafe continues to build accessible websites. We want to ensure our websites are inclusive, and the AI alt text generator will help our clients with that,” said Nomo Nagaoka, project manager for RentCafe.

“Although alt text is simple to manually set up, it is often missed — either it gets forgotten or people run out of time. But now we’ve solved for this. Any time an image is uploaded, through our AI solution, we’re generating recommended alt text. It’s easy to review and edit as necessary. No images will be without alt text moving forward, and our clients will spend less time trying to manually write out descriptions of the images.”

(It’s only fair to share that when Nomo first previewed this technology to our audience at OutREACH Live in Palm Springs, the attendees actually started applauding mid-presentation.)

How to use it

As stated earlier, you can add auto-generated alt text to images that you upload to your media library, as well as existing images that are missing alt text. The automated alt text generator was enabled for all clients in the March release, so log in and check it out if you haven’t made website updates lately.  

You can review and accept AI-generated alt text from the media library, Site Editor or your SEO Dashboard. When alt text has been auto-generated, a message appears below the image alt textfield that says, “This is auto-generated alt text.”

It’s a best practice to quickly assess the auto-generated text to make sure it works for the image being described. Review your alt text and either confirm or modify it before saving your changes. If you save changes, the modified alt text gets saved and the “This is auto-generated alt text” message will be removed.

Does it help with SEO?

Kind of. By default, having some alt text is better than having none at all. Search engines like it when images are labeled. It helps with accessibility and creates a better user experience all around.

But, if you want alt text that is truly search engine optimized, that should be done by a professional.

An SEO expert will be able to create alt text using keywords and keyphrases that are specific to you, targeting your niche and audience. This goes far beyond basic alt text generation and is a service provided by our REACH SEO team. See what our experts do to keep your sites optimized.

So while the AI alt text tool might describe a photo of your pool as “swimming pool with lounge chairs at apartment complex,” an SEO specialist is more likely to write something like “Family-friendly swimming pool at ABC Property offering luxury rentals in XYZ neighborhood.”

What clients are saying

Not all new features win fans right away, but this one made an immediate impact:

Jessica L. Foster, marketing operations manager at Buckingham

The AI alt text feature has been a game changer for us to ensure proper alt text is being used for each image on our websites. Within a few minutes, I added 33 images to a new website knowing the alt text would be done for me. It took longer for the image to load than it did to generate alt text copy!”

Jessica Foster, Marketing Operations Manager
Buckingham

Arun Das of Pangea Properties

We’ve been using the AI alt text generator for a bit and absolutely love it. It’s such a time saver! We’ve uploaded a few hundred pictures to RentCafe over the past several weeks, and I’ve only felt the need to change the auto-generated text once.”

Arun Das, Head of Marketing & Technology
Pangea Properties

Get started today

We hope this article encourages you to give out new AI alt text generator a try. Happy uploading!

Read next: See 5 award-winning RentCafe websites

Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives is the manager of marketing content at Yardi. She leads content initiatives for REACH by RentCafe. Writing may be her first love, but data is a close second. Geneva is based in Santa Barbara, California.

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