When you’ve added an image to WordPress, have you ever wondered about that “Alt Text” field?
Even if you have some idea of what it does, it can be confusing.
And not surprisingly, the alt text and its cousin, the image title attribute, are often used incorrectly.
So, today, I’ll explain:
- the difference between Alt text and Image title
- how to add each of them in WordPress
- and the SEO best practices for each
Let’s jump in.
What Is Alt Text
Alt text (alternative text) is an image attribute that describes what the image is.
It’s main purpose is to provide text when an image cannot load, as in the screenshot below:
This is useful for people who aren’t able to view images on your website. The Alt text allows them to still have an idea of what they should be viewing.
It is also useful for SEO. Currently, search engines cannot scan an image and tell what the image is. Instead, they rely upon the Alt text.
What Is An Image Title
The image Title is a description that complements the alt text, but doesn’t need to always be used.
Unlike the alt text, image titles don’t display when images don’t load.
Instead, they display on a mouse over in a “tool tip” box, as seen in the example below:
While the alt text is describing the image, the image title is used to provide additional information about the image. Most reserve the image title for image links. That way, when a user mouses over the image and sees it’s a link, the “tool tip” (the mouse over message) and explains what the link is.
Adding Alt Text And Image Titles in WordPress
Here’s how to add the alt text and image title in WordPress.
After you’ve uploaded your image and inserted to a page or post, click on the edit image button, as seen below:
On the screen that appears, you’ll see the fields for both the Alt text and Title attribute:
Please Note: The Image Title Attribute that you enter here is different than the one that you enter in the media upload window. However, the Alternative Text field seen above IS the same field as the Alt Text field in the media upload window.
Once you’ve entered your information, click Done.
Below, I’ve included an example image using alt text and a title attribute.
First, hover over the image and you’ll see the tool tip: “See more by this artist”
Below, I have the same image, however I made it so it can’t load. This time, you’ll see the alt text: “Man framed by windows and doors”
SEO Best Practices
As mentioned, Alt text is used by search engines to determine what the image is about. It is a key factor in rankings.
There is also speculation that image titles play a role in this as well.
Because of this, many SEOs try to keyword stuff the Alt text and image title.
Don’t do this.
Instead, use the alt text to describe the image, and the title tag to describe where an image link leads. If it makes sense, you can use your keyword in these attributes. Just use discretion.
For instance, if you have an image of a house, don’t keyword stuff the alt text and say, “Local remodeling service.”
Alt text and image titles are very important to your website’s usability.
If you haven’t been using them, you should definitely start.
And you can always go back and add alt text and titles to your previous images.
It not only looks better to search engines, but it also improves your website’s usability.