What is alt text in WordPress? How to add image descriptions on your web page to improve accessibility and website ranking

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Adding alt text to your WordPress site not only makes it more SEO-friendly, but allows for site visitors with screen readers to get descriptions of your page’s images. undrey/Getty Images
  • Alt text in WordPress is a description you can add to images in web pages to assist blind and visually impaired people using a screen reader.
  • You can add alt text to your pictures when you upload them in WordPress through the alt text field in the Attachment Details pane of the media page.
  • You can also edit alt text when you insert an image in a WordPress post.
  • Alt text in WordPress works best when you follow best practices, including describing your content accurately and using no more than 100 characters.
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Alt text is a short text description of an image published to the internet that can be read aloud by accessibility programs for the blind and visually impaired, including screen readers.

But there’s another reason to include alt text: Google and other search engines use alt text to better understand your photos’ content, which affects your website’s page ranking in search results.

Because WordPress is a popular web site publishing tool, it includes the ability for you to add alt text to images contained in those web pages. The best time to add alt text to an image is when you upload it to WordPress. This way, the image has alt text right from the start, and the text is already there every time you add the image to a web page.

If the image is already in the WordPress media library and you are merely selecting it to insert in the post, there may already be a description in the alt text field in the Attachment Details pane. If the alt text is appropriate, insert it into the post. But if you prefer, you can edit the alt text before adding it.

While alt text is not required, you should strive to add useful, well-crafted alt text to every image you publish via WordPress so all users and search engines can better understand your content.

Here’s how to write and add alt text in WordPress.

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How to write good alt text in WordPress

Because alt text describes the image to a visually impaired person, try to make the alt text as useful as possible. That will also help search engines rank your web pages appropriately for relevant keywords. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Briefly describe the actual content of the image, not what the article or web page is about.
  • Don’t begin with a phrase like “Picture of…” or “Photo of…” Just describe the scene.
  • Try to limit your description to fewer than 100 characters including spaces.

How to add alt text to an image in WordPress

1. While writing a post in WordPress, click “Add Media” at the top of the page.

What is alt text in WordPress 1
Start adding alt text by clicking the Add Media button near the top of the page. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

2. Add the image to your media library, either by browsing or dragging it to the web page.

3. After the is uploaded, the Attachment Details page should appear on the right side of the screen. Enter a description of the image in the Alt Text field.

What is alt text in WordPress 2
Enter alt text in the field on the right side of the page. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

4. Complete any other entries you need to add, such as the caption and media credit.

5. Click “Insert into post.”

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