Google and other search engines use complex technology to grasp the correct meaning of the webpage’s content. However smart they are nowadays; they can easily understand text content. When coming to images, search engines still need the help of additional text to understand the meaning. You have to use alternative text and explain the purpose of the image. Search engines will use the content around the image and this alternative text to interpret the meaning of your images.
How to Add Alt Text to Images in WordPress?
WordPress, being the most popular content management system, offers multiple ways to add alt text to images.
- Adding alt text from Media Library
- After uploading images in post editor
- Using Gutenberg block setting
In addition to individual images, make sure you add alt text to gallery images as well. In this article, we will explain the default options available in WordPress admin panel. All image/gallery/slideshow processing plugins generally use the images from default Media Library. We recommend, you to check out the plugin’s documentation on how to add alt text quickly, especially when you are processing multiple images.
1. Adding Alt Text from Media Library
In WordPress, you can either upload images from Media Library or upload directly when you are creating / editing the post. First, let us explain adding alt text when you upload an image through Media Library.
- Go to “Media > Library” menu.
- Here you will see all existing images uploaded on your site.
- Click on “Add New” button to upload a new image.
- After uploading, you will see the image in the list. Click on the image to open the edit screen. Remember, you can select any of the existing image to edit and add alt text.
- If you see the Media Library in list view, hover over the image and click on the edit link.
- Fill up the alt text in the “Alternative Text” box.
Close the image and WordPress will automatically save the alt text for the image.
2. Add Alt Text After Uploading Image in Editor
The problem in uploading images through Media Library is that they will be available as unattached. You have to attach the images to any post/page content so that they are actually visible on your frontend website. Instead of doing this double work, you can directly use image block and upload the images when you are creating / editing the content. The image block in Gutenberg offers two options:
- One is to upload the image from the editor by clicking on the “Upload” button or using third-party image using “Insert from URL”.
- Second is to click on “Media Library” and upload the image. Here, you can choose an existing image already you have uploaded in Media Library.
When you upload images in post editor, WordPress will show the details where you can fill up the alt text (we will explain this in next section). If you want to select from Media Library, you can fill up alt text after uploading an image.
3. Add Alt Text in Gutenberg Block Editor
Whether you use “Upload” or “Media Library” options in image block, Gutenberg offers an additional way to insert alt text. After uploading or inserting the image to your post, click on the image and then the three dots option icon. Select “Show Block Settings” menu to view the “Block” settings in the right sidebar. Here, you can add alternative text to uploaded images under “Image settings” section.
Alt Text for Gallery Images
The problem in adding alt text is that you have to add it for one by one. There are no bulk options to add alt text to images in WordPress. Good part is that when you process multiple images through Gallery, it is possible to add alt text for all images in the gallery on the same screen. You can select each image in the gallery and add alt text similar way as explained above. WordPress will automatically save the alt text for all images when you insert the galler on your post/page.
WordPress Default Behavior
Some website builders like Weebly automatically adds the alt text to all uploaded images as “Picture”. This is absurd that all images on your site can’t have the alt text as “Picture”. In addition, you can’t find missing alt text problems when you do SEO auditing on your site. in order to avoid these issues, WordPress by default will leave the alt text field as blank. Therefore, you have to fill up the filed manually for each image. However, if your images are purely for decorative purpose and not related to the content of the article then leave alt text as it is blank.
What Happens If No Alt Text for Image?
Nowadays, image search is growing as people tend to get answer to their queries in visual format. If you do not provide alternative text for images, basically you are missing an opportunity to get traffic them. Since search engines could not understand the purpose of your image, it may not appear in image search results. However, search engines still try to show images based on the content around the image. This may also lead to showing images for inappropriate search queries.
In case if the images are not displayed on the browser, alt text will help the readers to understand the broken image.
In addition to search engines, alt text is used by screen readers to help visually disabled people to understand the content. Many people also convert their webpages to audio and alt text is important for images in such cases.