If you are using an SEO plugin like the one recommended here, you may come across a suggestion to add Alt Text to your images. In this post we discuss how alt text can help SEO.

What is Alt Text on Images

Alt text (alternative text), also known as “alt attributes” or “alt descriptions,” is a concise text-based description that is added to an HTML image element on a webpage and conveys its essential information or purpose.

The alt text provides a textual alternative to an image for people who cannot see it, such as individuals with visual impairments who use screen readers or for situations where the image cannot be displayed due to technical issues.

Alt text on images also improves Search Engine Optimization in several ways. Note that search engines and crawlers do not have eyes (yet) and can only detect the presence of an image. Therefore, a text description helps them determine if that image leads a user to the content they are looking for.

how does alt text help seo

Enhanced Rich Snippets

Properly optimized alt text can lead to more informative and visually appealing search engine results with rich snippets, which can entice users to click on your page.

SEO Keywords

Alt text allows you to include relevant keywords related to the image and the content on the page. Search engines consider this when indexing and ranking web pages, potentially improving your visibility in search results.

Recall that the SEO plugin you are using recommends including post’s keywords in that image’s Alt Text.

Image Search

Alt text helps search engines understand the content of images. When users perform image searches, properly optimized alt text can make your images more likely to appear in relevant image search results. Users are then likely to visit the website containing that image from the search results.

Placeholder for Missing Images

When an image cannot be loaded due to a slow internet connection or other technical issues, the alt text is displayed, giving users an idea of what the image represents.

Accessibility

Alt text provides a text description of an image, which is essential for people with visual impairments who use screen readers to navigate the web. By making your website more accessible, you improve user experience and inclusivity, which search engines value.

As mentioned earlier, this accessibility feature is also for the search engines and web crawlers themselves who also have limited vision capabilities.

Improved User Experience

Even for users without disabilities, alt text can enhance the user experience by providing context for images. This can reduce bounce rates and increase user engagement, which can indirectly boost your SEO.

Reduced Bounce Rate

When alt text provides context to users, they are more likely to stay on your page and explore further. This can lower your bounce rate, which is a metric search engines consider when evaluating the quality and relevance of a webpage.

Web Page Ranking

Alt text is part of the overall on-page SEO strategy. By providing descriptive alt text, you contribute to the overall relevancy and quality of your web page’s content, which can positively impact its ranking in search engine results.

How to add alt text to images in WordPress

There are two ways to add alt text attributes to images in WordPress:

Directly from the Media Library:

Selecting an image in your WordPress media library will display the image’s properties. These include Caption, Title, and Alt Text. See how these properties are editable fields? Just type in the alt text you want for the selected image.

Adding Alt Text to Images in WordPress
Adding Alt Text to Images from the WordPress Media Library

You cannot do this in the WordPress Mobile App as these fields are locked. You will have to do this the browser version of WordPress.

In the Block Editor

When using the WordPress block editor, you can click on an inserted image and view its block settings in the sidebar.

alt text images SEO block editor
Adding Alt text to images from the block editor

In the image block settings, you should see an option labeled “Alt Text” or “Alternative Text.” This is where you add your alt text.

Again, you cannot do this in the WordPress mobile App.

Note that the same image used across multiple posts and pages will contain the same Alt Text Properties. Updating the Alt Text Property will overwrite the previous alt text and be applied to all pages that contain the image. If you intend to use the same image for another post for a different purpose, consider re-uploading the image as a new file so that the previous image’s Alt text is not disturbed.

In summary, adding alt text to images plays a positive role in SEO by improving accessibility, user experience, keyword optimization, image search visibility, and overall page quality, all of which can contribute to higher search engine rankings and better organic traffic. And its easy to do in WordPress.