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Image Alt Text vs Image Title in WordPress – What’s the Difference?

A lot of content on the web includes images. However, not many website owners optimize their images for speed or better search rankings.

Even though WordPress comes with the option to add alt text and an image title, often beginners do not understand the difference and how to use them.

In this article, we will share the difference between image alt text vs image title in WordPress, so you can improve your image SEO.

Using image alt text and title in WordPress

What is the Alt Text and Image Title?

Alt text is short for alternate text. It’s an attribute added to an image tag in HTML. This helps visitors who can’t see the image and search engine bots to understand what an image is about.

Alt text is also shown if the image on your page can’t be found or can’t be displayed for any reason.

The alt text "Bunch of flowers" displays next to a broken image icon

Alt text is different from the image’s title. The title is text that’s displayed in a small popup box when you bring your mouse cursor over the image.

An image with the title text "Flowers from my garden"

Alt tag and image titles are also used to improve the accessibility of your website for those with poor vision or screen reader devices.

The screen reader will read the text of your article and when it comes to an image, it will read the alt text. Depending on the user’s settings, it may also read the title text.

For both accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO), alt text is more important than title text. This is why we strongly recommend including alt text for all your images.

Pro Tip: We recommend using All in One SEO plugin for WordPress to add proper image sitemap and other SEO features to improve your SEO ranking.

How to Add Alt Text to an Image in WordPress

WordPress allows you to easily add alt text for your images. Simply create a new post or page, or edit an existing one, and add an Image block.

If you’re not sure how to add a block or you need some extra help with the block editor, just check out our tutorial on how to use the WordPress block editor.

First, upload your image or drag and drop it into the Image block. You can then set the alt text on the right hand side of the page.

Adding alt text to an image in the WordPress block editor

You can also add alt text to an image by going to Media » Library and clicking on the image to edit it.

Remember, this won’t change the alt text for any instances of that image that you’ve already inserted into posts or pages. However, if you add the image to a post or page after adding alt text here, then the alt text will be included with it.

Viewing or editing the alt text for your image in the WordPress media library

If you’re still using the classic WordPress editor, then you can add image alt text when adding the image.

First, click on ‘Add Media’ above the posting box.

Click 'Add Media' in the classic editor to add an image to your post

Either upload the image from your computer or click the ‘Media Library’ tab to view images you’ve already uploaded.

Next, click on the image you want in order to select it, and then type the alt text you want into the ‘Attachment Details’ of your image:

Adding alt text to an image in the classic editor

How to Add Image Title in WordPress

There are two types of title attributes that you can add to your images.

The default WordPress title attribute is not added to the HTML code for the image. It is used internally by WordPress to identify media files.

If you want to add titles to your images, then you need to do this using the Media Library. You can’t currently add a title to an image when editing it in the visual editor.

The title isn’t necessary for image SEO or for users with screen readers. It can be useful in some cases, though, as it lets you provide information when a user brings their mouse over the image.

One thing that’s often confusing for WordPress users, including some experienced users, is that WordPress lets you give images a title. This is completely separate from the image title attribute.

For instance, you’ll see a ‘Title’ field when you edit images in the media library:

Viewing or editing the image's Title in the media library

The ‘Title’ here is used by WordPress to identify the image. When you click the ‘View attachment page’ link at the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the title is used as the title on that page:

Viewing the image's attachment page, with the image title shown

While this may be helpful in some cases, it’s not the same thing as the image’s title attribute. So how do you create that?

In the old classic editor, you can add the title attribute by clicking on an image then clicking the pencil icon:

Editing an image in the WordPress classic editor

You’ll then see the ‘Image Details’ screen. To set the image title attribute, click the little downward arrow next to ‘Advanced Options’ at the bottom:

Click the downward arrow to view the Advanced details for your image

You can then set the image’s title attribute.

Setting the image title attribute in the classic editor

Unfortunately, in the block editor, it’s not quite so easy to edit the image’s title attribute. It’s still possible, though. You can add your image as normal then edit the block as HTML code.

To switch to the HTML view of the block, click ‘More Options’ (the 3 vertical dots) then click ‘Edit as HTML’.

Editing your image as HTML

It might look a bit confusing, but all you need to know is that the <img> tag is what creates your image. You’ll see your image’s filename there.

The HTML code for the image

To add the title attribute to your image, you simply need to add title="Your image title here" to the image tag like this:

<img src="http://www.yourwebsitename.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/daffodils-bunch-vase.jpg" title="Bunch of daffodils" alt="A lovely bunch of daffodils" class="wp-image-257"/>

It doesn’t matter where in the image tag you put the title attribute.

After entering the title, you’ll see a message warning that “This block contains unexpected or invalid content.”

Warning message saying that the block contains unexpected content

Simply click the ‘Convert to HTML’ button and your image block will be converted to HTML code. It will still display on your site exactly as before, but you won’t be able to edit the image using the block editor.

Why and How You Should Use Alt Text and Image Title

We strongly recommend using alt text for all images. Here on WPBeginner, we also add a title to all images. However, this is less important than the alt text.

Alt text is important because Google focuses on it as a ranking factor for images. It is also used by screen readers to help visitors with impaired vision to fully engage with your content.

It’s important not to stuff keywords into alt and title tags. Make them descriptive and helpful, so that they’re useful for visitors who need them. You can use your keywords where relevant, but don’t overdo it.

For example, if you’re writing an article about the best WordPress hosting, then your target keyword could be “best WordPress hosting”.

You might have a screenshot in your article showing users how to set up an account with a popular web host like Bluehost.

Here are some possible options for your alt text for that image:

  • “Account setup” – this is not very descriptive and also doesn’t include anything related to your keyword
  • “Best WordPress hosting, WordPress hosting, best web hosting for WordPress” – this doesn’t describe the image and is stuffed with keywords
  • “Setting up a WordPress hosting account” – this is much better as it’s descriptive and uses part of the keyword in a natural and appropriate way

We hope this article helped you understand the difference between image alt text and image title in WordPress. You may also want to take a look at our beginner-friendly guide on how to optimizing images for the web to speed up your site, and our comparison of the best WordPress SEO plugins & tools to improve your rankings.

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Reader Interactions

53 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. When adding a Title to the media files, it makes it searchable on the WP website. Can that be eliminated so images and files are not being pulled as a search result? Is there another way other than leaving the Title field blank?

    • Most SEO plugins should have the option to disable indexing or you can use your robots.txt to disallow indexing.

      Admin

  2. Hi: I was wondering if I should have dashes in between the words in my image title. i.e. (yellow-gold-round-earring). I was sure I saw that somewhere, but it doesn’t seem you use that method. Any help would be much appreciated.
    Thank you!

    • For image names, it’s important not to have a space in the file name, whether you remove the spaces or replace them with dashes is personal preference.

      Admin

    • If you have any caching on your site then you may want to clear your cache to see if that allows toe alt text to be added properly.

      Admin

    • That would depend on your theme for the styling of your images and if they display the image title the same way they do the image caption.

      Admin

        • You would want to reach out to your specific theme’s support and they should be able to assist :)

  3. Does using site-builders (I use Elementor) or plugins like W3 Total Cache prevent the adding of Image Title and Alt Text attributes?
    Can you add the attributes to Background Images?

    I’m asking because my Home page uses a Background Image as its hero just below the site header. But I cannot find a spot in WP classic editor or dashboard to add both attributes.

    In fact, if I search the source-code for the page, I do not see my image upload path & filename listed anywhere in the 915 lines of code.

    Can you advise?
    Thanks.

    • Those should not prevent image titles and alt text, you should be able to go to your media library and edit the attributes from there as long as it is not a default image from the theme if you can’t edit it where you’ve set it. If it is from the default theme you would want to reach out to the theme’s support and they should be able to let you know where to find the image.

      Admin

  4. FYI – With Gutenberg it is impossible to add the Image Title Attribute (title=”example”). You cannot access the field like in Classic and you cannot add it with html (it will give a message to resolve an error).

  5. Can you help me find either a plugin, or the necessary code to allow me to have a gallery that shows one picture at a time, with fwd/bkwd buttons, the image title, image description and the alt-text when you hover?

    I’m going mad unable to fathom why every gallery plugin I try seems to be determined to undo WordPress’s good work of having those as separate fields and forcing you to have a single title/alt field! Infuriating when you’re trying to make a more accessible website by using alt-text properly, but still want to be able to use a separate title >.<

  6. Hi, once the image is uploaded in media file, changing the titles of the image later will it lead to broken images?

  7. In my ecommerce site, there is one product which has many images (more than 8) in different angles, do i need to add the same alt for all of images? if not need add alt for every image or add the same alt for them, what i can do?

  8. This really helped me understand the two, and why I should include keywords in the alt text. Thank you!

  9. Does it matter for SEO or for searching the images what the alt text is. For example: a photo of a hammer and nails, should it be Acme Co. Hammer and Nails if my company is Acme, or just simply Hammer and Nails. My photos are specific to my service company not stock art.

    • I am a long time fan of WPBeginner. You have all the answers I usually need. I’d just like to add one suggestion. The videos move too fast for me to get, and skip some of the most elementary steps in the process. For example, in this one the narrator skipped the two step process you need to go through to get to the image in the library. Step One – Go to Media. Step Two – Open Library. Simple, but for old guys like me, not so easy to follow because I wouldn’t be listening if I already knew the basics like you do. Thanks for listening.

  10. Hello, thank you for this very useful and informative article.
    I didn’t know that Image Title is not the same as Title in the Media Library. You are showing here how to change that for blog posts, which is very useful.

    But I have a question: What about products in WooCommerce? For product image and product gallery, I cannot find the “Image Details” menu, where the Image Title can be added. Would you be able to help with this?

  11. Hi,
    I loved those information thank you very much. Learned a lot but still need some answers such as how to make back links I link to my website do- follow and no-follow on the wordpress.

  12. Interesting Article about Image Attributes in WordPress. I was not knowing that putting title in Insert Media will not set image title attribute. Thanks for the Info.

  13. I thought I should be more specific: the actual text in the Yoast SEO is: “The images on this page are missing alt tags.”
    I’m not sure what the difference is between alt text and an alt tag……

    • Alt is an attribute of the img tag and therefore isn’t a tag itself, however is often referred to as such. The alt text is the value given to the alt attribute, for example: . The tag is img, the attribute is alt and it’s value is alternative text.

  14. Hello,

    I’m no website guru and am bumbling my way through the building of my internet site.

    I’m using Themify and prefer the gallery images option for aesthetic reasons. However, I have put titles, caption, descriptions and alt texts onto all of my images, but my Yoast SEO always tells me I have no alt text attached to my images….Is that because I’m using the gallery option? Is there a way to fix this?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • preview your page containing the gallery. Right click on an image and then select Inspect from browser menu. In the developer tools you will see HTML tag used to display the image. See if it has alt attribute in the image tag. If it does, then you can ignore Yoast SEO’s warning. You may also ask your theme author for support.

      Admin

  15. Another question. Now if I add an image title it causes a the title to show if you hover over the image. That’s not the end of the world but I didn’t necessarily want the title popping up by hovering over the image. But, since you said its a good idea for Google purposes I am inclined to put titles. My images are nothing more than decor for my site.

  16. I am relatively new to the world of WP and I believe you addressed the question above. So how do I edit an image I am going to use as a background? If the image is not on a page I don’t have the edit feature available. So I need to go to the editor and find the location of the image? If so where do I find it because I didn’t see anything titled images?

    Please advise, thanks.

  17. I watched your video and learned little bit. Now I read this article and learned more. I am also beginner at wordpress.

    Thanks.

  18. I have spent some time updating the title and alt fields for the images used on my website, but when I view the source code only the title attribute has been updated. The alt attribute is still empty. Why is this and how can I fix it?

    • “Actually the title attribute should be avoided” – no, this is wrong. In the link you’ve supplied it’s written that one should not rely exclusively on titles, because they may not be displayed by some devices. But using titles makes no harm.

      • I did a check of a few other sites and almost none use image titles? is it really needed? Does it really help Google and other search engines? And the title popping up when you hover over the image sort of annoys me.

  19. Would be nice to have an explanation of the “Description” field also. My understanding is this has nothing to do with SEO. Is this only for identification purposes for the user? Or some other reason?

    • There’s no SEO downside as long as the text you’re using is related to the image.

      This should help.

      Description: A longer image description. Often displayed when you use a thumbnail to link to a larger image.

  20. Interesting also to note that when you add an image as a line of code with the appropriate link in text mode – rather than using the media library – then go to visual, then back to text, the alt text line is added to your entered code automatically.

    Perhaps in a future version of WordPress the title text will be added automatically and ready to be filled in too?

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