Title, Caption, Alt Text, and Description: Image Meta in WordPress (2024)

Images play an important role in web publishing, and WordPress makes it easy to add images to your content in several different ways.What you probably didn’t know is that taking a few extra minutes to fill in the “Attachment Details” for your images can improve their communicative value, create better user experiences for your visitors, and bring more people to your site.

In this article I’ll explain what the Title, Caption, Alt Text, and Description fields are all about and why they matter more than you think.

Every Image has its own Attachment Post

Let’s start at the beginning: When you add an image to WordPress, whether it be as a Featured Image (previously “post thumbnail”), an image in a post or page, or as a header image, you are actually creating a new Attachment Post. Once the image is added you can edit its Attachment Post by clicking the Media button in WordPress admin. This gives you a list of all the attachment posts associated with uploaded media items on the site.

Depending on your current theme you may also be able to access the Attachment Post page for the image from the front end of your site, and this attachment page maydisplaysome of or all of the meta dataassociated with the image.

Images and Attachment Posts can carry a lot of metadata

When you add a new image to a post you areprompted to add so-called “Attachment Details”.These attachment details are probably the most ignoredand underutilized features of WordPress and if you learn what they are and how to use them you’ll never ignore them again:


The title is the only attachment detail required by WordPress. Title defaults to the name of the file but should be changed to a descriptive title of the image. This is the title of the Attachment Post for the image and just like a regular post the title will define the pretty permalink for the attachment post. You can also use the Title to search for images in your media archive.

In previous incarnations of WordPress the Title field was mapped to the optional HTML title attribute. This resulted in the title of the image appearing as a tooltip any time a mouse hovered over it. In the current incarnation of WordPress the title attribute for the image itself and also the optional image link are added separately. To do so you have to add the image to the post, then reopen it by selecting it and clicking the pen icon in the top left hand corner, and toggle the Advanced Options section of the Image Details modal window. Here you find Image Title Attribute as well as Image CSS Class (of which I spoke in a previous article), Open link in a new tab, Link rel, and Link CSS Class.


The caption is the text traditionally displayed underneath the image though the exact placement will vary depending on your theme.The caption is not tied to the attachment post but to where you choose to place the image in a post. That means if you use the same image in several different posts or several different places within a post you can have individual captions for each.

In WordPress captions are added using the shortcode which wraps around the <img> and optional <a> tags. This is why you can’t moveimages with captions in the visual editor but have to do it from the code end. For the image above the entire embed code complete with caption shortcode looks like this:

[caption id="attachment_2896" align="aligncenter" width="700"] <a href="http://mor10.com/?attachment_id=2896" target="_blank" rel="attachment wp-att-2896"> <img class="wp-image-2896 size-large" title="Learn more about the Advanced Options for WordPress images" src="http://mor10.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/title_attribute-700x363.png" alt="Screenshot of the advanced image options fields in WordPress" width="700" height="363" /> </a> The Advanced Options under Image Details allow you to add title attributes to your images.[/caption]

It is worth noting that WordPress image captions can contain HTML including links.

Alt Text

The alt attributeor “Alt text”is mandatory for images on the web but is often ignored because it seems unnecessary. This is unfortunate because the alt attribute is both important and powerful.

The alt attribute is the text that displays when an image does not display. The general rule of thumb when applying alt text to an image is to describe in text what the image is communicating.

There are specific rules that govern how the alt attribute should be used:

  • If the image has communicative content (either says something or is illustrating something that has relevance to the content on the page) the alt text should describe the content either by repeating the text in the image or describing its content.
  • If the image is wrapped in a link the alt text should describe the target of the link.
  • If the image is purely for decoration and has no communicative value the alt tag can be left blank (alt=””)

People often think that the alt text is for visitors with accessibility problems. That is true, but it’s just part of the story: The alt text is there to describe image content and relate it to your overall content. While most visitors don’t see the alt text, search engines do and they index the images based on them. And as we move into a world of wearable devices that don’t always show images the alt text will become more important than ever before.

Bottom line: Always describe your images in the alt text field unless they are purely for decoration.


The Description field is probably the best kept secret of images in WordPress. If you add text to the description field that text will be stored as post content for the attachment post. That means if someone lands on the attachment post page for the image they will see the long description (provided the current theme supports it). To see how this works try clicking on one of the images in this article. You’ll be taken to the attachment page for that image where you see the image title, the image itself, the caption, and the description as post content. The attachment page in the theme I’ve built for this site also provides meta data that shows what post the image is associated with, a link to the original image size, and even navigation links to other images within the same post.

Once you’ve added an image to a post and you want to change or add to the Description you have to open the editor for the image Attachment Post. You can do that by going to Media in admin and finding the image or by navigating to the image on the front-end of your site and clicking Edit Media in the WordPress Toolbar. Though the Description field does not have the Visual (WYSIWYG) editor you can treat it exactly as you would any other post or page. It takes HTML and allows you to format the content to make it look like a regular post.

The Power of Metadata

Combined these text fields area powerful feature that can be used to create better and more communicative experiences to your visitors and also bring new visitors to your site. To see how let me give you an example:

Let’s imagine for the moment you are a wedding photographer and you are publishing a photo essay about a recent wedding. In the main post you add some images with basic captions and you describe these images with alt text that also includes your company name, words like“wedding photographer”, and the city you work in. When the post is published Google will index this alt text and people searching for wedding photographers in your city are likely to find your images during an image search.

You also add a standard WordPress image gallery to your post, but instead of using a lightbox to make the images “pop” up in the browser you redirect each image thumbnail to the respective attachment page for that image. Then when you add the images in you write a story for each of the images in the Description field.

Now when the visitor clicks on one of the images in the gallery she is taken to the attachment page where she gets to see a larger version of the image along with the added description. And again this description is indexed by Google. That means you can add the names of subjects in the images, detailed descriptions of products, services, locations, or the subject matter, or provide stories to go with each individual image for a truly unique experience. More than a boring image gallery you can create a photo essay – an immersive experience.

Another example of a good way of using these features is to share slides from a presentation. By adding the slides as individual images, adding comprehensive descriptions of each slide in the Description field, and linking your gallery to the attachment page you can provide far more information about your slides to your audience and make that information searchable on the web.

Start Using Your Attachment Details Today!

Now you understand what the attachment details are and how WordPress uses images and their metadata. The next step is to start using these fields actively to provide your visitors with better user experiences and get your content indexed in more places. I wasn’t joking when I said these are the most ignored and underutilized of WordPress’ features, and that also means if you start using them actively and getting the most out of them you will be way ahead of the competition. So what are you waiting for? Go set up proper titles, captions, alt texts, and descriptions for your images and report back!

Title, Caption, Alt Text, and Description: Image Meta in WordPress (2024)


What is title caption alt text description in WordPress? ›

Title – is for you to search the image later in the Media Library. Caption – will show up on the blog post if you fill in the data (don't need caption if you don't want text to display underneath the image). Alt-Text – in case readers cannot load the image, this data will show up instead (optional also).

What is the difference between image description and alt text in WordPress? ›

An image description gives more details than alt text and allows someone to learn more about what is in an image that goes beyond alt text. Alt text gives the user the most important information while image descriptions provide further detail.

What is alt text and description WordPress? ›

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.

How do I fix alt tags in WordPress? ›

How to add alt attributes in WordPress
  1. Log in to your WordPress website. When you're logged in, you will be in your 'Dashboard'.
  2. Open the post or page to edit the content.
  3. Click on the Image block to open the Image settings in the Block tab of the sidebar. ...
  4. Add the alt text and the title attribute.
  5. Click 'Update'.
Dec 1, 2021

What is meta description tag on a WordPress? ›

A meta description in WordPress is a short text that describes the content and the purpose of a page. This snippet appears on SERPs and helps users understand whether the page fulfills their search intent without having to open it. WordPress allows you to customize the meta descriptions for posts and pages.

What is WordPress image description? ›

Image Description Field. This is the descriptive text that shows up on your image attachment page.

What is the best image format for WordPress? ›

File Format JPEG or PNG – Optimize Images for WordPress

The best formats for websites are JPEG and PNG. Use a JPEG for photographs as they have a high color count. This format uses special compression to reduce file size while not affecting the clarity of the image.

What is meta description for images? ›

Image metadata is text information pertaining to an image file that is embedded into the file or saved to a separate file that is associated with the image file. Image metadata includes details relevant to the image itself and to its production.

What is image title alt text and description? ›

Also called alt tags and alt descriptions, alt text is the written copy that appears in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load on a user's screen. This text helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers and allows search engines to better crawl and rank your website.

What is image title attribute in WordPress? ›

The title attribute allows you to provide additional information about each image. This helps screen readers and search engines understand what the image is about, which is great for accessibility and SEO.

What is an example of alt text? ›

Alt Text: Two students posing for the camera on a frozen plane, one giving a thumbs up, with a sled dog and mountains in the background. Alt Text: Tall grass on a sand dune with the beach and ocean surf in the background on a sunny day.

Do you need alt text and image description? ›

Image alt text and image descriptions are important for accessibility. They help people who have different accessibility needs – such as vision impairment – understand the purpose of an image without ever seeing it. 2. Image alt text also comes in handy when links break or web pages fail to load.

Why is alt text not working WordPress? ›

If you're unable to see alt tags in your HTML code, re-insert the image onto the page and empty your website's cache. WordPress cannot add the new alt tag, and you need to overwrite the existing empty one manually. After that, clean your site cache to ensure you see the freshest content.

Why is my alt tab not working properly? ›

If hotkeys are disabled on your computer, the Alt Tab key won't work. Most times, it could be malware or a third-party app you've installed on your PC that disabled this function. Thus, you have to make sure it is enabled.

Is image title important for SEO? ›

That being said, the image title is not used for search ranking, so it is not quite as important to optimize for. But if you're an obsessive SEO completionist and want to optimize everything for the best in W3C optimization, by all means, do include both the alt text and title text for your image.

What is a meta description example? ›

A meta description is the promise you make to searchers. Among a sea of competing webpages, it calls out to them and says, “This is the page you're looking for.” When you type a search query into Google—let's use “temporary tattoos” as an example—the algorithm displays results on the search engine results page (SERP).

What is the difference between a title tag and meta description? ›

Meta Keywords Attribute – A series of keywords you deem relevant to the page in question. Title Tag – This is the text you'll see in the SERP and at the top of your browser. Search engines view this text as the “title” of your page. Meta Description Attribute – A brief description of the page.

How do you write meta title and meta description? ›

Best practices for creating quality meta descriptions
  1. Create unique descriptions for each page on your site.
  2. Include relevant information about the content in the description.
  3. Programmatically generate descriptions.
  4. Use quality descriptions.

What is caption in WordPress? ›

Captions are brief text descriptions that you can add to your images. They are typically used to provide additional details about an image. WordPress comes with the built-in capability to easily add a caption and other metadata including title and alternative text for each image.

What is the difference between image description and image caption? ›

The caption field is easy to understand . . . it describes what's in the picture for people who can see the image and want to know more about what's in it. Unlike the alt text or description, the caption does not have to closely mirror what the image actually shows.

What is the difference between image title and caption? ›

Captions describe images to help users relate them to surrounding text. Titles identify images and number them in long-form content.

What is the most useful image format? ›

The PNG file format is optimized for digital use, making it the most commonly used image format. It also supports more colors than the GIF format – PNG can handle up to 16 million colors, while GIF only supports 256 colors.

Which image type is not allowed in WordPress? ›

php. However, not all MIME types recognized are allowed to be uploaded in the WordPress admin dashboard.
File types supported by default.
Images.jpg .jpeg .png .gif .ico
Audio.mp3 .m4a .ogg .wav
Video.mp4, .m4v (MPEG-4) .mov (QuickTime) .wmv (Windows Media Video) .avi .mpg .ogv (Ogg) .3gp (3GPP) .3g2 (3GPP2)
1 more row
Feb 21, 2023

What is the most accepted image format? ›

JPG is the most used image file format. JPG is the file extension for JPEG files (Joint Photographic Experts Group, a committee of ISO and ITU).

Why do you need a meta description? ›

Why are meta descriptions important? Meta descriptions are important because they let Google know what your webpage will be about. If Google can read and comprehend the content of your meta description, they will have an easier chance of ranking your page to answer search queries.

How do I get a full meta description? ›

You can view the HTML of a web page to see a meta description. In Chrome, right click on the web page and choose 'view page source' to view the raw HTML, or 'inspect' element to view the rendered HTML. The rendered HTML is after JavaScript has run and is what Google will generally see.

What is a meta title? ›

A meta title, also known as a title tag, refers to the text that is displayed on search engine result pages and browser tabs to indicate the topic of a webpage. Marketing Dictionary.

What is the difference between alt text and alt title? ›

In the context of the image tag, alt text is used to describe visual elements to users who can't see them, either because the image failed to load or because they are using a screen-reader. The image title attribute is only visible on mouse-over and displays just the image title.

Is alt text the same as metadata? ›

Alt tags are metadata that offer text descriptions of web images for search engines and screen readers for the visually impaired. As a best practice, they often include text that may appear on the image, or a simple summary of the graphic.

What is caption or description in WordPress? ›

Captions are brief text descriptions that you can add to your images. They are typically used to provide additional details about an image. WordPress comes with the built-in capability to easily add a caption and other metadata including title and alternative text for each image.

What is alt text caption description? ›

Captions are brief descriptions related to the image (for example commentary, attributions or quotations). Alternative text (alt text) is a short description of the information an image conveys. It's either available to the user as an HTML attribute or through a document's accessibility tool.

What is alt text and title text? ›

In the context of the image tag, alt text is used to describe visual elements to users who can't see them, either because the image failed to load or because they are using a screen-reader. The image title attribute is only visible on mouse-over and displays just the image title.

What is an alt text description? ›

Alternative (Alt) Text is meant to convey the “why” of the image as it relates to the content of a document or webpage. It is read aloud to users by screen reader software, and it is indexed by search engines.

What are the four types of captions? ›

There are four main types of captions: standard, group, identification, and quote only.

What are the 3 parts of a caption? ›

The three core elements of a converting caption are The Hook, The Body, and CTA.

What is meta description for an image? ›

The metadata might include the name of the image creator, keywords specific to the image, captions, titles, comments or other information. Effective descriptive metadata can make it easier to search for images. Administrative metadata is like descriptive metadata.

What is the difference between alt text and caption? ›

Alt Text vs.

An image caption is text that displays on the screen. Alternate text is read aloud to someone using assistive technology, but is hidden from a sighted user.

Why do people use image descriptions? ›

An image description conveys the same or equivalent information that a sighted reader would get when they look at a picture, to someone with a print disability such as those who are blind or visually impaired. Image descriptions can be included in digital content in two forms: alt-text and Long Description.

Does alt text need a title? ›

That being said, the image title is not used for search ranking, so it is not quite as important to optimize for. But if you're an obsessive SEO completionist and want to optimize everything for the best in W3C optimization, by all means, do include both the alt text and title text for your image.

What is the best way to use alt text? ›

Alt text for informative images

The alt text needs to describe the image as concisely as possible. As a rule of thumb: avoid writing text alternatives longer than 100 characters. Having long alt text will result in a poor user experience for those using screen readers.

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