Weekly WordPress Tip Number 4

WordPress Tip #4: Image Alt Text Update – WordPress 4.7

Important SEO update – essential reading. The latest version of WordPress (4.7 “Vaughan”) changes how you add image alt text when uploading to your media library.

Improving accessibility of image alternative text – No more default fallback. To ensure your images having meaningful alternative text, you should make sure to set a value for alt text in your media library. – WordPress changelog for 4.7

The latest release of WordPress includes a change to help improve the accessibility of image Alt text.
Before the current update, when you added an image to a post but didn’t add alt text, WordPress had a fallback where it would first attempt to use your caption text before finally using the image title as a default.

The latest update has removed the fallback. The change will only affect newly uploaded images after upgrading to version 4.7 and onwards, so make sure you have meaningful alt text for each image set in your media library.

My recently published TIP #3 Add alt text to your images in WordPress is now even more relevant, so if you’re not sure how to set alt text for images, have a read.

So why has WordPress removed the fallback for image alt text?

Missing image alt text provides both a bad experience for people using a screen reader and poor SEO value. The fallback ensured that each image contained at least something for alt text. So removing the feature seems at first counter-intuitive. But WordPress has found that,, more often than not, the automated alt text used provides little benefit at best. At worst it was misleading.

Essentially, they’re encouraging us to behave. More than ever, you now need to supply meaningful alt text for images. So, if you upload an image file named IMG_4815.jpg, it won’t be used as fallback alt text. (Before, there was a knock-on effect – if you didn’t supply Title text, your image name would be used, and if you didn’t supply alt text the title text was used.) .

But in the end, this is all detail. Here’s the takeaway: for maximum SEO and accessibility value, put in a few moments’ extra effort each time you upload an image to your WordPress site. Luckily, our first three Weekly WordPress tips show you exactly how…

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