Media Library Assistant plugin's main display of a media item's details. See at a glance if the Alt tag and other fields are correct, or click Edit (to crop or rotate the image) or Quick Edit (to edit the text fields)

How You Can Improve Media Library’s Alt Text, Accessibility, File Names, Free

Did you forget to change the file name of the image, from what your camera randomly gave it to something where you can know what the image is by looking at the name? I’ve certainly done that. Or maybe you misspelled the name of the person in the picture? Oops. I will teach you how to edit Media Library fields, which will improve SEO (how search engines can know what the page is about) and make your pages and images more accessible to all your visitors.

I will include editing Media Library fields such as the file name, Alt text, and the image URL. These fields show up in many places in WordPress, and therefore in your website; but they are also seen by search engines.

I’m going over all the steps for editing the fields in the Media Library, and the much better Media Library Assistant.

The Media Library is the best place to put, for example, the Alt Text for the image. Put it there, and every place you use the image has the good Alt Text you wrote. The Alt Text is what would display on your website if the image doesn’t load, or the visitor has turned off images in their browser. And, if your visitor uses a screen reader, the Alt Text is what the software will speak to describe the image. Search engines use the Alt Text in exactly the same way.

Which Fields Should You Change, for Search Engines and Accessibility?

Don’t change image File Names for every image, it’s not really important, just one more bit you can do well.

Changing the Slug (the part that gets used as the “internal name” for the image or other media in the Media Library) is more important than the file name. (Unless of course the file name is the camera-generated random name, so you can’t tell what the picture is by the name. You’ll want to change those, preferably before you import the images into WordPress.)

Changing the Alt Text is really good, especially for people who are using a screen reader, or for search engines.

Editing Alt Tags For Website Accessibility

For website accessibility, write the Alt Text like you were describing the picture to someone who was blind. This is a great place to put a long description. You should cover what is important, in this picture, to people who would be interested in this page.

Search engines and screen readers also look at, well, basically all the fields in the Media Library. Use these to your advantage, to be very clear what your page is about, to all your visitors.

How to Edit the Media Library Fields

While logged in to WordPress, browse to the page the image is included in. I’ll use the example and that has a misspelled word in it. “Soffegio” should be “Solfeggio”.

Click Edit Page (even if you know it’s an Elementor page).

While I’m here, I notice Yoast has the misspelling in the “Focus keyphrase”; so, I edit it now.

Both Yoast (the section below where you were editing the page) and the Options, Page tab (settings on right of the screen, if not there click the “gear” icon top right of the WordPress Block Editor screen) have a place to edit the Slug. (If you notice, they are both Yoast; Yoast replaced the normal WordPress slug field). Change to a good slug for this Page (though most of this post is about the Image), solfeggio-frequencies-for-healing-and-balance

No Featured Image set, if there is an image it might have the same misspelling. But, can’t edit the slug of the image from within Featured Image, must go to the main Media Library interface.

When You Change the URL, Yoast Makes a Redirect For You

Click “Update” for editing the page, Yoast says:

Redirect created
Yoast SEO Premium just created a redirect from the old URL to the new URL.
Old URL:
New URL:”

Media Library Assistant Plugin

Media Library hover, select Assistant.

This plugin lets you search your Media Library much more powerfully. And, you can change more fields than the default Media Library can.

Start with changing what is shown on screen when you open the Assistant. Here’s how I set my Screen Options (top right of screen)

Search Media Library for “soffegio” and for “solfeggio” and for other misspellings (in the Media Library with the Media Assistant plugin installed, type (without quotes) “solfeggio, sofeggio, soffegio, soffeggio” and click the “or” button.

That many fields to search in is wonderful, especially for the images that you have just been working with, so you know what fields have been set. Tip: The plugin’s settings let you default to having those checkmarks you use.

Holy-Harmony-Forks-Soffegio.jpg oops, misspellings; check the URL, the Alt Tag, the Title, the Description.

While I’m here, looks like the image has a lot of white space above and below, click Edit, in the Editing window click the “Crop” button, adjust the crop area and (not obvious but important) click the Crop button again; when done processing, you can click the Save button.

Editing the Image URL

Now, fix the URL if needed. Hover over the image, click Quick Edit

If you want to use Media Library categories and tags, you add them in Media Library, “Att. Category” (or “Att. Tag”). Not sure all the places where you use these, but you can at least search on them; maybe visitors can search too, maybe social media tagging uses them.

Now the media fields are correct: Title, Slug, Alt Text. Save it.

Editing the Image File Name

But, the file name of the image is still incorrect.

I will test a plugin, Phoenix Media Rename — which should do exactly what you want, rename a single image or selected several images.

For now, I’m going to do a quick-and-dirty replace in the database, and manually edit the file name in FTP. (To have me do this for you, Just tell me “wp search-replace” and the before and after file names). For this one, I changed ‘Holy-Harmony-Forks-Soffegio-e1642359315478.jpg’  to ‘Solfeggio-holy-harmony-tuning-forks-e1642359315478.jpg’. Warning: search-replace can replace things in too many places, if you use a bad choice of search text, so don’t use it unless you’re sure what you’re replacing, especially doing a “dry run” first.

Using the Phoenix Media Rename plugin

The plugin doesn’t have any menu item, so you’re probably wondering how to use it. That’s because what this plugin does is simply add a field, in a few places in the Media Library, where you can edit the file name.

In the Media Library, in List view (top left of the screen, icon with a few horizontal lines next to an icon with a few squares), there is now a field where you can edit the file name. For it to take effect, you have to select the Bulk Action “Rename and Retitle”.

On an individual Media Library item’s page, below the image, “Alternative Text”, “Caption” and “Description” fields, there is now a “Filename” field. Edit the filename right there, when you press Enter in the file name field, or click “Update” the Media Library entry, the file name gets changed.

Check It Looks Good

In the regular Media Library, see this:

That looks good, but I’m noticing this file name is better than what was used before (beyond the misspelling), I’m changing the image slug to solfeggio-holy-harmony-tuning-forks (the same way I changed it above). That’s the way improving headlines and alt text goes, you keep seeing ways to improve it.

Check the page they are displaying on (the “Parent ID”) displays it correctly. In the Media Library Assistant, Attached To column, click the link.

Rebuilding Thumbnails

Now have to build the other image sizes. The thumbnails, the mobile phone sized image, the WooCommerce product image sizes.

I recommend using the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin. Now, in Media Library and in Media Library Assistant, there is a “Regenerate Thumbnails” button for each image. (The plugin also lets you regenerate thumbnails for all your images at once, for example when you change to a theme that uses different image sizes.)



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