How To Optimize Images For SEO

By now you know that there are a lot of complicated moving parts to Search Engine Optimization. One of those parts is image optimization, aka "image SEO." Unfortunately, many specialists tend to overlook image SEO. Today, I'll teach you how to optimize images and get your website to the front of Google and other search engines.

According to Bluelist.co,

How To Optimize Images For SEO - Image SEO Statistics

This number proves your web page must include highly optimized images to increase visibility!

Image SEO has become an integral part of every single blog, article, or web page I publish online since I started in 2017. As a digital marketing specialist myself, I make sure that my team and I always optimize images for SEO. We understand its value.

In the next section of this article, I'll tell you why blogs and articles need images. Let's jump right to it!

Why Blogs And Articles Need Images

The internet is a crowded place. There are over 2.9 million blogs written daily!

Crazy right?

That number is astonishing, and it makes me wonder: how does someone attract a large audience in a space this crowded? Well, the answer is to include highly optimized images in blogs and articles. It's the only way to go.

With that said, here are compelling reasons why you need to include images in your blogs and articles:

1.

Images Are Visually Appealing

Adding an image to a blog or article is the best way to build a great first impression. When your posts lack visual appeal, visitors will leave your page in a heartbeat.

Visually attractive blogs or articles have higher chances to build an emotional connection with online readers. They also look friendlier and more inviting to take further action.

2.

Images Promote Better Content Structure

It’s so much easier to break down text into easy to comprehend parts when you use images in a blog or article.

Images serve as an intro to the story or a separate section. I love using infographics in my blog posts. It not only makes my blog understandable and readable but also minimizes the reading time.

3.

Images Boost SEO Ranking

Aside from keywords, on-page SEO, link building, and online reviews, images could also help boost search ranking.

Blog or articles with relevant images perform better in search engines like Google. Sites on the first page are often ones with presentations, images, or videos.


SEO specialists usually add titles, tags, and descriptions to their blog images to boost search engine ranking.

4.

Images Help Break Down Complex Ideas

Not everyone understands technical terms, but images help break down complex ideas. Readers find it much easier to understand concepts, like error messages, if they see a visual representation like screenshots.

Images serve as an educational aid to help readers understand what you are writing about.

5.

Images Support Statements

Another aspect that I love about images is that they make readers feel things. They also help readers understand the context of the article.

In other words, images make a whole story coherent by providing firm support to other elements on the page.

Truly, blogs and articles need images because they improve the readability and flow of your content for your reader, and they also can help with SEO ranking.

Now let’s talk about how to optimize images for SEO.



Tips And Tricks On How To Optimize Images For SEO

Optimize Images For SEO - Image SEO

First of all, there are plenty of images you can choose from. Some examples are:

  • Photos
  • Infographics
  • Graphic illustrations
  • Tables
  • Screenshots

Choose the right one that will convey the message of your blog or article the best way.

So, let’s begin this list with...

1.

Use A Proper File Name

Using a proper file name is the first step in image SEO. Google looks at your filename for SEO, so your filename should be your keyword or focus keyphrase. 

For example, if your image shows a vital email marketing statistics of 2019, use email-marketing-statistics-2019.png instead of DSC3901.png.

Use The Proper File Name

The main keyphrase would be email marketing statistics because it is the main topic of the image, which is why it’s at the start of the file name.

2.

Use Alt Text And Captions

Another way to optimize images for SEO is to add Alt Text and Captions in images.

Alt Text is what shows up in place of the image if the image fails to load and should describe the image. It’s what browsers display to users with screen readers, as well as when users hover over the image.

Here’s a sample:

Alt Text Sample

This code describes the appearance and function of an image on a blog, article, or page.


Follow these simple tips and tricks in writing your image alt text:


  • Describe the image as accurately as possible.
  • Keep your alt text relatively short.
  • Always include your main keywords in the alt text.
  • Don’t stuff your alt text with so many keywords.
  • Never use “image of,” “photo of,” and the likes in your alt text.

Captions, on the other hand, are visible to users, usually beneath the image. Search engines like Google use both for search data.

Here’s a sample:

Image Caption Sample

Make sure to write relevant captions with your image to improve SEO ranking.


But Tim, “Do I need to add captions to every image in my blog?” Well, NO!

Sometimes using images serve other purposes. You should only use captions, where it would make sense. Always think about the readers first, and don’t add a caption just for the sake of image SEO.

3.

Create Image Sitemaps

According to Google,

You can use Google image extensions for sitemaps to give Google more information about the images available on your pages. Image sitemap information helps Google discover images that we might not otherwise find (such as images your site reaches with JavaScript code), and allows you to indicate images on your site that you want Google to crawl and index.

In other words, you can create an image sitemap with a standard sitemap to show Google where to find the images on your page and to make them appear in searches more efficiently.

Use this syntax outline that Google provided:

Syntax Outline By Google

Also, web building sites like WordPress have a lot of image sitemap plugins that you could choose from.

4.

Use The Correct File Type

Choosing the right image format is another vital step in optimizing images for SEO. GIF, PNG, or JPEG are usually your choices.

Here’s what you need to know about popular image formats:


  • JPEG - Use this format for larger images: it has the most functional file size while retaining clarity.
  • PNG - Use it to preserve background transparency of line drawings and text. Most professional photographers recommend it.
  • WebP - Use it to produce high-quality results with smaller file sizes. 
  • SVG - Use this format for logos and icons.
  • GIF - This format is perfect for moving images.

Always remember that for images, there’s no right format. It depends on the type of illustration and how you intend to use it.

5.

Use Responsive Images

If only internet users used the same screen size and resolution, then image SEO wouldn’t be a big problem for specialists like me.

But, we use different resolutions and screen sizes.

The best solution? The srcset image attribute.

It means the images adjust in size based on the user’s screen size. Some content management systems, like WordPress, enable this functionality automatically.

This article from HTLM.com will tell you more about the srcset attribute.

6.

Be Aware Of Copyright

Oh yes! Copyright is an essential issue in the digital world.

If you don’t own a photo and it’s not free for use, you could receive a notice under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), which will require you to take down your photo. In some cases, you will also be hit with fines for the unauthorized use. 

Stock photos sites like pexels.com and stockunlimited.com are an excellent place for royalty-free images.

And that's a wrap! Those are the ways on how to optimize images for SEO.

Remember these things when adding an image to a blog or article:

  • Always use the proper file name for your image.
  • Always include image alt text and only include captions when needed.
  • Create image sitemaps.
  • Use the correct file type for your image.
  • Use a responsive image or srcset attribute.
  • Always be aware of image copyright!

With these things in mind, you are sure that your images are highly optimized for search engines like Google.

Want to know more about image SEO? Check out the recommended resources below. Also, you are always welcome to TALK TO US if you need more help.

Recommended Image SEO Resources

Image SEO: 12 Actionable Tips (for More Organic Traffic)

Beginner’s Guide to Image SEO – Optimize Images for Search Engines

How to Optimize Images for Better Search Engine Rankings

What do you think about this article? Are you ready to optimize images for SEO?

Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.

Also, it would be a great honor if you think this article is worth SHARING with your friends and family.

Need more local SEO tips? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Local SEO.



Header image courtesy of Stockunlimited.

About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help small businesses & entrepreneurs eliminate the confusion of marketing by focusing on the fundamentals. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan.

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