How to Optimize Image to Improve SEO for Better Rankings

When most people think of search engine optimization (SEO), they tend to associate it with optimizing text-based content using keywords. However, websites nowadays no longer rely solely on text, and odds are yours uses its fair share of images too. As such, it is important that you optimize your image SEO as well if you want to rank well on search engines.

Although you may be used to dealing with SEO in general, image SEO is a slightly different beast. It relies on the same principles as regular SEO, but because search engines can’t ‘see’ images (at least not correctly) they rely on other means to translate those images and determine their relevance. Because of that, a good part of image SEO focuses on making it as easy as possible for search engines to determine what the content of a picture actually is.

Don’t worry if you’re unsure how that can be accomplished, as it isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds. In fact, all you need to do is take care of a few different aspects:

Recommended reading: SEO is the Key to Business Success. But How?.

Use descriptive file names for images

How to Optimize Image SEO for Better Rankings - Point 1Because search engines can’t ‘see’ images, they often rely on file names to determine what the content of a picture is. That is why you should steer clear of generic file names (e.g. IMG2334.jpg) and instead use descriptive ones such as ‘half-eaten-apple-illustration.jpg’. The more descriptive the file names, the better, and if you want to go the extra mile, you can even carry out research into what type of keywords are used to search for the content of the image and optimize it accordingly.

Make use of alt tags

How to Optimize Image SEO for Better Rankings - Point 2Alt tags are essentially just a text-based alternative that will show up if a picture doesn’t load. That may sound unimportant, but in terms of SEO, it is actually critical as it is meant to contain a description of the image and so search engines use it frequently. While you will want to write descriptive alt tags and use keywords just be sure that you don’t stuff them, and make sure that they always remain relevant to the images that they’re describing.

wordpress seo tips - image alt attribute

Reduce the image file size

How to Optimize Image SEO for Better Rankings - Point 3One fundamental aspect of SEO is how fast it loads – and pictures can slow down a website quite a bit if you aren’t careful. That is why wherever possible you should try to reduce image file sizes to the smallest possible value without affecting their quality too much. It is worth noting that if your website takes too long to load visitors are likely not to hang around and wait – so that makes it all the more necessary to reduce the file size of your images. If you are in WordPress, you can even take help from some useful plugins which can optimize all your images on the fly when you upload it to your site. WP Smush or EWWW Image Optimizer can be a good choice.

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Use responsive images

How to Optimize Image SEO for Better Rankings - Point 4In the past, most of your visitors would be using computers, but nowadays a got chunk of traffic consists of mobile users on tablets and smartphones. Because of the different screen sizes of these devices, it is often preferable to use responsive images that will load different dimensions of the same image depending on the screen width of the device. Needless to say, this will help make sure your website loads as quickly as possible, which is why it helps with your SEO.

Create image sitemaps

How to Optimize Image SEO for Better Rankings - Point 5Sitemaps are used to let search engines know about all the different components of a website, and you can either add images to an existing sitemap or create a standalone image sitemap. Doing so will make it easier for search engines to crawl and identify images on your website, especially if they are embedded in JavaScript, pop-ups or other forms that aren’t called out directly in the code. Once you create an image sitemap, you can submit it to Google or other search engines directly.

Final Thoughts

How to Optimize Image SEO for Better Rankings - conclusionAs you can see a lot of the aspects involved in image SEO are really fairly straightforward – though some may require a few tweaks or alterations to your website and its images. I can recommend a tool called Movavi Photo Editor. With this tool, you can easily edit your images and crop them to be a better size, change their format, and much more. In fact, it will also let you improve the quality of your images so that they look better on your website. You can make use of filters, digital makeup, and other effects so that they stand out. All in all, by improving your images and optimizing their SEO, your website should not only rank better on search engines and reel in more traffic, but it will also perform better and look more appealing to visitors too.

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Published By: Souvik Banerjee

Souvik BanerjeeWeb Developer & SEO Specialist with 15+ years of experience in Open Source Web Development specialized in Joomla & WordPress development. He is also the moderator of this blog "RS Web Solutions".