How To Optimize Images For SEO: 9 Important SEO Tips
How many times have you heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”?
Maybe a thousand time. And it’s true. An image can make a huge difference. That’s why we add images to every blog post.
But images can make your blog post worst if they are not optimized properly. Several things can happen like violating the copyrights, slowing down the page speed, not conveying the right messages, etc. And all of these will affect On-Page SEO.
If you want to avoid these issues, you need to optimize your images for SEO. Here I’ll be sharing 9 Image Optimization SEO Tips.
Let’s get started.
1. Use The Right Images
The very first thing you need to do is, find the right images for your blog post. These could be downloaded images, custom-made images, or screenshots. Whatever the images are, make sure that those image suit your blog post.
In case of downloaded images, you need to be careful. You can’t download a random image from Google and use it on your blog. It might get you in trouble if the original image owner files a report.
So what’s the solution? The solution is royalty free images. There are plenty of sites that offer royalty free images. Here are some of my favorite places:
You can also create your own graphics. For this, you don’t need to have Photoshop skills. Some fantastic online graphic design tools can help you to make stunning graphics. Here are my favorite ones.
2. Use The Right Image Format
After finding the right images, it’s time to choose proper image format. There are three popular image formats - JPEG, PNG, & GIF.
Here is some information about these formats.
Here is an example of a picture on different formats.
My recommendation is to use JPEG when quality is not a big issue. For high quality, use PNG. And use GIF only for animations.
3. Resize The Image
Uploading an image without resizing is a common mistake. And it's very harmful. It can slow down your site.
If you content area width is 700 px, the size of the images should not exceed 700 px. Even if the big size picture looks fit in the blog post, it takes time to fit in and makes the page slower. So make sure that the images don’t cross the content area.
4. Give Proper Image File Name
Sometimes, images are titled as img0001.jpg, dse4400.png, etc. These can’t be the proper names. An appropriate name should contain real words that describe the image.
However, an image can be used for many purposes. And the name of the image should be titled according to the purpose. For example, if you use a photo of a kitchen on your food blog, you should give it a proper name rather than just kitchen.png.
Another important thing is to use hyphens in the name to separate words. (image-optimization.png is better than imageoptimization.png.)
5. Reduce The File Size Without Losing Quality
Like resizing the image, reducing the file size is also crucial. A heavy image can slow down your page load time significantly. As page speed is a Google ranking factor, you have to make sure that your images are optimized for speed.
While you can use plugins like WP Smush to compress and optimize images, I prefer using online image optimization tools. You can try these following tools.
TinyPNG is my personal favorite. Here's an example of what TinyPNG can do. BTW, it also supports JPG compression.
BTW, I am using FocusBlog of Thrive Themes which has a built-in “Image Optimization” Feature. I just upload the images and it does the rest.
6. Write SEO-Friendly Alternative Text
With the help of machine learning, now Google bots can understand what an image is about even if it doesn’t have any title or alt text.
But an alternative text is essential to let Google bots know about the purpose and details of the image. On the other hand, it helps visually impaired users to understand the pictures. Alternative text is also shown when an image is not loaded properly.
You can quickly add Alternative Text while uploading the image to your WordPress blog.
Here are some best SEO practices for alt text.
7. Use Captions if Needed
Using captions has no SEO benefit, but it can make your image engaging. And the surprising thing is, people notice captions more than the blog context.
But captions should be used carefully. You don’t need to use captions on every image. Just use caption when you feel right.
I’ve tried captions to generate affiliate sales. And it did work. So if possible, add affiliate links on your captions.
You can add caption easily after uploading the image to your WordPress blog.
8. Optimize Images For Social Media
Social signal is a Google ranking factor. That’s why it’s important to optimize your images for different social media networks.
Every social media has its own way to display the visual content. For example, Pinterest prefers tall images whereas square images work better on Instagram. In case of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, horizontal images work best.
Whatever the social networking sites you are targeting, make sure that you’ve optimized your images correctly. Here are the recommended image sizes for different social media sites.
Optimizing images for all social media sites is difficult. I prefer targeting 2 or 3 social sites at a time. You can use Yoast SEO Plugin to show the specific image on Facebook and Twitter.
9. Submit Image Sitemap
Submitting image sitemap is not that much essential if you’ve submitted your XML Sitemap to Google. It does the job pretty much well.
But if you are running an image based blog and want to make sure that all of your uploaded images are indexed by Google, you can use Image Sitemap.
There are only few Image Sitemap plugins in WordPress directory. Udinra All Image Sitemap is the most updated plugin. You can try this plugin.
It seems that you have to do a lot of work just for optimizing the images. But it doesn’t require too many tasks. Once you make it a habit, it will be easier for you.
Now let us know if you have any other tips for image optimization. And if you found this post useful, please help me by sharing this post on your favorite social media network.