How to do Image Optimization for SEO

On-page Optimization and Image optimization are the basic steps for your SEO campaign. As the Search Engines are getting smarter and more intelligent, the process of achieving a good search ranking is getting more complex. Now it takes much more than just quality content to get to the top. There are many factors that contribute to showing up well in search engine rankings, one of the most important of them is the on page optimization. More over, if you take your own screen-shots or create your own images, you should read: How to use flickr to drive huge traffic.

Image Optimization for SEO
Onpage Optimization is the pillar of your SEO and one of the most important on page optimization factors is image optimization.
Image SEO optimization is one of the building blocks of on page optimization. Images are a strong visual component of a webpage. They say that a ‘Picture is better than a thousand words’.

Read: 4 ways how images enhance your blog Post

If used properly they can transmit your message in just a single glance while a careless use of images can destroy your whole impression. In addition to this, images can be a good source of traffic from Google Image Search and other Image Search engines.
The most important Image Optimization factors include the alt tag, title tag, image size, image name and image linking.

Image optimization for SEO Techniques

Image Relevance

Image relevancy is important when it comes to image optimization for SEO. An image of a train on a page related to Ferrari will do you no good. I know its common sense but this step is so important that I just can’t miss it out.

Alt Tag

The Alt tag is probably the most important image optimization factor. Alt stands for alternate. The text in the alt tag is displayed in place of the image if the image can not be shown or is taking too long to load.
Most of the major search engines are text-based, i.e they can not read images and videos. The location of your images appears as an empty space to the search engines. These empty spaces are not in any way good for your overall SEO. The alt tag not only tells the search engines that there is an image placed here but also informs it about the topic of your image.
A good practice for the ALT tag is to keep your alt tags short but descriptive. Fill your alt tags with search engine friendly information but don’t try to go too far. For example, the alt tag for a picture of a birthday party should be something like this:  alt=”my son ronin second birthday party”

Image Size and hosting

Image size is a very crutial factor for your overall user experience. Images can make your page heavy. Put up a webpage that takes more than 10 seconds to load, and your users will escape faster than you can say “back button”. After the recent Panda update, the loading time of pages has become a vital part for your SEO ranking as the total time of visit has become more important as a SEO algorithm. So its important to keep your images low in bytes. Yahoo Smushit is a great tool to wipe out the excess bytes from your images making them lighter.

Image hosting is another important factor especially when it comes to driving traffic from Google Image Search. The factors on which the images for Google Image Search are chosen is kept hidden but some say that image hosting is one of the important factors for the choice. It is said that images hosted on the same domain as the text are given more value than the images hosted at another domain like a free image hosting site. Another important algorithm for Google Image Search is how the images are blended with the text on the page.

File name

Just as keywords are important in url, the same goes for images. Keyword rich file names can help a SE determine relevancy. Avoid using default image file names like, “DSC0019.jpg” as it does not give much information about the image. Use descriptive filenames with keywords separated by “-” (hyphen). For example, “steve-jobs-on-the-launching-of-iphone.jpg”. Specially if you are using SEO friendly images plugin for WordPress, it’s very useful as it converts image file name into ALT tag.

Title Tag and image linking

Images are eye-catching so are perfect for linking. But proper image linking techniques can offer even better results. One of the basic tips for image linking is to avoid linking your images directly. Always use relevant anchor texts whenever linking your images. This is even more effective for your SEO when embedding images in a guest post or other pages intended to get a link back to your site.
Remember to use a title tag whenever linking your images. Title tag provides a tool tip when you hover your cursor over a link. Use relevant keywords and SEO friendly description and your title tags will rock.

These are simple tips for SEO image optimization which are not only effective for your SEO but can also boost your traffic. If you are wondering how to get images for your blog, you should read:

Do let us know if you do any SEO optimization for your Images on blog? Or you missing out some nice chunk of traffic from images?

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COMMENTs ( 9 )

  1. Vish says

    Excellent tips Anasshad. I have used picasa for image re-sizing and it has worked out great. will give yahoo smushit a try

  2. Priya says

    Good article. Infact I recently migrated to WordPress from blogspot and no words to express that the load time of my site decreased to just 3.8 seconds which was almost 25 seconds when I was in blogspot. The main reason is Im a stock market analyst and Ive to write articles with so many charts in the articles. It use to take much time when I was in blogspot. But now Im using wp-smush it plug-in that really helped a lot. apart from that I use wp-super cache and ultimately brought down my loadtime to 3.8 seconds.
    And yes, using ALT attribute is really good. I use to do this manually in blogspot but in WordPress it made my task much easier than ever imagined.

  3. Bevyshop says

    Emphasis on Alt Tag, But if u concentrate more on Alt tag which results in SPAM, Image name and Page load time does matter, Google Teams are wiser than you if u gonna target on ALT Tag

  4. Reegon - Texturee says

    Great tips Anasshad! Thanks for sharing with us. But I have a question about the filenames. Can I use underline instead of hyphen when I write more descriptive filenames? Is that bad for SEO or it is the same thing as using hyphen.

    Thnx in advance

  5. Vijayraj Reddy says

    Out of these i think “Alt Tag” is important one as search engines read the Alt Tag..

  6. Eric Murphy says

    Image optimization is one of the most important thing of SEO. alt tag plays a nice role because search engine cannot read the image but it can read the text you read as the alt tag.

    Great share dude. This post can help to the junior SEOs

  7. Amrik Virdi says

    I’m only just learning about image optimisation, but do have a question about hotlinking and how it may affect ranking in google images.

    Example, one of my sites has an image of a small furry animal and a post which references this animal a lot. The image is the first result in a google images search for the animal name, and appears as one of the images on a regular google web search for the same term. I get about 600 hits per day via this image.

    Recently someone has hotlinked to this image, so the image appears on their site and the code obviously links directly to the image at mydomain/myimage.jpg – there is no actual html link to the image or me from their site.

    What impact will this have on the google ranking?

    Does the fact it is pulling from my site make it slightly beneficial, or will the image search in google eventually show my image but link to their site?

    Any thoughts appreciated.
    Best regards,
    -Amrik Virdi :)

  8. Gog says

    I always searching images at So make sure to insert the title which you target into to the images by using HTML code for SEO purposes. The images can help site owners to increase traffic and also sales.

  9. VISHAL says

    I think Alt Tag plays most important role in SEO things… Thanks for the nice tips man.