Whether writing a blog or an online newspaper, you will sometimes wonder: “Does my article need images?” right? The answer is always YES.
Not only that, but images are also important to ensure that your content is more accessible, attractive, and engaging. Therefore, optimizing images is equally important in terms of SEO.
- First, they provide search engines with important contextual information.
- Second, optimized images will speed up the page load, helping to increase user engagement and rankings on Google engines.
So that’s why you should find yourself a detailed step-by-step image SEO guide. I used to be like you and understand what you need, so this is the article for you.
In this context, I will guide you in detail from A – Z How to image SEO on Google and how to optimize images properly.
First, let’s learn about the concept of image SEO.
What is image SEO?
What we mean by “image SEO” is the process of enhancing a website’s visibility in search engine results by enhancing the image’s content, quality, size, and other relevant metadata. The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) for images is to improve user experience and boost search engine rankings (SERPs).
Not only do we need to understand the notion, but also its purpose and the value it adds.
The following are some of our primary objectives while improving images:
- User satisfaction can be increased by providing them with more engaging material beyond just text. That’s why this target is so crucial.
- Improve Google’s ability to index and comprehend your content, and we’ll both benefit from a higher placement in the search results (SERP).
15+ Image SEO techniques from basic to advanced
After understanding the concept and criteria for image ranking, where should we start? Below are 15+ image SEO techniques from basic to advanced.
1. Find keywords to optimize images using Google’s image SEO tool
This is the first and foremost point to always remember: Investigation of Related Images Using Keywords.
The problem is that virtually NO ONE bothers with this. This is a disastrous oversight. How come I can say, “keywords are crucial for image SEO!” without any doubt? Here are some numbers for your perusal:
21% of all searches on Google and the entire Internet are for images.
This implies that you can get a leg up on the competition and make a ton of money from search engine traffic if you can get good at finding the right keywords to use in picture searches.
Mistakes are often committed when selecting keywords for image optimization
Is this your plan, or at least a rough outline of your current strategy?
The first step is to invest a lot of time in researching website search data to come up with keyword lists for content.
Then, after waiting 30 seconds, pick keywords at random from the list (without considering picture search statistics) and include them in the ALT tag.
After all that time, we can only wait and cross our fingers that some of the keywords will be used in Google image searches, bringing in at least some traffic from those searches.
If you don’t follow the steps of keyword research, you won’t get very far.
Because of this, I want you to alter your approach to selecting keywords for image SEO moving forward. If you want to get more out of your content, instead of picking the most important keywords, try The image will appear as its content item separate from the query.
After that, we’ll get into the meat of the article: picking effective SEO keywords. Rapid, high-quality photography. Please pay close attention and take notes, as what follows is both crucial and informative.
What keywords to use for image optimization and how to do it properly
Using a keyword research tool is the quickest and most efficient option. When asked for advice, I always tell people that Ahrefs is the best option out there.
The Ahref instrument has a wide variety of functions and settings, including:
To find related keywords using Ahrefs, start with the keyword “seed”.
Example: I enter the keyword “social media”. Here is what I get:
Ahrefs recommendations into topic categories. Means, you can easily determine the most relevant category. All you need to do next is choose a relevant keyword (with high search volume) and you’re done.
2. Increase CTR (and Ranking) with featured images
Currently, just doing a few simple searches with the target keyword right on Google, you will get a lot of suitable images.
However, if your website also uses those generic images, then you have become the killer of your EAT ranking.
Not only that… When using the same stock of images but hundreds of other websites… guess what? You will be competing with all those websites in Google image search.
Why do you need to optimize image CTR?
Thanks to innovations in Google’s algorithm, images that win higher engagement (number of scrolls and clicks) will move up the rankings. While images with low engagement will be moved down. In other words: To rank high in Google Images search – Your images must stand out!
The key to creating “striking” images that attract more attention and clicks is this: Identify what visual assets rank for, then create a completely different product.
The process consists of 3 simple steps:
- Check the search results for the target keyword.
- Take note of all important information.
- Do the opposite.
Example from Seosherpa
They conducted image optimization for the keyword “seo experiments” and found that all the illustrations are diagrams.
You can sort the Ahrefs suggestions by topic. That is to say, identifying the most applicable class is a breeze. Pick a term that fits your content (and has a lot of monthly searches) and you’re done.
2. Using featured photos to boost click-through-rate (and SEO ranking)
Many relevant pictures may now be found with only a few clicks and a search on Google for the desired phrase.
However, if you employ stock photos on your website, you will destroy your EAT ranking.
What’s more… When hundreds of other websites use the same pool of photos, guess what happens? To rank highly in Google Image Search, you will need to outdo all of those other websites.
The necessity to enhance click-through rates in images.
Thanks to updates in Google’s algorithm, pictures that receive more interaction (more scrolls and clicks) will rise in the search results. While less popular pictures will be pushed lower. To get a high placement in a Google Photographs search, your images need to be striking.
The secret to making “striking” photographs that get more views is to focus on these aspects: Find out how popular your graphic assets are, and use that data to inspire a new product.
There are only 3 easy steps to the process:
- Verify that your desired keyword appears in the top search results.
- Remember every vital detail.
- You should act in the opposite way.
Using Seosherpa as an example
After optimizing images for the term “seo experiments,” they discovered that every single one of the illustrative examples is a diagram.
In the end, the image optimization they chose was to create a completely different image. Specifically, the illustration is adjusted with a light background:
As a result, their images stand out and rank high in search results.
3. JPG, PNG or GIF: Get the right image file type
Did you know: Most people often choose the wrong image file extension, resulting in poor quality or large file size, or worst of all, both.
But these mistakes you will never make… Because you can make the decision to choose the right file type for the image. Here’s how to choose the best image file format for you:
- GIF – Suits the Purpose of Quick Animated Films (short animation). Also acceptable for photographs devoid of gradients. Small photos, screenshots, and gradients won’t look as beautiful as they would in the browser’s top bar.
- PNG – Useful for taking app screenshots and capturing gradients. Maintains the orderliness of the text at the expense of file size.
- JPEG – This works well for pictures of anything from people to landscapes to objects. This is not a useful tool for taking text or screenshots from apps and webpages.
Once you have selected the appropriate file type for the image. Open the image in the editing software, click export, save, you’re done!
4. Resize the image to the “optimal” ratio (and Bloat the Slash page)
The page you are viewing currently has a content area width of 640px.
The largest image size ever displayed is 640 pixels wide. If I upload an image wider than 1px, it’s a waste. If the image is larger than necessary, it will increase the page size and slow down the website.
In addition to loading larger images, my CMS will need to format and edit the images to fit the size of the page…
Back to the main point: Instead of just loading the image, let the website’s CMS reformat it – Reformat the image before you upload it. And there are plenty of tools available to help you edit images outside of WordPress.
Here are some suggestions I would like to give you:
- Pixlr – Free online tool that works well for small formats.
- Preview – Every Mac comes with this feature, which is all you need for simple image editing.
- ImageOptim – Free tool for Mac with “save for web” feature.
- RIOT – Free Image Optimizer for Windows.
- Photoshop – I like it because of the “save for web” option, which keeps the file size low without sacrificing quality.
Each of these tools allows you to resize the image to the desired pixel size without much loss of image quality.
Time for us, move on to step 5!
5. Image SEO Optimization Filename: 7 Useful Tips
The next important issue you have to accept is this: Google’s ability to recognize objects is still limited.
When I tested some images using Google Cloud Vision (the technology that powers image recognition in Google Search), here’s what I learned:
Google got it wrong so many times.
For better image recognition, Google still needs help. That’s why I recommend using descriptive filenames for images. When the file name defaults to DSC_14560.JPG the search engine returns nothing!
Therefore, you need to provide complete filename information that describes the subject of the image, indicating the exact content of the image. Based on that, Google tools will know how to rank images for what.
When deciding on a filename, follow these 3 steps:
- Description of the image.
- Include the target keyword (refer to step 1).
- 1-5 words long.
Once a filename has been selected, use “file > save as” on a PC or the “Command > i” function on a Mac to rename the file. Then click on SAVE and done.
Bonus: 4 Tips to improve image optimization for WordPress
- Use hyphens to separate words in your filenames. Dashes are preferred by Google over underscores.
- Remove stop words like; at, the, i, and, we because they are largely ignored by the search engines.
- Put the keyword at the beginning of the filename. If you are targeting the keyword “SEO Content”, then “seo-content-la-gi.jpg” is much better than “tim-hieu-seo-content.jpg”
- Be careful not to stuff the filename with keywords. The filename should actually describe what’s in the image.
Now that the image renaming is done, let’s move on to step #6.
6. Reduce image file size to optimize loading speed
The final step before uploading an image is to reduce the size of the file – the lighter the file, the better. Lighter images mean faster website loading, faster loading website means higher rankings.
To reduce image size, compress the image file. You can understand: Removes all unnecessary redundancies from the file while maintaining optimal image quality.
Example: See these two images:
Both images have the same size, same file type (.jpg), but one is 86% lighter than the other. That’s because the image on the right is already compressed.
Of course, to perform the image compression process, I will guide you through the simplest, most effective method. Here are some tools you can absolutely apply:
- ImageOptim – Google’s recommended tool.
- JPEG Optimizer
Out of all these tools, in my opinion imageOptim works the best. ImageOptim is best at compressing JPEG and PNG compared to other tools.
Slide ImageOptim sets PNG down to 40% for maximum compression
7. Optimize ALT Text (ALT Tag) images
Before going into the details of how to optimize images with ALT text, I want you to understand the basics below.
What is ALT text: Image ALT text, also known as “ALT tag”, “ALT description” and “ALT attribute”.
However, you may simplify things by thinking of ALT text as the text that stands in for the image if it doesn’t load.
The filename is also about all the Google bot “sees” when it “views” an image. So, if you include alt text in your source code… By doing this, you’re helping search engines better interpret the image’s content. This is the HTML equivalent of ALT text.
Example: Image ALT text: <img src=”kangaroo.jpg” alt = ”
Image ALT text best practices
1. Start by asking yourself, what information would be helpful to people who can’t see the images?
2. Complete the following sentence: “This is (n) a screenshot, photograph, or drawing of _________”
3. Remove all linking words from the resulting sentence and use the last part as the ALT text.
4. Be sure to describe specific results.
BONUS – If you have an e-commerce website, I recommend taking advantage of the functionality in the ALT tag. Timely buyers often search in Google images using the product ID.
5. Include the target keyword in the ALT text at the top of the tag.
6. Keep ALT text less than 125 characters – Screen readers stop reading ALT text in this range – Google can too.
But wait! What if you have already uploaded your images to your website? What you will do? Use the WordPress image file renaming plugin to update your website’s image filenames inside WordPress.
With just a few clicks, you can save your images with an image-optimized “image SEO friendly” filename.
8. Leverage image title attributes and captions to get higher rankings
These are two crucial (but frequently disregarded) aspects of image search engine optimization. According to Google’s Image Best Practices guide, which is how I learned of their significance:
The text of the website, including captions and image names, is parsed by Google to determine the image’s context. Place photos next to appropriate text and on pages that pertain to the images’ subjects whenever possible.
In other words, you’re missing out on a chance to attract readers and search engines if you don’t use the Title and Caption characteristics, or if you use them incorrectly.
Optimize Image Title Tag
For image titles, use a concise, descriptive, catchy title that complements the ALT text.
For example: If your ALT text is “Jumping kangaroo” then your title could be as simple as “Skippy kangaroo”
Write the correct image caption
However, the image’s title should accurately describe what it depicts. However, if the caption merely labels the parts of the image, it will have no effect on search engine rankings.
Rather, focus on the less-obvious aspects of the image, such as:
- Time of day or year.
- Or, a specific event is taking place.
This gives readers (and Google engines) more context about the image and potentially helps it rank for more keywords. In addition, to increase the ability to rank, add some LSI keywords to the caption.
For example, put into practice:
The improper caption for a photograph of a sunset would simply read “sunset,” which provides no further information to either human readers or search engine crawlers.
In contrast, the right way to caption your sunset photo might be: Moonrise and Sunset, February 2019, Houses of Parliament, London, UK.
Checklist of 6 optimization factors Image Title and Caption
- Concise, engaging and descriptive images.
- Different from ALT text.
- Contains the target keyword (or a close variant).
- The detailed description of the photo is not clear.
- One to two sentences long.
- Include LSI keywords.
9. Optimizing the display page
At this point, you have optimized the file and tag the image already.
Now, we come to the more advanced image optimization step that is to optimize Content Around images. The steps you need to take are as follows:
Step 1. Update the Page Title to include the target keywords.
Step 2. Modify the page’s URL to include the target keyword (or close keyword variations). Note, you should create short URLs and contain desired SEO keywords.
Step 3. The image is presented around the relevant content. The important thing here is the context.
If your web image is “blue-banana.png”. And, your file is sandwiched between two paragraphs about blue banana…
Of course now Google can be sure that “blue-banana.png” is indeed an image of Blue bananas. Tips to give Google context, take advantage of:
Meaningful content is the goal of Semantic SEO. The method of employing related keywords to elaborate on the “context” of the main term.
What you should do is this:
Begin by searching Google Images for your desired term. Google will provide you with terms that are analogous to your topic.
Second, conduct a standard Google search utilizing the same phrase. Click the “Searches related to…” link and look at the bottom results.
10. Create Sitemap and indexed images
Sitemaps help your content get indexed quickly and help become more in-depth when found. If you have a lot of images on your site, an Image Sitemap can ensure more images show up in image search results.
You can create stand-alone image sitemaps. Or, follow my instructions as follows: Make sure the images are in your XML Sitemaps. Specially. If you use the WordPress plugin and Yoast SEO, the images will automatically be added to the XML Sitemaps.
Here is a basic XML Sitemaps:
And here is an example with additional images:
You will see that the <image: image> and <image: loc> tags have been added.
Adding these other tags helps you provide more information to search engines.
My recommendation: Just install the Yoast SEO plugin and go!
11. Use SVG format for clearer images, lighter websites
SVG is used for simple logos, icons, text and images. The entire contents of Scalable Vector Graphics are text only.
Example: W3Schools. On the left side is the content of the file, and on the right side is the rendered version of the text, where you can see what it looks like. That’s exactly how the user will see the SVG file. If you try to change the color or size, the quality of the image will not be damaged, it will remain the same.
Using SVG files is another way to create a better website. You can still have PNGs and JPEGs on your website.
12. Optimizing EXIF data
When it comes to EXIF data, there are two things I recommend you do:
- Remove ALL unnecessary EXIF data (for lighter images and faster loading).
- Tagging images with relevant EXIF data is useful for SEO.
What is EXIF data?
Here’s what Wikipedia says:
The Interchangeable Image File Format is a standard that specifies formats for image, sound, and auxiliary tags used by digital cameras, scanners, and other systems that process image files. and the sound is recorded by a digital camera”.
In other words…
They are tags that can be added to an image’s file to provide further context.
How to optimize EXIF Data for WordPress image optimization
Begin by transferring the picture to exifer.net:
Then clean up the image of all EXIF data by ticking this box:
Next, search for the GPS location you want to tag your images for:
Fill in the Owner Name and Image Description fields.
13. Optimize Responsive Images (Tips to save load time)
In other words: This is the process of optimizing images to suit different screen sizes for users.
I’ll help you better understand how Responsive Images work with a quick example:
- User A views your website from the Desktop, so your website needs to provide a large image version.
- User B views your website from a Tablet, so your website needs to provide a medium sized version of the image.
- When user C views your website from a mobile device, of course your website should provide a small sized version of the image.
If you complete this process well, you will score high with consumers.
And it looks like this:
<img src = “image.jpg” srcset = “image.jpg 200w, image-medium.jpg 400w, images-large.jpg 600w”>
In the event that you do not have programming experience. To your relief, srcset generation is handled mechanically by WordPress (starting from WordPress 4.4).
For each image uploaded to WordPress, it generates the following versions:
- Thumbnail: Square crop (150px x 150px).
- Medium: Scaled up to a maximum of 300 pixels in width or height on the longest side.
- Medium-large: Resized to 768 pixels wide.
- Large: Resized so that the longest side has a width or height of 1024 pixels.
- Full: Original image.
All you need to think about is: Optimize the image by resizing the image to the largest size it will be displayed.
14. Use Lazy Loading
You can see that when using lots of images in each post and loading all of them together, the post will EVERYWHERE display.
That’s why you should use Lazy Loading. Lazy Loading is where the browser directs the loading of images (or any other object like video, embedded video, etc.) until they need to be displayed on the screen.
All other images are adjusted and loaded only when they are needed – i.e. when you scroll down that part of the page.
15. Browser Cache: How To Use It To Improve Image SEO
If you’ve done SEO, I’m sure you’ve already debated this: Does social impact SEO rankings?
Here’s the truth: Social “signals” are NOT a ranking factor. At least not a DIRECT ranking factor.
Google cannot see everything that goes on inside social networking sites. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others cannot access Google Bots.
As a result, a few factors that Google may see (likes, shares, etc.) are incomplete signals and are mostly ignored. Although social signals do not affect search rankings. Does that mean social is not good for SEO?
The answer is: Absolutely not!
When content is shared on social media, you increase the potential for links and build audience for your brand. Both of these are essential in SEO. To do this, you can refer to the following instructions:
Step 1. You need to add social share buttons at the top and side of the post, like this:
Step 2. You can create and show share buttons on all photos
16. Use Content Delivery Network (CDN) to speed up image load times
This is super hack Image SEO.
When you use a CDN, images will load faster. In fact, Woorkup’s testing proved that a page using a CDN will load up to 2x faster than a page without a CDN.
Here is the page load time without the CDN:
612 milliseconds. Not too bad! And here is the page with Content Delivery Network enabled
378 milliseconds. Much faster, right! Just adding a CDN reduced load times by 56.64%.
How CDNs work:
A content delivery network (CDN) eliminates the need for a single server to provide all of your photos by keeping copies of them in cache at many locations, called Points of Presence (POPs).
Since users are more likely to access material from a POP near them rather than a server located thousands of miles away, this is why… It takes only a moment to load!
There are many CDNs you can take advantage of:
- Amazon CloudFront
- Google Cloud CDN
And, many hosting providers like WP Engine have a CDN built in. But, be aware…
When using a CDN, the image of your page is not “located” on your website. Meaning image URLs used to look like this:
Now looks like this:
This is bad for SEO, because: If people embed your images on their website, they will link back to the CDN location, not your domain. The result is a loss of potential visitors and link juice.
Therefore, I recommend setting up a CNAME record.
17. Using Open Graph and Twitter Cards to Show Rich Snippets and Maximize Social Sharing (3 Step Recipe)
When it comes to Open Graph tags and Twitter tags I’ve always had one goal in mind: Optimize conversion rates for social media visibility. When they’re done right, these “tags” transform like social media snippets into incredibly compelling click-through rate magnets.
To maximize CTR using the og:image tag, you just need to do 3 easy steps:
Step 1: Pick a photo that won’t blend in with the other posts in the news feed. Pictures with lots of contrast and people in them tend to do quite well.
Caption – Make sure to match your image to the page (or post) to minimize bounce rate and maximize conversions.
Step 2: Resize the image to: 1200px wide x 628px high.
Locate the image in the Open Graph code.
<! – Open chart data ->
<meta property = “og:title” content = “Title Here” />
<meta property = ”og:type” content = “article” />
<meta property = ”og:url” content = ”http://www.example.com/” />
<meta property = ”og:image” content = ” http://example.com/image.jpg ” />
<meta property = ”og: description ”Content =”Description here”/>
If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin or the social media meta tag, this code is automatically generated when you complete the required fields:
Bonus: Open Graph and Twitter Card Tips
- Tailor unused headline ideas for your Open Graph and Twitter Cards titles.
- Network-based image and description editing. Display images and text that appeal to the unique interests of each online audience.
- Although Twitter is assumed to default to Open Graph tags if there is no Twitter Card markup on the page, you will get better controlled results if you use both types of markup on the page. In other words, take advantage of both fields for all social media sites in your chosen plugin settings.
18. Using Schema Markup
In addition to creating images. Until recently, almost your image did NOT make a splash on Google Image search right!? But then maybe you were introduced to this by Google and you came across it.
Image Badges show up in the bottom left corner of image thumbnails when users search on the Google app for Android and on the mobile web.
In other words: This Image Badges is shown to the vast majority of searchers because mobile search queries are more than 60:40 desktop queries according to Statista.
Google’s purpose with Image Badges is to categorize content for searchers:
Plus, direct them in the direction of their desired outcome. Think about this for a second:
Even though Joan wants to create cupcakes, she can’t decide on a flavor.
It’s difficult for her to find a picture that fits the formula, though. A search for Joan’s photos returned a page with nothing but pie photos, while a search for pies returned a website containing everything you could possibly want to know about pies, except for the recipe. Feelings of annoyance and helplessness are evident on Joan’s face.
You can assist Joan (and others like her) by incorporating schema markup into your website’s pages to make these badges visible.
There are currently four forms of image markup that Google recognizes: products, recipes, movies, and GIFs.
Including the proper schema markup on the page is all that’s needed to make it search engine friendly.
- Recipe markup on recipe pages.
- Product markup on product pages.
- Video markup on pages with videos.
For good image SEO, you will have to go through many steps. In the context of Google’s image recognition getting better and better, you should… Make sure to optimize images and all other related factors to provide a good user experience as well as SEO.
Please note the following points when inserting images into posts:
- Use relevant images corresponding to the content
- Name the image file appropriately
- Make sure the image size corresponds to the image size when displayed
- Use srcset if possible
- Reduce file size for faster downloads
- Add captions when needed to make it easier to scan pages
- Use alt text for images instead of title text
- Add structured data to your website images
- Add OpenGraph and Twitter Card tags for images
- Do not align the image to the left. Please align to the right or center
- Using images in XML sitemap
Besides SEO and UX (user experience) factors, optimizing images for your website also helps increase conversions for your business. Therefore, pay more attention to image SEO (image optimization) – An important factor that a lot of people are currently missing.