When it comes to using photos on your website or in your blog posts, there are a few steps you should take to make sure each image is properly optimized for SEO. When done correctly, optimized images can help your web pages be found in relevant search queries.
1. Save Each Image For Web Viewing and Make Sure the File Size is Relatively Small
You don’t want to upload a 3 MB image to your website! Instead, aim for under 100kb per image. If your image editor allows, make sure you optimize each image for web viewing – this step will automatically shrink the image to a smaller file size. A few reasons why the size of your images is important:
- Images will load quickly
- Visitors don’t feel like something is wrong
- Search engines don’t penalize your site for loading slowly
2. Save Each Image With A Title That Describes the Image and Uses Targeted Keywords
Don’t upload images with file names like DSC4506! Updating the file name can help search engines understand your visual assets and return them in relevant search results. Also, make sure to use lower case letters and separate words with dashes, not underscores or spaces.
- Do this: changing-careers-job-development.jpg
- Not this: Job_ChangerBOOKS.jpg
3. Optimize the Title, Description and Keyword Field of Each Image File
Before you upload images to your website, right-click on the image and select the properties option (note: this option may only be available for JPG files). Then, navigate to the Details tab where you can edit the title, subject and tags fields.
- Title: Outline the topic using different terminology and keywords from the actual title of the page or blog. Then, append this information with a hyphen and your full company name. If the title of your webpage is Changing Careers? 20 Books to Ease the Transition, the title field should look something like Helpful Books to Find Your Dream Job – ABC Publisher.
- Subject: Use this field to further describe the image or page topic. For our book example, this might look something along the lines of Check out our list of books that will ignite your career goals and development.
- Tags: Use 3 separate keywords that support the image or webpage topic – don’t add more than this, it isn’t necessary. While it’s helpful if these tags tie into your targeted keyword terms, don’t force it! Examples are career goals, career change, job development.
4. Identify an Alt-Tag For Each Image
When you upload a photo to your website you should see a field for Alternative Text, Alternate Text or Alt Text. Use this field to describe what is in the photo or describes the topic of the webpage – if possible and appropriate, try to use one of the targeted keywords for the page. For our job search example this might be something like Achieve job search success with tips from one of these helpful books. This field is still subject to search engine optimization best practices, however, so don’t stuff or over-stuff keywords into the image if the image and content itself don’t warrant it.
The Importance of Image Optimization for SEO
Optimizing images on your website is just one step of a multi-tiered approach to website search engine optimization. This practice cannot be ignored and will help your web pages be found in relevant search results.
Moving forward, try to follow these suggested steps for each new image, illustration, logo or graphic that you upload to your website. And, if resources allow, we’d also suggest updating and replacing each image on your website in accordance with these guidelines. If done correctly, such efforts will contribute to your keyword rankings and overall success of your SEO program.