How to Optimize Images for Search Engines

search engine optimization for images

According to the Houston Chronicle, the average person’s attention span is eight seconds and internet users will only read 28 percent of words on a page. To capture a person’s attention, you have to add attention-grabbing images. However, you have to avoid using large images because they will slow down your site. Furthermore, if your website takes too long to load visitors will become impatient and leave. Below we will outline how to optimize your site’s images for search engines.

Select Images

Finding an image for your site can be challenging because it’s important that you choose an image that is relevant and best represents your brand. Before deciding on an image, follow these three rules:

  1. Choose a unique image.
  2. Make sure the image is relevant to the content on the page.
  3. Ensure the image is appealing.

Humans are visual creatures so successfully selecting the perfect image will improve the amount of time people engage with your site.

Become Your Own Hero Image

According to Business Insider, 30 percent of content online is duplicate content. If we take our own pictures then this gives us a considerable edge over the competition. You can create your own images by holding a photoshoot or using software like Photoshop. If you decide to go ahead with stock images we recommend making minor touch-ups to make them more personalized.

If you’re unable to produce your own images, the next best step is to find royalty-free stock images.

Four of our favorite sites to grab free images from are:

  • Pexels
  • Pixabay
  • Unsplash
  • Gratisography

Properly Name Your Images

It should come as no surprise that every image should have a unique file name. Including a keyword in the image file name is a quick and easy way of optimizing your image. However, be careful not to keyword stuff your file name. Instead, use plain language and be as descriptive as possible.

Limit File Size

In the world of mobile devices, loading speed is our enemy. The goal of any search engine is to show users the most relevant content with the best user experience possible. If our page takes too long to load, the user’s experience will suffer. So it’s critical we reduce our image file size to help improve your user’s experience. There are countless sites that will allow you to compress your images. Just be careful not to reduce your image size too much or you could lower its quality.

The digital marketing agency The Kaanen Group highly recommends using Pingdom to help you find large images on your site.

Utilize the Right File Types

Simply put, search engines love high-quality images. Therefore, the best file formats wouldn’t significantly lower your image quality.

These are the two most popular file types:

  • JPEG: Best for realistic images or graphics with multiple colors.
  • PNG: Best for images with fewer graphics and colors.

Implement Alt Text and Captions

26 percent of online searches are image searches. As a result, it is imperative to include keywords in your alt text and captions. Again, try not to keyword stuff.

Here’s an example of what a good alt text and caption would look like:

Alt Text = “brown dog” Caption = “brown dog playing with a tennis ball”

Image optimization is a lot of work. By following our best practices for optimizing images for search engines you’ll be generating more traffic in no time.



Ashley Macdonald
Ashley has recently joined the FeedsPortal content writing team and brings with her a wealth of journalistic experience, which we believe our readers will find extremely useful.

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