The images you use on your blog aren’t simply meant for decorative purposes. In fact, you can optimize your blog images to help improve your SEO score. However, image SEO isn’t something that most users take seriously – which is a shame considering it is super simple.
But with that being said, it is an area where you can outperform your competitors who are not keeping a close eye on their image SEO. As such, we have put together this detailed guide going over all the tips and tricks to optimize blog images for SEO.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
1. Use High-Quality Purposeful Images
The web crawlers or search engine bots won’t be able to understand that you have added an image of your cat in a blog about dogs. But your readers will find your choice of imagery jarring which might take away from the user engagement.
Long story short, if your images aren’t serving a purpose and are only used as fillers, then your users won’t enjoy that leading to decreased interaction or increased bounce rate – both of which the search engine bots can detect.
As such, always try to use relevant images that provide value to the user. Also, make sure they are not blurry or badly cropped which can make your site look unprofessional. The goal is to provide high-quality purposeful images.
2. Optimize Your Images
We just told you to include high-quality images that are high-res and well detailed. However, these can be as large as a few MBs. And if you keep adding more of these heavy images, then it will become a load on your server and database.
This is why you need to optimize your images by compressing their file-size. There are dedicated apps for this purpose. You will see a significant reduction in file size without any noticeable change in the image quality.
3. Try To Use Unique Images, Without Copyright
Now, you should include high-quality images, but don’t take them from copyrighted sources. Not only will it affect your image SEO but also get you into legal trouble.
It is always recommended that you use your own images or graphics. However, it can get tricky if you aren’t a photographer or graphic designer, or if you simply don’t have the time to make your own images.
In that case, try to find images that are under the public domain or share the creative commons’ licensing. Here are some websites that might be helpful:
4. Add An Image Caption
You should also take your time to add an image caption. It is the extra bit of text that accompanies the image. It is generally used to provide some context about the image to the user.
Top publications use the image caption feature to add extra bit of information along with the image for their audience to read. However, it can also be used to help you avoid copyright issues.
For example, some users or websites might let you use high-quality images, but only if you cite them as the source of the image. You can do so using the image caption.
Just write Image Credit: Source and you are good to go.
5. Use Alt Tags
On the subject of image captions, did you know that images can have alt tags? These are basically alternative texts meant as a substitute for the images when the browser fails to load the image. As such, use this to write a short sentence on what the image represents.
Also, remember when we said that the search engine bots can’t understand what the image is about? But they can read the alt tags!
Therefore, by including SEO-friendly alt tags, you offer search engines with additional information about your post. This, in turn, can even help you rank higher on the search engine ladder.
6. Give A Relevant Filename
You might have noticed that image filenames are generally alphanumeric strings that look like this – “IMG_25022020.jpg”. Now granted the users won’t be able to see the file name while reading your blog post, but similar to alt tags, search engines can read filenames.
As such, it is considered a best practice that you change the image filename into something relevant, preferably along with the target keyword. By including the keywords in your images, you are avoiding the penalties from keyword stuffing but enforcing the main theme of your blog post.
7. Use Responsive Images
With the majority of online traffic coming from mobile devices, search engines are incentivizing websites that are mobile-friendly or responsive. However, this extends to image SEO as well.
A responsive image will adjust and scale to the size of the users’ screen. But how do you make an image responsive? Well, you will need to add the secret attribute which will make it possible to scale the image depending on the screen width.
WordPress users have access to plenty of plugins that can help out as well.
8. Add Image to Your Sitemap
This is a big image SEO part that users tend to overlook.
You can either add images to your existing sitemap, or you can create a dedicated sitemap for your images. The end goal is to make sure you have added images somewhere in your sitemap.
A sitemap helps search engine bots and web crawlers to properly index everything on your website. As such, after working so hard on image SEO, won’t it be a shame if the search engines miss indexing your images completely?
Now creating an image sitemap is similar to creating a sitemap of your posts and pages. WordPress users even have access to dedicated sitemap plugins that can help with the job.
I hope this article helped you learn how to optimize blog images for SEO. You may also want to see our guide on how to speed up WordPress site.