Why image optimization SEO?

Whether you are a blogger or a news article writer, you must have thought of adding relevant images to heighten the impact of your text. Images not only help your readers better understand what you want to convey but also spice up seemingly boring words and contribute well by making your digital media posts more attractive. 

Google’s vision for the future of search supports adding images to attract traffic to your posts. Recently Google Images has revamped its interface and facilitated its users with new filters, attributions, and metadata. Isn’t it proving that the world’s top visited search engine knows what an image is and how it fits into context? 


Finding the Right Image

Besides writing, images are the most important components available on any website. They not only make your page and post attractive but also play a vital role in enhancing the user’s curiosity and making them understand better. In addition to this, product images also drive users towards making quick decisions during online shopping. 

Moreover, Google ranks textual content with images higher than that without images. That’s why Google Image content is a major ranking foundation for any website. To get a higher ranking, image optimization goes hand in hand with website optimization. 

There are a couple of websites where you can find Royalty-Free images for your blog: 

All content on Pixabay can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use across print and digital, except in the cases mentioned in “What is not allowed”.

All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.


Image optimization and keywords

When an image is optimized perfectly, it results in better visibility of the site and brings a lot of new visitors. In a broader context, image optimization SEO is a vital part of Website SEO because images produce high-quality content to influence your website ranking in Google search. 

If you want to get benefit from image SEO, you should assist search engines to discover your images and accordingly list them with the right keywords. 

image optimization seo strategy


Elements of image Optimization

The following aspects should be taken into serious consideration for optimizing images. 


1. File size

The file size of an image is its first and foremost important factor; huge size will really result in crawling for Googlebot. Additionally, size also impacts the loading speed and that is a dominant ranking factor. Therefore, it should be fast enough.

Why is it important? Take a look at these statistics of page abandonment:

image optimization seo statistics

 * Courtesy of ThinkWithGoogle 

Speed plays a vital role in SEO and user experience. Search engines rank faster websites higher and the same goes for the image search. Images can increase page load time because a picture takes more time to load than text. It means large images will definitely result in slower loading.


2. Image compression

In many cases optimizing images involves their compression. Here is an absolutely free simple and easy to use tool that offers compression:

CompresJPG and CompressPNG

image optimization seo compression


3. File format

In blogs most common formats being used – PNG, GIF or JPG.

JPG is well-suited for photos and PNG is highly recommended for graphics and screenshots. Both of them keep the file size as short as possible.

A one-second delay in page load time has been shown to cause a 7 percent loss in conversion and 11 percent fewer page views. | Bigcommerce.com 


4. File name

The file title is another critical determinant for image rankings in image search. That’s why there should be all the necessary keywords; these keywords should be in line with image content and also correlate with the file name.

Create customized rich descriptive file name; use hyphens instead of underscores and avoid special characters in the file name. File name alerts search engines as per the content of the image. Descriptive file names not only improve rankings but also assists Google to classify your website. So, avoid naming your file as “image001” instead use a product name like “Samsung A21s.jpg” for product image of a cell phone model by Samsung.


5. Image size

Large images affect more positively on image SEO ranking than small images. 300 pixels are generally recommended for one side of an image. Thumbnails do not position well but they can be used if a bigger version is available to display by clicking them.


6. Image format

The most clicked format for an image is 4:3. You should strategically keep yourself at bay from large and high formats; because there are chances that it might result in cut off of image from one side. 


7. URL and folder structure

Folder arrangement of an image within URL must have a thematic reference to an image content as an appendix to file title e.g. www.Onlineshop.com/smartphones/iphone-11.jpg 


8. Picture content

Apart from all the technical features of a picture, you should be considerate of picture content for image SEO. For instance, infographics should be carefully orchestrated to give all the important information. Generally, picture content must coordinate with the subject of the page. You should utilize exclusive and personal pictures as a quality sign and make your website distinguished from your competitors.  


9. EXIF data

This is the information that is stocked within the header of file image including capturing date, location, and name of the camera. This built-in function is available in many cameras but you can also add it later on with picture editing programs. Google can read it from the image itself; however, it does not have any impact on website ranking.


10. Image surroundings

An imperative element of image SEO is prompt nearness of content with the image; because with it, Google can comprehend the thematic context of the image. It should contain all the necessary keywords for optimization. This is also applicable to the subheadings over an image. 


11. Position

Pictures are best fitted to elevate website content. You should make their use only when they really coordinate with the subject matter of your page and prove advantageous for users. 


12. Title attribute

It illustrates image titles for users when they move the cursor over the image. Hence, the title is less significant for Google than for website visitors. It should give the content description in a nutshell. Moreover, you should also use important keywords. 

The image title tag is synced to a WordPress blog while the image itself will reside in our Amazon S3 server.

image optimization seo in blogely


13. Alt attribute

It indicates the content that is shown when picture can’t be displayed because of some server issue or bad internet connection. It also facilitates blind people since screen readers read it out. Furthermore, this short text shows picture content and carries all essential keywords. You should not duplicate title because give a sign to Google about your inefficiency in planning your website. Also, incorporate visual components of an image in title and alt properties because users usually look for such attributes e.g. purple shoes. 

Example of an alternative name for the image in the Blogely app. It contains a focus keyword for this article. 

image optimization seo in blogely alt name

Note that this image alternative name should be used to desctible image, so keep that in mind and do not staff it wit hkeywords mindlessly. 


14. Mark ups and annotations

It can offer assistance in crawling and classification by search engines. When using annotations for SEO purposes, remember to keep optimization in mind.

image optimization seo annotations


15. IMG tag

You can embed picture size to expedite the loading speed of the image file.


image optimization seo in tags

* Courtesy of W3schools


16. Internal linking and repetition of images

An intelligent internal linking positively affects website SEO. For pictures, use thumbnails for illustration. Repetition of images also creates a positive impact on ranking in search results.  

Example of internal linking using the Blogely app. It will be synced to a WordPress blog.

image optimization seo in blogely internal links


17. External linking

External links are crucial elements for website SEO. The image can contain an external link that points to another website for related content that supplements the provided information. It can create a positive impact on the ranking of contained images. 


18. Make sure to make image mobile-friendly

Images have inherent dimensions. Smaller size mages cannot be stretched without distortion or losing its quality – they will get pixelated. There are some responsive image techniques using CSS to make it mobile-friendly. You can give images a percentage-length unit (or any relative-length) for their width property and use another property auto-scale. 


image optimization seo in css

* Courtesy of W3schools 

Blogely example of image size adjustment:

image optimization seo make mobile friendly


19. SafeSearch

This is the default setting available on Google. That’s why it is necessary to look that some photos of your website may not be secured safely by Google and resultantly may not appear in search. In such a case, you should block files in robots.txt records for crawlers, or on the off chance, Google will remove all your website pictures from search results. 

When SafeSearch is on, it helps filter out explicit content in Google’s search results for all your queries across images, videos, and websites. While SafeSearch isn’t 100% accurate, it’s designed to help block explicit results, like pornography, from your Google search results. Learn more about how to stay safe online at safety.google. 


20. Longtail Search Inquiries

Much like website SEO, it is usually easily accessible to attain a high ranking for exceptionally particular longtail search inquiries within the setting of image SEO. 


21. Image sitemap

You may already have an XML sitemap for your website, and your image information should be included in it. However, you can create a separate XML sitemap just for your images. If you want to create an image sitemap, you can add extra information about images in your sitemap, such as image location, caption, and more.

Having images (many) in a sitemap considerably increases the chances of engines crawling and indexing images. Therefore, it results in higher site traffic.

Note: your website can have multiple sitemaps. Yes, you can have a sitemap for posts, another one for images, tags, etc.

Simple setup in RankMath plugin resolves this issue:

image optimization seo in plugin


Benefits of Image SEO

  • Better visibility

Image SEO improves the visibility of images in Google image search. If the images are exceptionally significant for a specific search inquiry, they can also be displayed in general google search.  

  • Increased traffic

A high ranking of images generates high traffic on your website. To generate more traffic, use attractive images to grab the user’s attention and get more clicks on images.  

Image optimization is important because images influence users to make buying decisions, so e-commerce websites especially take benefit from image optimization. 

  • Google evaluation for thematic context

Through Image SEO, Google can easily comprehend the thematic context of any image on a website or the entire website and as a result, it gives better rankings. 

  • Improved user experience

Image SEO also improves the user’s experience through the reduction of loading time. It especially plays a vital role in mobile optimization because loading speed in mobiles is usually slower than those accessible on the desktop. 



There nothing more annoying than waiting for a blog post to load. Google penalizes websites with slow loading speeds. But, speed is only one side of SEO optimization.  

You want your blog post to be ranked well and to drive quality organic traffic. So, you need to use everything is in your arsenal to make that happen: it is your focus keyword(s), relevancy, valuable and engaging content that makes the reader spend more time on your blog site and come back for more in the future. 

That’s why you need to make sure to optimize images in your blog post.  

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