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Image SEO Best Practices: How to Optimize Images for SEO

By Tim Brown
Updated October 27, 2020
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Image SEO - How to optimize an image for SEO
Tim Brown
Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

Have this post read to you in a natural voice, so you can do other things:

Kate Zeyn of Houston recently tapped the brains of 100’s of SEO Experts in the SEO Signals Lab on Facebook (great group by the way.) She wanted to know what do they do – beyond the basics to make their images show up more often on search.

First she started with the basics of Image Optimization – shared below, I’ve added a few additional that I believe you should do every time

Image SEO - How to optimize an image for SEO

And then she asked – what else would you do? So I’ve filtered through those answers and found the absolutely most important ones, in addition to a few creative, next-level ones you’ll want to do in the most crucial situations.

Image SEO Best Practices

Choosing “powerful relevant images” step and/or priority #1 is absolutely crucial. Nothing else will matter on this list unless you choose powerful relevant images.

So here’s how to choose a powerful relevant image:

  1. Ideally take the photo yourself, and do minimal image manipulation besides color correction. Real examples, of specific related situations are best.
  2. If not available – use a reasonably priced high-end stock photo service like Adobe Stock, and ensure the stock photo doesn’t look like it’s obviously a stock photo (no white background, super corporate-y or overused.)
  3. Get something that has emotional appeal, is bright, or grabs your attention without being cheesy. Make sure it directly relates to the subject matter of the post – ideally if they saw it, they’d know it was related to the keyword you want the article to rank for. If not – make it stand out, and grab people’s attention – think about the audience of the post – what would they click on?

Here are Image SEO Best Practices:

  • Use original images if possible
  • Add keyword alt text
  • Add image description with keyword
  • Image title with a keyword
  • Compress before uploading (For resizing images: Image resizer for Windows, )

Other Ways to Optimize Images for SEO:

Here are a number of other Image SEO Best practices, none of which I believe are absolutely crucial, but can

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  • Add EXIF data for Author, Keywords, Description & Title as well.
  • To find an appropriate alt text or to see if google thinks it’s relevant to the topic, I upload the image in google image search and see what google understands of that image.
  • Use png format for high resolutions and jpg for low resolutions images.
  • Use Google vision to see what Google is recognizing from the image.
  • You can use Google Vision AI for Alt Text as well.
  • Add content in image properties. Right click image, go to Properties, then go to Details & add keywords there.
  • Putting a watermark of domain name and providing embed code to leverage image shares for SEO.

All this work to get an advantage on images? Do I really care?

If you’re new to SEO – here’s a bit of backstory to help clarify the importance of Image SEO:

Do Images Help SEO?

In my experience, image SEO was one of the things that gave me my first 20-30 visitors a day. Just by sharing fonts and color schemes, and doing image-names-like-this.jpg and alt text, I was able to get a leg up on the competition and crack the door to traffic from Google.

First – you have to crack the door, before you can ever dominate. So I’ll forever be grateful to image SEO for doing that for me. And I still highly recommend it, and spend the time on Image SEO every time I write a post – maybe not the super advanced stuff, but I do the basics every time.

Focusing on images – helps on social media too, and social shares have a slight benefit on SEO as well.

If I’m doing something super image focused – I pin all the images to Pinterest as well, and often times use the Buffer chrome extension to ‘buffer’ out shares of the post over the next week, to get traffic from Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.

What is Image SEO?

Image SEO refers to making sure that you’re images are easy for search engines to understand and interpret the contents of. This is often referred to as image optimization. Image Search Engine Optimization involves all elements of a graphic or photograph such including the file name, size, and even positioning on the web page.

Thank you for reading this mini-guide to Image SEO!


 

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Tim Brown
Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

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