How to Optimize Images for SEO

Image optimization is an often forgotten task when it comes to website seo. Google image search can be a massive traffic source and the technology gets better every day to recognize images.

We would like to encourage and help you to properly optimize your images but also need to clear up a few things. The picture below shows you google's AI and what it figured out by analyzing the picture. It's amazingly precice so it's easy for google to catch you spamming nonsense keywords into your images and uploading not related pictures.

"how to optimize images" text

seo tips for image optimization

  • MOST IMPORTANT: What's on your picture: modern AI programs are trained to recognize colors, patterns, shapes, blurryness, focus, faces, emotions and much more. Be aware that search engines can read your picture and categorize it. That category should be related to your webpage's topic.
  • Alt-text: (alternative text) is used by screenreaders and as a backup info if the image cannot be found there is still the alt text showing what you should see there. It helps the overall process and improves usability. example: alt="laptop-screen.jpg".
  • Filenames: describe with 2-4 words whats on the picture. i.e. "laptop-admin-screenshot.jpg" use hyphens to seperate the words. Do not overuse keywords. If someone saves the picture it makes sense that the file name really describes whats shown. image-seo-optimization.jpg looks nice but the AI detects nothing related to "image" nor "seo" nor "optimization" so your filename is lowered as a ranking factor because its not correct it might be spam.
  • surrounding text: If your content's topic is matching with the image content, the alt-text and the filename and other relevant factors like the page url, domain name etc. your image is adding up to your overall score as it goes with the flow and supports the content.
  • Filesize: page loading time is a major ranking factor. If your image is 350kb it's way too big. Use jpg compression websites to drop meta data from the image and use the most advanced jpg compression algorythms for lossless compression. Also make sure that the image is embedded in its original size. A 2000px image used in 400px width is not making sense and needs much more bandwidth and space. 
  • Image size: make sure that your images have the right size for its purpose. 2000px might be too big for a blog post but great for a hero image where 80px is too small for a blog post but good for an avatar and 800px is maby the right size for a blog post. 
  • Avoid stock images and overused images: Create unique content which makes your content stand out from the competitors who all use the same boring staged stock footage.


Do not underrate modern image recognition

Many webmasters are not aware that modern technology understands pictures. To show you an example we put a few images together. See for yourself how good it works.

image technology screenshot

guy sitting screenshot with text

Quite impressive how the "vacation" got into it. Maby the shorts, backpack and smiling is a sign for vacation. This shows you how clever that AI is already.

If you want to optimize the image then a properly describing filename like "smiling-male-sitting.jpg" would make sense. That's what we see and that's what the AI can see.

face recognition screenshot


Conclusion and rule of thumb for seo images:

Do not optimize for search engines. Put up your pictures in correct size, name it accordingly what it's showing, add a matching alt-text and place it where it makes sense to help understanding your content topic.


Further Infos:

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