How to Optimize Your Images

Michael Bergbauer - December 19, 2011

When it comes to SEO, many people only think about text and code. Of course, these are major elements of good SEO, but one would be surprised to see the sad state of images in the field. Images can (and should) be optimized, and it’s not even difficult to do. When optimizing the images on your site or blog posts, remember these three things:

Optimize the Name of the Image: For the same reason you optimize a title or H1 tag, you should optimize the file name of your image. Search engines cannot “see” what an image is, but they can read its file name — which is why it needs to be accurate and keyword-rich. After all, no one searches for “img00759.jpg.”

Optimize the Alt. Tag: The alt. tag is not only another chance to help search engines understand your image; it’s also helpful from a user perspective. If the user is having a browser issue that keeps the image from loading, they will still have the alt. text to help them understand what they should be seeing. Visually impaired users who use a program to read aloud text on the page can only enjoy the image if there is alt. text available for the program to read. Keep these uses for alt. text in mind when writing it.

Optimize Relevant Images: Just like you can have irrelevant content, you can also have irrelevant images. Oftentimes, irrelevant images are used on a page to serve some design purpose. Although they may be off-topic, they can add to the visual appeal of a page and are fine to use. However, images that don’t contribute meaningfully to the content on the webpage or the keywords that you are trying to target do not need to be optimized; you can focus your efforts elsewhere.

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