Skip to main content


4 Tips for Improving Image SEO

When it comes to interpreting and ranking images, search engines need your help.

That’s because Google, Bing and others are unable to actually “see” images. To understand what your images actually depict, they rely on a number of factors to accurately determine that your images, such as product photos, really are what you say they are.

Follow these four tips to get the most value from your image SEO efforts.

1. Optimize Your Alt Text, File Names & Title Tags.

One of the most important ways you can provide search engines with context for your images is to include the right keywords. This is done by properly optimizing your image file names, alt text and title tags.

  • Alt Attributes/Tags: Alt attributes, or alt tags, are important both for search engine rankings and for accessibility. For example, users who are vision impaired rely on them because screen readers use alt tags to identify images. Some browsers will also display them in case an image can’t be loaded so a user can find out what the image should be. Be sure to include a strong descriptive phrase, roughly five or six words long.
  • File Names: A lot of images come straight off the camera with weird file names like DSN_10013908w.jpg. If that looks like gibberish to you, you can count on it looking like gibberish to search engines, too. Try including a short, descriptive phrase that includes your primary keyword you’d like to rank for instead. Instead, you could rename this file to “blue-widgets-in-action.jpg” or something more descriptive and appropriate to help search engines understand what they’re looking at. Also, be sure each word is separated with a hyphen ( – ) and not an underscore ( _ ).
  • Title Tags: There is some debate whether or not title tags impact search rankings or not. However, they do provide captions for images when users hover over them, which may be useful for aiding understanding of what an image is (especially if it fails to load). For this reason, they may be useful from a user experience perspective in some cases, and they certainly won’t hurt your SEO efforts either.

2. Surround Images with Other Strong Content Elements.

Another way search engines interpret images is by making connections between the tags in the image data and the keywords that surround it. For example, if a page is well optimized for “blue widgets,” it can make the connection that any images on that page may also be related to “blue widgets,” especially if it finds that
term somewhere in the image file name or alt tag. Furthermore, not only can proper optimization help images rank in image search, they can also help the webpages themselves rank higher, too.

3. Keep Your File Sizes Manageable.

Extremely large image files require more resources from search engines to index. Plus, they tend slow down load times, which can negatively impact your webpage rankings. Avoid both of these issues by ensuring your image files are kept down to a reasonable size.

4. Make Your Images Unique.

If possible, use strong, original images. If you have to use stock images or photos submitted by a manufacturer, be sure to at least give your images a unique file
name and alt tag. This will help them stand out from the countless other sites using the same photography.

Interested in additional SEO tips? Check back for a full series of SEO blogs coming to our website this month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Perficient Author

More from this Author

Follow Us