Optimize your images!

Image optimization is an easy one to miss and simple to rectify.

If you want to improve your website SEO then image optimization is important. Seaerch engines are far better at discerning what images are these days but only to the extent of recognising a face or that it is a photo or a drawing. What they can’t do is to accurately describe an image and that’s where an optimization strategy can help.

As well as assisting with SEO, good optimization also helps visitors to your site who have visual problems. They will often use screen readers to ‘listen’ to your webpage so images without proper names or alt attributes won’t ‘seen’.

If your website relies heavily on images (perhaps online retail) it is even more important to ensure that your images are correctly handled and indexed.

Let’s take a look at the key points.

ALT Attribute

Goldfish stares at black catThis is the big one! If an image fails to load correctly or if a visitor is using a screen reader then this is what will be seen. If there is no alt text then the visitor will see nothing. The ALT attribute should be short and clear – don’t stuff it with key words and don’t write an essay. This image has ALT text that reads “Goldfish stares at black cat”

TITLE Attribute

In many browsers this acts as a ‘tool tip’ which appears when you hold your mouse pointer over the image. It can add additional information without the need for captions. The title of the image above is “Goldfish and cat”

Image Name

Images from digital cameras have names like DSC2376 – not very descriptive. Rename your images before you upload them and you’ll get at least two benefits from doing it. You give the search robots more information about your image to aid classification plus it will be much easier for you to find that image again once it’s uploaded! The image above is named “goldfish-black-cat.jpg”

So, the next time you upload an image take an extra minute and make sure that you’ve added the key information to the picture. You’ll be glad you did!


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Pauline Randall

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2 Responses to Optimizing Images for Good SEO

  1. Steve says:

    Hi Pauline,

    Are Alt attributes the same as Alt tags as I was reading up on these recently for seo based on how powerful images can be over text?

    Also – does text on images work as I have heard mixed reviews?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Steve

      Thanks for your feedback! Yes ALT Attributes are often known as ALT tags. If you’re talking about text actually embedded in an image I’m not convinced. In theory the search engines could read it but I doubt that they take much notice in terms of SEO. You’d be better focussing on the other optimization methods for your images and making sure the general page content was good.