Beginners Guide to Image Optimisation

The subject of search engine optimization is a broad one, and many people get so caught up in worrying about keywords, titles and link building that they forget to think about optimizing the images on their site.  Carefully optimized images are a major part of SEO-friendly sites, and they give you an extra chance to appear in search results on Google’s Universal Search.

The following tips will help you to improve the way images are used on your site:

Include Keywords in The File Name

Take the time to give the images on your site a descriptive file name. Search engine robots can’t see images, so they rely on the file name and the text surrounding the image to figure out what the image is about.  A file name such as IMG_010513.jpg  offers no information to the search engines. If your blog post is about a book and you have included a picture of the cover in the post, then “Title_Author_BookCover.jpg” offers Google enough information about the image to enable it to categorise your image.

Alt Tags Help People Too

The file name will help Google to categorise the image, but Alt tags are even more useful.  The content of the Alt Tag is used by search engines, and is also used by screen readers.  If a disabled person visits your website, then their screen reader will use Alt tags to describe the layout and content of your website to them.

Your Alt Tag should contain a description of the image.  It’s a good idea to include some important keywords too, but avoid keyword stuffing.  Try to remember that human visitors will see the Alt Tag too. If you’re not sure how to word your Alt Tags, ask an expert in SEO consultancy for advice.

Use a Descriptive Title

Compared to the factors issued above, titles have a relatively minor impact, however you should still take the time to fill them out.  Use a descriptive title, and add keywords if you can do so in a natural manner.  Once again, avoid keyword stuffing.  Simply use keywords if you can fit them in naturally.

Extra Tips for Portfolio and Gallery Websites

The above tips should be enough for a blogger or an online store owner. However, people with image heavy portfolio websites; such as an artist or a photographer, may want to go a little further with their optimisation.

Optimising an image heavy website can be time consuming and difficult.  You may want to hire an SEO consultancy expert to help you.  If you want to try to get images ranking yourself, then the following tips may help you.

Take Care Over On-Page Text

Try to add keyword rich descriptions to each image page, to help search engines understand your image.

Accept Comments

If the portfolio site supports comments, enable them.  Accepting comments is a way to get “free content” that Google will love.  It also increases video engagement, and earns you valuable feedback on your portfolio.

Watermarks and Captions

Captions can be used to help search engines understand your images. Once your images are ranking well in the search engines, your next challenge is to turn those image views into visitors.  Watermarks are a useful way to add information to your images.  If you allow people to re-use your images, and have watermarks on them, then each person that re-posts your images is essentially giving you free advertising.


This article was written by Amy Fowler of SEO consultancy experts, Boom Online Marketing. For more articles and advice from Boom, head over to their Twitter page (and don’t forget to follow)!

Image Credit: calvin3000rachaelfawn,  tom_focusfatheed

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