SEO for Images: Guide to ranking images in 2023


Images are one of the key elements in web positioning. The quality, location, size, as well as other factors, are essential and determining factors to improve a content or even to rank in Google Images.

In many cases, there are clients who have countless possibilities to improve their images and, as an SEO agency, we are careful when it comes to optimizing this type of file for the web. Moreover, even from Google SERPs we can find images accompanied by the results, so knowing how to choose the right image for the user’s search intention can also be decisive to get that click.

Steps to optimize your images for SEO

Before you start improving your images for SEO positioning, you should take into account some key points that are necessary to ensure that your images are 100% optimized.

So, without further ado, let’s get down to the content! 😉

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Choosing Alt Text tags correctly

This is one of the most basic and at the same time one of the most classic tags of this type of file. This is one of the SEO tags for images par excellence, which serves the Google bot so that it can contextualize what is displayed in the image and accompanies the content where it is located.

Since Google cannot otherwise analyze images, the alt text serves to tell it more information about the result it is crawling and reading. In addition, this attribute acts as a response to pages that have problems loading images, since the user can interpret what kind of image is in a position.

In addition, the ALT attribute also allows screen readers to read it aloud, thus helping people with certain visual impairments.

It is a perfect tag to choose and enter the keywords for which to position the page.

It is a basic element in On page SEO that accompanies the content and, undoubtedly, it is one of the first elements that you should take into account when optimizing your images to position them correctly.

Location of the image in the content

As we have already mentioned, location is also important when it comes to optimizing images. In the end, the more the image is related to the surrounding context (as it happens with links when link building or internal linking), the better it will be for the positioning of our SEO images.

This is important since the content will work as a support for the image that describes or enriches the content and vice versa. Therefore, this will undoubtedly be another important point to take into account. Never forget it!

Choosing a suitable file name

Another aspect to consider is the proper selection of the image file name. To do so, you must take into account some key points:

  • Never use underscores _ for the file name. Use hyphens – to separate words.
  • Do not use numbers unless necessary (for branding or other reasons).
  • Avoid using accents and/or special characters such as ñ.
  • Please don’t put random names like “ejdorfjekd.jpg” or “image.png”.(This point is quite obnoxious by any SEO). 😅
  • Also avoid using excessively long names such as “this-image-has-to-go-in-paragraph-4-of-the-text-of-the-text-of-the-post-about-gradient-sunglasses.jpg”.

As with the Alt text, try to keep the name simple, brief and understandable to anyone.

Adequate image format

The file format can also be an interesting factor when it comes to ranking images in Google. The most common formats are the classic JPG, PNG or GIF files. We also find other image formats although they tend to be less used, such as SVG or BMP format.

It should be noted that other interesting new generation formats are emerging that offer better compression, such as WebP format images.

WEBp images

This image format is a format developed primarily by Google, (of course 😁) based on technology acquired with the purchase of On2 Technologies. This format allows images to be compressed with minimal loss of quality. This is undoubtedly a format that you can use in your WordPress through different plugins to improve this performance factor of your site.

AVIF format

This format opens up a new range of possibilities for web sites, since it is lighter than the jpeg format and even lighter than the famous WebP format, so it can still be a major saving for web pages as far as image formats are concerned:

Reduce image weight and compression

In reducing the weight of the images we also find a factor that affects not only the positioning of the same for SEO, but also to improve the performance of your site when it has to be loaded by the user’s browser.

The lower the weight, the easier it will be to process and load the image and the better the web page will load. In addition, it is a benefit that is also interesting at the level of page tracking since the reading is lighter. For image compression, you can make use of sites such as:

  • Iloveimg
  • TinyPNG
  • Jpeg-optimizer

In order to remove the weight of the images that are “dragging” the load of your website, you can perform different actions:

How to find images to optimize on my website

One of the most typical options we know is by usingScreaming Frog, where we can find the images that have a weight greater than 100 KB and that we have the possibility to decrease by viewing the path with the tool.

Another way is by using the speed tools that will tell you which are those large images on the indicated page:

  • Page Speed Insights
  • WebPageTest
  • GTMetrix
  • Pingdom

Indicates the dimensions of the images

Another factor that can help to optimize images for SEO is to indicate the dimensions or measures of the images. This information is complementary and is a perfect way to avoid rescaling of these images (something that can also affect your speed). In fact, it is one of the typical measures that the GTMetrix tool takes into account in its analysis.

Title for images

While not as strictly necessary, it is also another factor that can help the user interpret what they see and is another way for Google to expand its information about the image it is crawling. 😉

It is another way of detailing information to complement both the file name and the Alt Text attribute.

You can create a Sitemap for images

An interesting option, also depending on the type of web we are talking about, can be to create a sitemap of the images. This is a way of indicating to the bot that you want to make it easier for it to crawl these types of files, so that it will take them into account in its search index and improve its SEO positioning in Google Images.

A simple and direct way to indicate to the bot that your images are also important for your business and can be interesting for users.

Adds structured image data

Structured data orrich snippets are a way to provide additional contextual information about your content to search engines such as Google. When it comes to images, this data may include details such as the creator of the image, its license, a description of the image, its URL, among others.

  • Improved search visibility: search engines use structured data to better understand the content of a page. This can improve the visibility of your website in search results, especially in image searches.
  • Improve accessibility: structured data can help improve the accessibility of your website, as search engines can use it to generate image descriptions for the visually impaired.
  • Provides more context: they can provide search engines with more context about your images, which can help increase the relevance of your website for certain searches.
  • Enable eligibility for advanced features: they can make your images eligible for advanced features in search results, such as carousels.

Artificial intelligence for imaging

If there is a new development to be taken into account, it is the increasingly evident irruption of AI. And of course, among the many options presented, it can also be used to optimize images for SEO and even to create them.

Thanks to Artificial Intelligence, we can compress the images, label them correctly, generate the ALT attribute, as well as the structured data. Consequently, it improves our visibility in search engines and the accessibility of our website.

Some examples of AI tools to generate images are:

  • Bluewillow
  • Craiyon
  • Dall-E 2
  • Dreamstudio
  • Firefly
  • Hotpot (AI Art Maker)
  • Midjourney
  • Nightcafe
  • StableDiffusion Web

On the other hand, you can’t miss these others that help you optimize existing images for SEO:

  • DeepArt and DeepDream
  • Let’s Enhance
  • DAM (Digital Asset Management)
  • Canva

*SEO Image Optimization Bonus: Plugins for WP and Geolocation

Geolocation for images

Geolocating images is one of the best ways to optimize them and improve your Local SEO of our establishment. It is only necessary to use the Tool Geo Img tool to tag the images and give the geoposition information of these images to the associated address of your physical establishment.

To use this tool, you only need to follow the steps below:

  • Drag the image over the area marked in blue.
  • Select the location of your establishment on the map on the left side by marking your business.
  • Fill in the metadata required for image tagging with name or description.
  • Download the image and upload it to Google My Business (GMB).

This way, your images will be geolocalized and ready for your GMB file.

Plugins to optimize images

Finally, we leave you with some interesting plugins for optimizing the images of your site, also perfect for optimizing the web load time in WordPress:

  • Imagify: volume or weight optimization of images and converter to WebP format.
  • Smush: classic plugin valid for most WP templates. Simple and perfect for image optimization.
  • ShortPixel Image Optimizer: a very complete plugin that you can use in multi-site with its API. Highly recommended.
  • Optimole: use of global CDN for free, optimizes images, supports all types of formats, etc.
  • a3 Lazy Load: a great plugin to enable the lazy load option for images.

We hope it has helped you to optimize your images for SEO positioning! 😉

Copy & Content SEO Strategist en Rodanet | | + posts

Es una de nuestras "pichichis" en la liga de futbolín 🥅 Además de ser experta en estrategia de contenidos, también pilota de estrategia para meter goles. 😎

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