How to Optimize Blog Images for Better Search Engine Rankings

One does not simply add images to blog posts in order to increase their search engine rankings. Use these 5 blog image optimization tips for a true increase in traffic.

Optimize Image Girl Bubbles

If you’re anything like my Human SEO clients, you’re already aware that adding images to your website’s content to greatly improve your search engine rankings. Humans are visual creatures and are more likely to engage with your content if visual stimulation is included. However, the problem lay with helping the Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and the other search engines to understand those images to serve them up to your target market.

Here are my Top 5 Tips to Optimize Blog Images for Better Search Engine Rankings.

1. Correctly Size Blog Post Images

Bigger is not always better when it comes to your images. Although many desktop screens are large, a good number of people are now using mobile devices to search the Internet. This means that your images need to be compressed properly; decreasing load time and increasing website speed.

Humans have a short attention span. Don’t make them wait for your images to load and don’t risk Google slapping your website with a “slow” banner on the search engine results page.

  • Human SEO Tip: When saving images from a program (such as Photoshop), use a medium compression setting. A great Mac tool for further compression is ImageOptim. In WordPress, crop the image when uploading to your media folder.

2. Use Larger Thumbnails Images

An image that is too small is not easily shareable on the social media networks. Make sure that you are uploading thumbnails that can be used on a wide variety of platforms.

  • Human SEO Tip: Sometimes it worth making more than one image for your blog post. You can use a program such as Canva to reformat an image and then use the “Social” tab of your Yoast SEO plugin to upload social network specific images.

3. Use Optimized Image File Names

The file name of an image is an often-overlooked golden goose of an organic white hat SEO strategy. Many people let their cameras or software programs choose a file name for them (e.g. 1423.jgp) and then forget to optimize this file name (e.g. starbuckscoffee.jpg) before uploading the image to their blog.

  • Human SEO Tip: The search engines are blind to images so you need to tell them what that image is all about Always save your file using at least 2 keywords. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about coffee, all images should contain the word coffee. Bad formatting = 149pe8.jpg. Good formatting = funnycoffeemug.jpg. Which one would you want to see?

4. Remember Image Alt and Title Tags

Both the Alt and Title tags are available when uploading an image to your blog. Just like choosing a good file name, keywords need to be included in these fields to give the search engines a better idea as to the content they are server and to whom. The Alt tag is used as alternative text when a image cannot be displayed properly and by search engines to index the image correctly. The same goes for the Title tag, but this is used for links.

  • Human SEO Tip: Always use 2-5 words in your Alt and Title tags when using images on your blog. If you have a picture of a funny coffee mug, you can use such phrases as “Funny Coffee Mug”, “Funny Dog Coffee Mug”, or “Cute Mug for Coffee Addicts” in these fields.

5. Always Link Your Image Source

Being an e-commerce entrepreneur and blogger myself, I can’t tell you how many times my graphic designs and images are used on other people’s websites without my permission. Image owners don’t mind so much – as long as you add a link to the image source back to them. By providing a link to your image source, you are optimizing in two ways: 1) You are providing a one-way link to the source, which Google loves, and 2) You are protecting yourself from copyright infringement.

  • Human SEO Tip: There are many ways to link to your image source within a blog post. You can make the image itself a link, provide a caption under the image with a link, or you can provide a link to the source at the bottom of the blog post. I prefer the latter as it doesn’t impact the flow of my content, but the formatting is entirely up to you.

One more thing…

Remember, the search engines are blind robots that don’t know how to read an image unless you explain it to them. When optimizing your blog images, it is best to make believe that you are sitting across from someone who is blind and describing a photo in front of you.

Stick to keywords when performing image optimize. Shorter is always better and, over time, optimizing your blog post images will become second nature. It’s a learning process but I have faith that you’ll become a image optimization professional in no time.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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