It's nothing new that images are essential for blog posts. They help break up the text, add visual interest, and can even communicate your message more effectively than words alone.
It is also the part of blogging where you might think: “I don't have time to optimize my blog images for SEO.” If that's you, you are not alone. Most of my subscription clients, and those that sign up for an SEO Audit, hadn't optimized their images either.
It's a huge missed opportunity because if you're not optimizing your images, you're missing out on a lot of potential traffic and engagement.
So in this post, we'll cover some image optimization tips so that you can get the most out of them.
But first, let's talk about why optimizing images is so important.
Why is it important to optimize blog images for SEO?
Optimizing your blog images makes it easier for Google and other search engines to interpret what's on the image and why you've included it (so the context). That way, when people search for keywords related to your image, your blog post is more likely to show up in the results. And your image may start ranking in Google Image Search.
An optimized image also helps to ensure that it loads quickly, which is important for user experience. No one wants to wait around for an image to load, so if you can ensure your photos are loading quickly, you're more likely to keep people on your page.
That, in turn, can help with better engagement. People are more likely to stick around and read more of your content if your website speed is fast.
And finally, properly optimized images can help you get more exposure on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This is because people may be more inclined to share an image if it's easy to load and looks good.
Now that we've gone over a few reasons why optimizing the images on your website is essential; let's get into how to do it.
1. Choose the Right Image File Format
The first step in optimizing images for your blog posts is to choose the proper file format. JPEG and PNG are the two most common image file formats.
Use JPEG for photographs or graphics with lots of colors
JPEGs are a type of image file that uses compression to reduce file size. This makes JPEGs ideal for storing and sharing images that would otherwise be very large.
JPEGs are best suited for photographs and graphics with many different colors.
One thing to remember is that JPEG compression can cause some loss of detail in an image. However, this loss is typically not noticeable unless the image is enlarged or otherwise viewed at a high resolution. As a result, JPEGs provide an excellent balance of file size and quality for most images.
Use PNG for graphics, screenshots, images that need to be transparent, or photos with a text overlay.
PNG is another type of image file format. PNGs are lossless, meaning they don't lose any quality when compressed. This makes them ideal for graphics and images that require high levels of detail, like screenshots or images with text overlays.
PNGs are also suitable for images that need to be transparent, like logos.
PNGs tend to be larger files than JPEGs, so they're not always the best choice for storing and sharing images. But PNG is the way to go for graphics and pictures requiring high levels of detail.
2. Choose the Right Image Size
Another important factor in image optimization is choosing the right image size. Images that are too large can slow down your website, and images that are too small can look pixelated or blurry.
To avoid this, resize your images, so they're no larger than they need to be.
For example, if you're using an image that's 2400px wide in a blog post that's only 1200px wide, resize the image, so it's 1200px wide. This will help ensure that your images are the right size for the context in which they're being used and load quickly.
3. Compress Your Image
Once you've resized your images, it's also a good idea to compress them before uploading. This will help reduce the file size further, speeding up your website.
The best way to avoid these problems is to resize your images before you upload them to your website. Free online tools like ILOVEIMG make this process quick and easy.
To compress your images, head to ILOVEIMG and click the “Compress Images” tab. Then, either drag and drop your images into the box or click the “Add Images” button to select them from your computer.
ILOVEIMG will compress your images and allow you to download them as a ZIP file.
There's no hard and fast rule on the file size, but the smaller, the better (especially if you have a lot of images in your blog post). I always aim to keep my images below 200KB.
4. Name Your Image, So It's Optimized for Search Engines
In addition to choosing the proper file format and sizing your images correctly, you also need to name the image, so it's optimized for search engines.
When you save an image, give it a relevant name that describes what's in the image.
This means adding keywords to your image file name that also describes what's in the image. This will help ensure that your images are properly indexed.
For example, let's say you have an image of a dog.
Instead of “IMG_1234.jpg”, try using a more descriptive file name, such as “dog.jpg.”
And an even better file name would be “cute-dog.jpg” because it includes a keyword describing the image.
When you name your image using more than one word, always use hyphens to separate the words in your image title. Google does not want you to use any other special characters (e.g., “&,” “?”,” ‘,” etc.).
Also, keep your image titles short and to the point (ideally, under 60 characters).
5. Write Alt Text to the image
Alt text is a text description of an image that is used by search engines to understand the content of an image. The purpose of alt text is to provide information about the image so that users can understand what it represents.
Alt text is important because it allows search engines to index images and provides relevant results for users searching for images. It also allows users with visual impairments to understand the content of an image.
When writing alt text, be sure to describe the content of the image as accurately as possible. Avoid using keywords or phrases that are not relevant to the image.
For example, if you have an image of a dog, do not use the alt text “dog food.” Instead, use something like “cute dog playing in the garden.”
6. Write Image Captions
Image captions help explain what is happening in the photo, which can be helpful for readers. They also help search engines understand your content better.
When writing image captions, try and include keywords that you want to rank for. However, don't stuff your keywords in the caption – this will only hurt your SEO. Instead, focus on writing interesting and informative captions that engage your readers.
7. Make the image mobile-friendly
Because many people use their mobile devices to surf the web, it's essential to ensure that your images are mobile-friendly.
The best way to do this is to use responsive design. This means your images will automatically resize to fit the device they're being viewed on.
You can also use a WordPress plugin like WP Smush to optimize your images for mobile devices. This plugin will automatically resize, compress, and optimize your images for faster loading times on mobile devices.
That's it! These are 7 simple tips that you can use to optimize your images for SEO. By following these tips, you can ensure that your images work hard for you and help you attract new readers and customers.
Remember, quality is more important than quantity when it comes to image optimization. So focus on creating high-quality images that are relevant to your content.
Do you have any other tips for optimizing images for SEO? Share them in the comments below!