Optimize Images for Web & SEO

Learn All About Image Optimization for Search Engines & How to Rank Images for SEO

Sanjoli Arora


Are you struggling to get your images to rank in search? If yes, then you are not alone. Understanding image optimization for SEO is a common problem for many businesses.  

Today’s web is a visual one. Images are the most popular form of content on the internet. Images optimized for SEO drive traffic more than any other form of content. As per Google, image search on mobile has increased by 60%. That makes images a significant source of information for those visually searching across search engines. 

Images are essential in helping users find information and grow trust in your brand. However, they also can affect your SEO ranking if optimized properly. To make sure your images stand out in today’s cut-throat search engine world, you need to optimize them for visibility. 

Image SEO: Summary

Image optimization in SEO is about making your content visible across the net and all social platforms. You do this by ensuring that every image you use for SEO has all the correct tags and alt attributes so Google and other search engines can index it properly. When creating images for SEO, you also want to consider size, file type, resolution, and source.

This blog will go through everything you need to know about optimizing images for SEO. From how Google indexes images to what file formats work best for SEO images and which text attributes can help you rank. Quattr's SEO image optimization guide has everything you need to know about SEO for images.

Here is our ultimate guide to optimizing your imagery for search engine crawlers.

What is SEO Image Optimization?

SEO image optimization means configuring images on a web page to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Optimizing images for SEO improves your website’s visibility and drives more traffic to your pages.

When you optimize images for SEO, you are optimizing the image’s filename, file type, alt text, and overall size to index correctly by search engines like Google. You are verifying the images have the proper tags so that Google can understand your site visuals. Finally, ensure your efforts keep your site’s load times quick.

Why SEO Image Optimization is Important?

Optimizing images is integral to SEO because it can help your pages rank higher in SERPs. Well-strategized SEO image caption resulting in more traffic to your site. When optimizing graphics for SEO, make sure your images are discoverable by search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Optimizing your images for SEO makes them more visible to people looking for your products or services. If your images are discoverable and easy to find, more people will click on them, leading traffic back to your site.

When you optimize images for SEO, you also improve your click-through rate. Images that appear at the top of search engine results are more eye-catching and easier to click. The click-through rate of your images increases when they are easy to find.

In addition, optimized images can help make your website look more professional and engaging, improving your overall site quality score and leading to more conversions.

Optimized images can appear in Google Images with a more detailed description to ensure that your images stand out from the rest. High-ranking Google images help draw attention to your website while increasing your chances of making it to the top of the search engine’s results page. Read the latest Google image SEO best practices.

How to Optimize Images for SEO?

We have understood what image optimization is for SEO and why it is essential. The next question is how you do it. Image optimization for SEO has various aspects. In the sections below, we discuss how to optimize your imagery for SEO.

SEO Image Optimization for Speed

When you optimize your images for speed, you ensure that your images are not slowing down your site, especially on mobile. Google might penalize you for having a slow-loading website. Google image optimization has its own rules. However, you also want to ensure your images are engaging, well-branded, and optimized.

Some things to remember with image optimization for speed include image file size, image format, and image caching. Here are some standard practices to reduce image sizing and ensure faster loading of web pages for your visitors.

Size your images correctly

A file’s size determines how fast it loads. A larger asset size will cause a slower load time, frustrating users. Your SEO image size is a significant contributor to page bloat if un-optimized. In particular, with WordPress websites.

Sizing your images correctly leads to better website page loads. Large images can take a long time to load, frustrating your website’s visitors.

You should resize images to the size you need. If you have a high resolution, you are juicing capacity and loading time with the extra data.

Another way to reduce the size of your images is to use the correct image dimensions. If you don’t need the full resolution of an image, then use a smaller size. The image’s standard resolution is 72 pixels per inch (PPI), which is an excellent target.

Finally, avoid using high-resolution images. Many high-resolution images are unnecessary and can slow down your website. If you don’t need the high resolution, use a lower-resolution image.

Use compression tools & lazy load images

Simple resizing images is not enough; you must also compress them. There are several different compression tools that you can use, such as jpegoptim, optipng, and Squoosh. These tools will reduce the size of your images without significantly affecting the quality.

Another way to reduce the size of your images is to use lazy loading. With lazy loading, images are not loaded until they are needed. This can reduce your pages' size and improve your website's performance.

Use the right file format

You should also use the right file format for your images. You should use JPEG files for photos, and for line art or logos, you should use PNG files. SVG files can also be used for line art and logos, but they are not as widely supported as PNG files. The other common file format used for web images are GIF and WEBp. The table below shows the pros and cons of each file format.

File size Large Small Small Small Small
Image quality Good Normal Poor High-Quality High-Quality
Compression Good compression with little quality loss Good compression but quality loss Image details removed when compressed Good compression but not as good as PNG Good compression with little quality loss
Animation No No Yes No Yes
Transparency Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Devices /Bowsers supported on All All Limited Limited Limited

Optimizing Images with Text

Adding SEO image alt is a way to rank high in search engines as a developer. While including keywords in your image benefits your content, adding keywords to your visual images as text is not wise.

Search engines cannot read images, so they will not be visible if you add keywords. Instead, ensure that your image has plenty of descriptive alt text for Google to find.

Optimize Image Alt Text for SEO

The alt text is what people see when they hover their cursor over your image, and it’s crucial in SEO. Images on a web page need alternative or alt text, to be visible to people using assistive technology, such as a screen reader. This text describes the image for people who can't see it. 

When you optimize images with alt text, you make them more appealing to your target audience and to search engines. Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing image alt text

1. Use keywords: Image alt text should be keyword rich to help improve your website's search engine ranking.

2. Keep your alt text brief, as screen readers only read a certain amount of text simultaneously.

3. Describe the image & avoid generic phrases: Although it's important to include keywords in your alt text, describe what the image depicts. Avoid using phrases such as "image of a _____" or "picture of _____." Instead, the alt text should accurately describe the contents of the image.

4. Use captions: If you can, use image captions and alt text, as they provide more information about the SEO image. You can add further context to the image here and any source links. 

Image Optimization for SEO with Structured Data

Adding structured data is one way to make your images even more visible to search engines. Structured data lets Google know what your images are about so that it can display them in image search results. 

Having structured data on your images also helps your audience understand them better. If your website has a visual audience, optimization is essential. Please read our guide on structured data and find out how to add structured data for images.

Image Optimization SEO: File Name

When optimizing them for SEO, giving your images the correct file name is crucial. By doing so, you are helping to provide Google and other search engines with the information they need to rank your images correctly.

When choosing a file name for your image, keep the following in mind:

1. The file name should accurately reflect the contents of the image.

2. The file name should be brief but descriptive.

3. The file name should include keywords relevant to the image.

4. The file name should be different for each image. However if using the same image on multiple pages, keep a cosistent name.

Following these tips will help you optimize your image filenames for SEO. 

Social Card Image Optimization

Social card and Google image SEO are one of the latest techniques in SEO. It simply means that you are taking the time to optimize the images you use on your social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as your website. Maximize the viewing potential you receive by optimizing your images for SEO.

You can do a few things to ensure we optimize you for social media and search engines. The first thing you should do is to make sure the images you upload are the correct size. 

For Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, you will want to use images that are 1600px by 900px or smaller. You can use a tool like “Image Size” to help determine the correct size for your images. Always use the valid file format. You will want to use JPEG or PNG files for social media sites.

Next, be sure to use the correct file format. You will want to use JPEG or PNG files for social media sites. For your website, you may want to use a different file format, such as GIF or SVG.

Finally, use the correct keywords in your image file name and the alt text for your image. You can find your images when people search for those keywords if you do this.

Our SEO best practices speed up on-page traffic.

SEO Image Sitemap

An image sitemap is critical for domains. It provides for the graphics of the domain proper indexing by search engines. It is beneficial because images indexed by search engines are more likely to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone searches for images related to the domain. 

An image sitemap can also enhance the user experience in a domain, allowing users to navigate quickly to the images they seek.

There are a few ways to create an image sitemap. One way is to use a tool such as XML Sitemaps, a free online tool that allows users to create XML sitemaps. 

Another way to create an image sitemap is to use a plugin for a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress. For example, a WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO allows users to create and submit an image sitemap to search engines.

It is essential to include as many images on the domain as possible. Image sitemaps ensure that someone correctly tagged the images with the correct keywords and metadata. Keeping the image sitemap live and up to date is a great practice.

Scale Image Optimization Efforts with Quattr

A website’s images play an essential role in SEO, but if they aren’t optimized properly, they can slow it down and affect the user experience. Quattr is an enterprise SEO tool that can help you quickly and easily optimize your website's images, making your site faster and easier to use.

With Quattr, you can quickly optimize your images for web use by gaining visibility of what SEO image assets are pulling down the page speed scores across your entire website. You can review these errors within Quattr’s performance recommendations and optimize them at scale instead of optimizing images for one page at a time.

SEO image optimization with Quattr
Scale SEO Image Optimization with Quattr

You can also optimize your images’ alt text for top keyword clusters using the Quattr platform. Quattr's keyword recommendation identifies top keyword clusters your page can rank for and suggests adding top user queries into your alt text of image assets on the page. Quattr's sandbox environment lets you test these changes. The changes are scored based on our AI+ML models built to review content on the page like a search engine.

Optimize Alt Tag for SEO Image Search
Optimize Alt Tag for SEO Image Search

Image Optimization SEO FAQs

What is Image Optimization SEO?

Image optimization SEO ensures that your website's images are correctly optimized for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. This includes optimizing image file size, filename, Alt text, caption, title, and description while ensuring that the image is appropriately responsive and optimized for page load speed.

Why Optimize Image for Web?

Optimizing image for web helps keep the website’s page size small so it can load faster. Additionally, it plays a vital role in increasing organic search traffic, and improving the user experience.

How to optimize your images for visual search?

Optimizing images for visual search involves utilizing image optimization tools to ensure that images are correctly compressed and sized while tagging them with relevant keywords. Additionally, make sure to add relevant metadata (alt text) to each image that explains the image content.

About The Author

Sanjoli Arora

Sanjoli Arora is a Content Strategist at Quattr and writes about content marketing, digital marketing, and search engine optimization technology.

About Quattr

Quattr is an innovative and fast-growing venture-backed company based in Palo Alto, California USA. We are a Delaware corporation that has raised over $7M in venture capital. Quattr's AI-first platform evaluates like search engines to find opportunities across content, experience, and discoverability. A team of growth concierge analyze your data and recommends the top improvements to make for faster organic traffic growth. Growth-driven brands trust Quattr and are seeing sustained traffic growth.

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