Image Optimization: the Low Hanging Fruit in SEO

Visual media rules the web right now. Images are the most shared item on Facebook, and of course Pinterest and Instagram. When images from your website are shared on those sites it can drive more visitors back to your site.

The images on your site can also bring potential traffic to your site from Google Searches.  I know from checking Google Analytics, there are a lot of search queries from image search.


Often times people neglect to optimize their images and as a result miss out on a lot of traffic opportunities.

This is an easy SEO win that could bring you more site visitors.

Here are a few ways to make sure your images are optimized and working for your business.

How search engines work
Google has “robots (software that ranks websites)” that check out your site.  The thing is, these robots don’t see pictures or colors etc…  they only see text.  So they don’t see your pictures, but they do see the name of the pictures.

Adding Titles and “Alt Text” to images can help search engines associate images with text.

ALT Tags
In terms of SEO, ALT tags are the most important. Use keywords here that are related to the content on your page, and don’t stuff with too many keywords, especially irrelevant ones. In general, try and stick to one keyword, two at most per image.

Use keywords in the title as well. Rather than IMG38723987123.jpg use a name like senior-portrait-session-ideas.jpg

If you hover over any of the images on this site, you can see the Alt Text.

Add a description and copyright
I recommend adding your website and copyright info to your images as well. When Google finds multiple copies of the same image it uses many different signals to identify the source of the image. I set up a metadata template in Photoshop Bridge to automatically apply this information to all of my images.

How to automatically optimize images

If you are using WordPress, the Title, Alt Text, Descriptions and Captions can all be added in the media editor. You can also save time by using an SEO Image plugin, which will automatically optimize all of your images with alt text and titles. If you are a Hi-Fi Ready-Made site owner, this has already been added for you.


File Size
File size is important because it affects page loading times. Google factors in page loading times in ranking. If you host with ZippyKid, image optimization is a built in server feature.

Open Graph Tags
Open Graph tags are great because they let you specify which images are used when your content is shared on social media. It does not impact SEO however it allows you to control your brand message and how your content is shared.

If you’re using a Flash site, optimizing your images will not make a difference since the search engines cannot “see” the page content.

What to do next
Go check your Google Analytics account and find the 10-20 top pages/blog posts bringing in search traffic. In Google Analytics look under Traffic > Search Engine Optimization > Landing Pages.

Go to those pages and add Titles and ALT Text to the images. Make sure to use a relevant keyword or keyword phrase. It can take a little while for those images to start ranking or displaying in the search engine results, however when they do it can be a great source of additional traffic.

Here is an SEO Image Optimization cheat sheet for you to grab and keep handy for reference.



About Nancy Nardi

Founder of HiFi Social Web, Co-Founder of Seniors Ignite, website maker and entrepreneur. I help photographers and entrepreneurs leverage the power of the web with WordPress.


  1. Catherine on April 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Hi–all of this is so new to me and we are in the process of changing all our flash websites to HTML-ugh! All that time spent creating those three flash websites down the drain. Anyway, we do have site templates from Bludomain that are supposed to be flash AND HTML sites combined so do all the above tips still work for us? We are also working on starting a Blog so I know that will be OK but I wasn’t sure about a website that offers BOTH options. Thanks so much. I sure wish I understood this. Who knew that 15 years ago when we opened a photo studio we would have to be such computer wizards! Thanks, Catherine

  2. Nancy Nardi on April 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Hey Catherine,

    There is a lot of information to wrap your head around when it comes to web stuff for sure.

    I’m not familiar with BluDomains website admin – you can check the image uploader or library to see if they have that option to add the title and alt text to images. In most cases even with the html option the come with flash sites it’s most likely not an option.

    • Catherine on April 24, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Bummer! I guess I’ll just have to work on your tips for the new Blog. Thanks for all your great info, Catherine