How to optimise your website images for Search Engines

| 8th January 2012

Images are often overlooked when it comes to optimisation for Search Engines. Many people spend time and effort optimising the page itself and making sure keywords are in the right places but by the time they’re finished the images tend to get added with little thought to whether they can affect where you pages rank.

Well, they can and you should take the time to optimise them properly if you’re going to add them to a web page. They can also give you a great way of appearing when people search specifically on images.

You should think of them almost as small web pages in themselves and optimise them accordingly.

Here are a few tips for optimising your images to improve their performance on the page and in search engine results.

1. Use the right images

This may sound obvious but the images you use on the page must be totally relevant to it. Eye traffic research shows that images naturally draw the eye when users land on a web page so it’s important they tell the story of the page.

It’s also really important that the pictures are of the highest quality, this again has been shown to be a major influencer of how people judge a web page and website, the more professional and the higher the quality, the more trust is earned by the website.

So, it’s really investing in getting pictures and photos done professionally.

2. Use keywords in the file name

Something that is rarely thought about is what you save your image as when you initially store it on your own PC. Very often with images they’ll get given a very long convoluted set of numbers from the camera they were taken on but if you think about it, this is what they end up being referred to on the website especially if you just upload them in your CMS (Content Management System) without making any changes whatsoever. Make it easy and give them a specific name that includes a keyword after all what would you find most compelling

00000004567788.jpeg    or


the latter will certainly appeal more to the search engines and make sure you use common file types such as JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP.

3. Create descriptive alt text

Alt Text or alternative text is another way of labelling an image when it’s uploaded to your CMS. Originally it was designed to help people with failing eye sight when they used screen readers but it also possible that they help images with correctly and descriptively written Alt Text get some exposure in the major search engines.

4. The right anchor text

If you’re using an image to link to another page or section on your website then giving the right anchor text to the image is another great indicator to the search engines about what that page is going to talk about. Rather than just being called image or the string of numbers like we talked about earlier keyword based anchor text is much more relevant.

5. And………What not to do

This goes for all kinds of SEO, but we’ll say it again just to be sure – try and spam the search engines and pack your alt text and image descriptions with keywords, use them thoughtfully and if you think it sounds like spam, the search engines will too. Image SEO is as much about user experience as it is about achieving better search engine rankings.