Optimise your website images for better SEO

Optimise your website images for better SEO

Over the last month, I have had several conversations with clients about the importance of properly optimising their website images. Did you know that your images directly affect your site’s SEO?

Its true! Properly optimised images will ensure your site loads faster (and a fast site makes Google happy!) and will show up at the top of Google images and bring you a whole log of traffic you will otherwise have missed out on.

The good thing is, its not hard to do once you know how!

Name your image files
The file names on your image help Google and other search engines figure out what your image is all about. So a file name like IMG_0732.jpg is not going to help. Instead use a keyword rich name like lioness-sitting-on-rock.jpg that will tell the search engines about your image and uses the keywords/phrases your are using in your written content.

Remember to use dashes ( – ) and not underscores ( _ ) in your file names. Google sees underscores as joining words, not separating them.

Keep your image files small
Images can make up at least half of a website pages file size – and excessively large images can be the culprit for slowing down your site. Google doesn’t like slow websites and will penalise your site rankings if your site loads too slowly.

  • Make sure you crop your images to the correct dimensions for the location they will be added to (your web developer should be able to give you this information)
  • Compress your images using an online tool like tinypng or optimizilla

Add alt text
Alt text is important for 2 reasons:

  1. It helps visually impaired readers navigate your site using screen readers
  2. Google uses alt text to determine the best image to return for a users search query

Your alt text description should be as accurate and descriptive as possible and it should contain the main keywords or phrase your are using to optimise your article or page content.

For example, the alt text for the image below might be “Lioness sitting alone on a rock”

Lioness sitting alone on a rock
Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

Make sure your site has an image sitemap
Image sitemaps make sure search engine crawlers can find all of your images. I use Yoast SEO on all the sites I build, which creates a sitemap for the website.