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5 Important Ways to Optimise Your Web Images for SEO

June 20, 2013 12:00 pm

You probably realise how important imagery is when it comes to websites and marketing material. A picture can really be worth a thousand words.

red SEO letters connected to a black computer mouse


When someone finds your site and has a wonder around they will hopefully be inspired by what they see, but did you know that your online images hold extra importance?

All of the pictures on your website carry a significant amount of SEO weight. Google pays attention to not only the words you have on your site, but also the images.

If the images on your site are not search engine friendly, you may be hurting your rankings.

Let’s look at it in a more positive light: If you optimise the pictures on your website for SEO, your opportunity to be noticed by Google may drastically increase.

Here are 5 important ways to optimise your images for SEO purposes:


1) The file name – the way in which you save your image. Keep it short, relevant and on point. This means that Google prefers shorter file names that are descriptive. If you have an image of a red box with an orange bow it would be best to name the file red-box-with-orange-bow. Take note of the hyphen between words. This is the most SEO effective way to name files. Of course, in an ideal world your business sells red boxes with orange bows. Try to find images that depict your business’s key words and phrases. Lastly, keep away from using words like a, and, the, etc, but…

2) The file size– how large or small the image is in bytes. Large files take longer to load impacting your site’s download speed. If someone has a slower Internet connection and your site is full of large images, you may be loosing a potential client. Not only do people tend to switch off if your site doesn’t load quickly enough, you are also penalised by Google. A good file size is below 30K. To check the size of the images on your site, simply hover your mouse over the images, right click and view properties. Here is a great article sharing Tools and Tips on how to Optimize Images for the Web. 

3) Alt text – alternative description. The Alt text is just a second way of describing a photograph. It helps SEO by helping the search engine better identify the image. In the alt text, describe the picture as if you were describing it to someone who couldn’t physically see it. Remember to try to use as many key words as possible. With alt text, you are limited to 150 characters. Make sure all your product images have alt text. Decorative images on your website, do not require alt text.

4) Relevance – does the photo relate to your business? Ensure that the photos are fitting. If you are selling children’s socks, but have images of t-shirts the search engine bots will pick up on the discrepancy. Keep the images relevant to what you are selling.

5) DO NOT remote link (hotlink)! Remote linking is simply linking to a photo or image that you like which you found on another site. By remote linking you are giving up all control. You have no control over the file size, the way the image is saved or tagged, and if the original website goes down or the image is removed, you probably will not notice. Most importantly, if the image is infected with a virus it can bring down your site. In short, ensure that all your images are yours, housed on your own site, and are used and displayed in accordance with all copyright and trademark laws.

If you have any search optimisation questions, please do not hesitate to contact us to speak with our SEO expert.