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How to Optimize WordPress Images for SEO

by Jenny on · 11 Comments

SEOLearn how to optimize wordpress images for SEO. It is so insanely simple yet people just skip it. If you’re one of those people, don’t do that. Ever again. This valuable SEO tactic can bring in hundreds, if not thousands, of new search engine visitors each month. WordPress has built-in tools for image SEO; you don’t even need to install a plugin!

Search Engines “See” Differently

Search engine visitors (such as you and I) can see what an image is about just by looking at our monitors but search engines don’t have that luxury. The only thing a search engine “sees” is the title and file name. These two things are the key to the SEO of your images.

To optimize images for SEO, all images should have:

  • Relevant file names: Naming a photo unicorns.jpg when it is a photo of puppies isn’t the best tactic. Instead, include a relative SEO keyword in your image file name. Also, don’t use spaces in your file names; use dashes ( – ) or underscores ( _ ).
  • TITLE and ALTERNATE TEXT (ALT) definitions: This should be a short sentence or phrase describing the image. Be sure to include relevant SEO keywords. Note: ALT text isn’t really necessary for SEO but ALT text displays should there be a problem loading your image on your blog. ALT text is also useful for accessibility for visually-impaired visitors. ALT text is also what appears when a mouse arrow hovers over an image.

wordpress-image-seoThe other fields are not necessary and have nothing to do with search engine optimization.

And while we’re at it, if you have an image that doesn’t need to be clicked on while in a blog post (like the one at the top), then click the “None” button below the “Link URL”. The only time the Link URL should remain is when you have an image that needs to be viewed larger, such as a photo of food or instructional images (like the one to the right).

Real-Time Image SEO Examples

The SEO image at the top of this post is named seo.jpg and has TITLE and ALT text descriptions of ‘SEO’ for both. It is an image about SEO so that is what I would like people to search for to find it.

The instructional image above is named wordpress-image-seo.jpg and has TITLE and ALT text descriptions of wordpress-image-seo. (Are you seeing a pattern here? Yes, dashes are okay!)

So the next time you need to add an image to a WordPress post or page, do yourself an SEO favor and give the image a relevant file name and keyword-driven TITLE and ALT tags. Your analytics will thank you for it.

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11 Responses to "How to Optimize WordPress Images for SEO"
  1. ambreen11 says:

    I think alternate text is an old story. but considering file name and file size is more appropriate in SEO trick (no forbidden way). Thanks for explain it well, nice article by the way.

  2. JoshuaMonesson says:

    Thanks mate for pointing the important stuff about offsite seo…Image tagging is also very important with respect to site indexing

  3. Hi Jen: I’m very green at this stuff, in several comments I see “alt” used. I’m sorry, I see alt on one of my keys but I don’t know what it is used for. On occation I have hit this key by mistake and it has made the page I was working on go all fluey.
    Can you help a green-horn   . Thanks, Jim

    • Mama-Jen says:

       @Faithwriterjim The alt key on your keyboard and the alt mentioned above are two different things. :) Alt, as mentioned above, means alternate text for an image. Check out the screenshot above for more info. Hope that helps!

  4. Monica says:

    Thanks for the article. Can you explain why you recommend, “don’t use spaces in your file names; use dashes ( – ) or underscores ( _ ).” 

    • Mama-Jen says:

      Hi Monica! Dashes and underscores are basically word separators. They make it easier for Google to figure out your keywords. As an example, “black-cat.jpg” shows the keywords “black” and “cat”, but “blackcat.jpg” it just a jumble of words. Hope that helps!

  5. Glenn Panter says:

    Your post is a God-send!  we have a wordpress website/blog (whatever it is…I am not super techy)…but we are photographers and really want to do it right so that we optimize each image…can you tell me how much info is too much or just enough to optimize each photo?  For example each image has a filename..can that be multiple words and if so would that be beneficial?  And then what about title, alt text, caption and descriptions?  I don’t want to do too much or too little…HELP!  PLEASE!!!

    • Mama-Jen says:

       @Glenn Panter Hi! Thanks for your comments. :)
       
      I recommend limiting the number of words to maybe 5 max. For example, if you have a wedding photo taken at the Statue of Liberty, I would call the file something like “statue-of-liberty-wedding.jpg”. You could nearly use the same wording for your title/alt attributes, such as “Statue of Liberty Wedding photo”.
       
      Just think of each word you use as a keyword; a potential google search keyword. The only thing you need to fill in is the title, and alt is recommended. The others are not needed.
       
      Hope that helps!

  6. Mike Webb says:

    Jenny,

    Suppose I add 10 photos of in a single post then Do I need to add keywords on all 10 images? Suppose I post 10 leaked images of iPhone 5.. Do I need to add same alt-tag on all images? I think Google will account it as keyword stuffing. How this can be handled?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Mike. Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, you will need to add a title and alt to all 10 images since each image is indexed separately by Google. You may use the same information for all images, but I do recommend changing a word or two in each title/alt description. For example, something like “iPhone 5 screen”, “iPhone 5 applications”, etc. That way you receive more exposure. :)

      Hope that helps!

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