How to Optimize Images for SEO – Useful Guide

According to a survey conducted by Google, businesses with photos featured in their organic or local search results are 90% more likely to attract purchases from consumers.

Google also looks at more than 200 factors while ranking sites in the SERPs because it’s about ensuring your site’s performance if it aligns better with user expectations.

But what if your page speed is slower than a snail’s crawl and may leave your visitors frustrated and bounce back before even exploring the content that you have spent countless hours crafting? 

The culprit? Unoptimized images.

Well-optimized image helps to boost conversion rate plus it can also help you to stand out from other competitors that dont optimize their images.

Let’s transform your website from a slow lane snail to a swift and smooth experience for your visitors by unlocking the secrets to faster load times and improved user experience.

Choose the Right File Format

Different file formats have varying capabilities in preserving image quality. Selecting the appropriate format ensures that the images are displayed as intended, without issues such as blurriness or distortion.


For instance, JPEGs ( Joint Photographic Experts Group) are suitable for photographs due to their ability to display millions of colors and are almost compatible with all sorts of devices. 

JPEG image compression is not 100% quality as it utilizes lossy compression which means when you save an image as a JPEG, you often have the option to set the compression level. 

Higher compression levels result in smaller file sizes but also more data loss and reduced image quality. Lower compression levels retain more image data, providing better quality but at the expense of a larger file size.

However, for web use, especially in scenarios like featured images for blog posts, or screenshots where a balance between image quality and file size is essential, JPEG compression is commonly used but in small image sizes.

PNG File Formats:

PNG is another popular image format suitable for displaying on any device. It employs lossless compression, preserving data throughout the compression process. 

PNGs support features like transparent backgrounds, making them ideal for various design elements. 

However, it’s essential to note that PNG file sizes can be larger compared to JPEGs. Considering this, PNGs are recommended for specific use cases on a blog where features like transparency are crucial

WebP Image Format:

WebP is a modern image format designed for the web, developed by Google. It often provides superior compression efficiency compared to both JPEG and PNG, offering smaller file sizes without compromising image quality. 

While it doesn’t necessarily guarantee 100% quality, WebP generally delivers high-quality images with more efficient compression.

For a blog, using WebP can be a good choice as it helps improve page loading times due to smaller file sizes. It supports both lossy and lossless compression, making it versatile for various use cases.

Compress Your Images

Effective image compression is vital for enhancing website performance and managing storage on devices. It involves finding the right equilibrium between reducing file sizes to expedite internet loading and maintaining acceptable image quality. There are two main compression types: lossy and lossless.

JPEGs employ lossy compression, as we were talking about above discarding some data to achieve smaller files, albeit with a slight reduction in quality. Conversely, PNGs use lossless compression, preserving all data but resulting in larger file sizes.

Several tools are available for compression, including 11Zon – a user-friendly, free way that facilitates format conversion. 

The optimization of images necessitates a thoughtful approach to compression types, file formats, and user expectations. Employing the right tools ensures a harmonious balance between image size and quality tailored to your specific requirements.

Use Image Alt Text 

Alt text, or alternative text, serves as a descriptive written content of an image, providing details about its content and purpose. This textual information is essential for screen readers, enabling them to convey image content to users, and it aids Google in evaluating an image’s relevance to search queries. 

Adding alt text in WordPress is a straightforward process, while in Google Docs, you can right-click on images, choose Alt text, and input the description. 

Personally, I follow the formula “Main keyword – image description” for alt text. For example, in the case of the WordPress illustration mentioned earlier, I employed the alt text “image optimization guide.” 

This approach ensures that both screen readers and Google can accurately interpret the image’s content. If you wish to understand how competitors utilize alt tags, you can visit their site, right-click, and select Inspect to examine the alt tags within their site’s code.

Use an Image Sitemap

An image sitemap is a specialized type of XML sitemap designed to provide search engines with detailed information about the images on a website. This dedicated sitemap includes essential metadata such as image URLs, captions, titles, and other relevant details. 

By submitting an image sitemap to search engines, website owners can ensure that search engine crawlers efficiently index and understand the context of each image on the site. 

Some businesses choose not to include their images in the sitemap, and this decision often hinges on the nature of the content they generate. 

For instance, a photography website finds it crucial to include an image sitemap for effective indexing. 

Similarly, if a website employs practical charts or graphics to illustrate content implementation, including a sitemap becomes beneficial in such cases. 

The decision to include images in the sitemap is context-dependent, influenced by the type of content and its visual significance in enhancing the overall user experience.

Use Structured Data Markup

Imagine you’re organizing a photography competition where participants submit images. Instead of receiving images with varying file formats, resolutions, and metadata, you provide participants with specific guidelines using a form. This ensures all submitted images follow a standardized structure.

In a similar vein, schema markup organizes your data, enabling search engines like Google to recognize whether it’s a product, event, or person. Here’s a different scenario to illustrate its application:

Enhancing Event Listings on Your Website – Implementing Schema Markup outlines various event-related schemas, including:

  1. Event
  2. BusinessEvent
  3. ChildrensEvent

While integrating schema markup involves a certain level of technicality, it’s a powerful tool to improve the visibility of your event listings on search engine results.

Use Responsive Images

Utilizing responsive images is essential for an effective web strategy. Responsive images automatically adjust their size and dimensions based on the device and screen resolution, providing an optimal viewing experience for users across various platforms.

This adaptability not only enhances user experience but also plays a pivotal role in SEO. Search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites, and by employing responsive images, you ensure that your site meets these criteria. Faster loading times on mobile devices contribute to improved page performance, positively impacting your site’s search engine rankings.

In essence, incorporating responsive images not only caters to diverse user preferences but also aligns with SEO best practices, enhancing the overall visibility and accessibility of your website.

Final Verdict

Image SEO plays a crucial role in enhancing the visibility and accessibility of images on the internet. By optimizing image file names, alt tags, and descriptions with relevant keywords, website owners can improve their chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages and attracting more organic traffic. 

Additionally, ensuring that images are appropriately sized and compressed can significantly impact page load times, leading to a better user experience and potentially higher search rankings. 

With the ever-increasing importance of visual content online, mastering Image SEO is becoming essential for businesses and individuals looking to maximize their online presence. 

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Why is image SEO important?

Image SEO is important because it helps websites attract organic traffic, improves user experience, and enhances overall search engine optimization efforts.

How can I optimize images for SEO?

You can optimize images for SEO by using descriptive file names, adding alt text, reducing image file sizes, and ensuring proper formatting and placement.

What are the benefits of optimizing images for SEO?

The benefits of optimizing images for SEO include increased website traffic, better user engagement, improved search engine rankings, and enhanced accessibility.

Can image SEO impact page load speed?

Yes, improperly optimized images can negatively impact page load speed. Optimizing images can help improve load times and overall site performance.