Want to know how to name images for SEO?
Naming images for SEO will improve your search engine rankings and website traffic!
This tip makes it so easy – it literally will take just seconds.
After you grab this tip, don’t miss all the SEO image optimization tips later in this article.
Why images for SEO?
Blog post images offer a number of SEO benefits.
Including images on your web pages:
- Makes your articles easier to read (increasing time on-page).
- Increases social sharing (Google loves social proof).
- Allows more keywording opportunities.
- Can send you traffic from Google image searches.
So you know you need images! Now let’s name them well to help you even more.
How to Name Images for SEO – FAST!
Since you know your SEO basics, you’re already using your best keywords in your headline and URL, right?
So copy and paste ’em for your image names!
Be sure the keywords and the image work together: the image should be described by your keyword phrase.
As Google says:
To boost your content’s visibility in Google Images, focus on the user by providing a great user experience: make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Make sure that your visual content is relevant to the topic of the page. source
OK, here’s the step-by-step.
1 | Optimize your page URL for your keyword phrase.
Usually this is one search term, but sometimes you can sneak in 2 related ones.
My main keywords for this post are how to name images for seo and images seo. I edited the URL down to how-to-name-images–seo, removing one extra word (also called “stop words”).
No worries in any event, you can always rank for keywords that aren’t called out specifically in your URL. So don’t keyword stuff!
2 | Copy your edited URL / keyword phrase.
Now paste that phrase, including the hyphens, when saving (or renaming) the image you’ll be uploading for your blog post.
*NOTE: Be sure the image is relevant to the keyword phrase, and vice versa! More about relevance towards the end of this article.
If using more than one image, you could save them with -1, -2, etc. added at the end.
If I just have 2 images for a post, I might name them “keyword-phrase-FB” and “keyword-phrase-PIN.” Of course, I always have at least one image for Facebook and one for Pinterest!
But when do I ever have just 2 images on a web page?!?
Go one better and name each image with a related keyword phrase that’s relevant to that particular image.
And so on.
Hint: See tip 3 below for how to save your properly-named image file.
3 | Copy the keyword phrase from your blog post title.
Upload your image and paste the keyword phrase as the Alt Text of the image if relevant.
You can also add it as the Image Title, but this doesn’t affect SEO. Image Title is shown if someone mouses over the image on your site.
You can add other words after your keyword phrase as appropriate, such as Step 1, Step 2…
And as in point 2 above, use related keyword phrases where more relevant. Often you can copy these from text in the adjacent part of the article.
Note: Adding text to the Description field is unnecessary. This can only be seen on the backend of your site.
Admire your work.
That’s it! Now you have a keyword-rich image name and alternate text, which you just copied and pasted in seconds.
SEO for images: More tips!
Optimizing images for SEO goes well beyond the image file name.
Here are the steps to SEO image optimization:
1 | Use relevant images
Don’t use your keywords on irrelevant images just to get more keywords onto your page. Google hates keyword stuffing!
Serve the reader first by including useful, relevant images.
2 | Use proper SEO image naming convention
Google tells us “filenames and alt text are best when they’re short, but descriptive.” source
We covered naming images in-depth above.
3 | Save your images in the right file type
All things being equal, Google prefers sites that load quickly. So don’t shoot yourself in the foot by slowing down your site with bloated images.
In brief, PNG-8 will give you the smallest file size for graphics with limited colors.
JPEG is the file type for photos, as well as graphics that have many shadings of colors.
Reduce the pixel size of your image so it’s no larger than it will display online. Don’t place the full-size image on your page and reduce the dimensions in the code. That won’t help at all! It increases your page load time because the larger file still has to load, plus be reduced by the code.
For JPEGs, use the maximum compression that still displays at a good quality.
4| Use image alt tags properly
The “alt” attribute allows you to specify alternative text for the image if it can’t be displayed, or your reader is visually impaired.
Always fill out the alt text unless the image is purely decorative and irrelevant, like a swash. Alt text is actually required under the American Disabilities Act for individuals who are unable to view images.
You can use your keyword phrase in the alt text, but be sure it’s descriptive of the image.
Don’t keyword stuff, and don’t use alt text for long-winded Pinterest descriptions.
Google tells us:
Avoid writing excessively long alt text that would be considered spammy. source
5 | Add descriptive captions
Not only do captions give you more keyword placements, they’re also among the most-read text on your web pages.
A caption will appear beneath the image and should explain what’s in the image.
Captions add context to your images so search engines can more easily understand them.
If your image would benefit from a caption, add one!
Use keywords, but as with everything else, don’t overdo the keywords. Be helpful.
6 | Add images to your sitemap
Google encourages website owners to submit a sitemap to them to help them better crawl your pages and get them added to their search results.
You can include images in your site’s XML sitemap, or create a separate image sitemap to submit.
For further reading on SEO [Search Engine Optimization]
Need more help with your SEO efforts?
Don’t miss my key post on easy SEO basics to improve your web traffic.
And here are my most popular posts on SEO (this one is #1!). You’ll find some useful infographics to save to Pinterest!
Want to hire out? Here’s how to choose the best SEO company to hire.
This post on naming images for SEO was originally published July 8, 2013 and updated August 31, 2016, and June 17, 2019.
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