How to Optimize Images for Better Search Engine Rankings

image optimization seo

You are already optimizing your site for search engines, right? But I bet you aren’t optimizing your images for search traffic!

I know, Google image search only gets a half a percent of Google’s overall traffic. But due to blended search results, images actually get a lot more traffic than that half a percent.

Unlike before, when you search for terms like “golden gate bridge” now, you actually see images of the Golden Gate Bridge on the search listings page. For this reason, it’s important to optimize your images for search engines.

Here’s how you can make your images search engine friendly:

Alt tags

Because search engines can’t read images, you need to use alt tags to help describe your image.

Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog

If you have an image of the Golden Gate Bridge during a foggy day, your alt tag should read something like this:

Alt=”Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog”

Here is what the full image code should look like:

<img src=”” alt=”Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog” />

The key to creating good alt tags consists of three points:

  • Image needs a proper description, without keyword stuffing.
  • It should be keyword rich.
  • It needs to be short and to the point.

Long descriptions

Similar to an alt tag, there is also a longdesc attribute. It was first created to help the visually impaired understand images. If you happen to have an image of the Golden Gate Bridge on a foggy day, there are many more words that can be used to describe it than the alt tag we used in the above example.

From the color to the height of the bridge to what the fog looks like, there are a lot of elements to the picture. In this case, to describe the image, you may want to include text on a page that explains in full detail what the image is all about.

Here,  you would use a longdesc, and within it, you would include the URL that explains the image in details.

<img src=”” alt=”Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog” longdesc=”” />

File name

Using the same Golden Gate Bridge example, let’s talk about the file name. You want your image file name to be describing the image. Because there are billions of images out there, you don’t want to use a generic image file name like “goldengatebridge.jpg”.

Instead, you want to use something a bit more descriptive; for example, “foggygoldengatebridge.jpg”. That image file name does a much better job at describing the image than a generic name would do. Plus, the generic name would make it tough for the image to compete in the rankings.

File size

There are two aspects to an image file size. The first is the dimensions of the image, and the second is how much storage space the image requires.

When optimizing an image, you want the dimensions to be as big as possible, yet you want the storage space to be as small as possible. Through programs like Skitch, you can adjust the dimensions, while keeping the storage size small through compression.

Best of all, programs like Skitch will help you maintain the quality of the image as you don’t want to compress it so much that the image doesn’t look good anymore.

EXIF data

EXIF stands for exchangeable image file format, which allows you to add various types of meta data to the actual image file. In other words, it will be embedded in the image itself, so wherever it goes, the meta data goes with it.

EXIF data is even more detailed than the alt tag and long description. It carries data such as:

  • Whether the flash was on or off when the picture was taken.
  • With what type of camera the image was taken.
  • The aperture speed that was used.
  • Date and time the picture was taken.
  • The image’s height and width.

The EXIF data also covers another 20 or 30 facts about the image, but I won’t bore you with them. What you need to do is consider modifying it and adding a detailed description of your image along with your website name to the data.

Rich snippets

Unlike other image optimization tips, this one tags an image to your website or business. That way if you have one image that is highly related to your business, it will show up when someone Googles your business.

neil patel quick sprout search

For example, when you Google “Neil Patel”, you’ll see a picture of me tied to the Quick Sprout listing. This is very useful because it will increase your click through rate.

You can read this article by Google to get a better understanding of how to implement it, and you can use this tool to test if you implemented it right.

Anchor text

Just like ranking a web page, you can increase your image rankings by building links to it. The richer the link anchor text, the higher the image will typically rank.

So, if I want to rank that image of the Golden Gate Bridge for “Golden Gate Bridge”, I would build links with the anchor text “Golden Gate Bridge”. And just like with normal link building, you also want to rotate the anchor text because having anchor text that is too rich can hurt your rankings.

If you want to build links to your images, check out the following link building articles:


When you place an image on your website, make sure you wrap content around it. From the text underneath or above the image to the title tag of the page, and even the headings, the more the text is related to the image the better off you are.

Don’t spam everything with keywords, but sprinkle them in when it makes sense.

GEO locations

Last, but not least, if you are looking to rank your images for localized keywords, make sure you do all of the things above, but also add local keywords to everything.

For example, if your business is located in the San Francisco region, you could have called that Golden Gate Bridge image file:


And for the alt tag, you could have used “San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog” instead of “Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog”.


If you are already optimizing your images for image search, you probably are doing so through alt tags and image file names. But you probably aren’t using the advance tactics such as using GEO location and rich snippets or even modifying EXIF data.

A lot of those tactics won’t have a huge impact on your image rankings on their own, but if you combine them all, you should see an increase in rankings.

In what other ways can you optimize your images?


  1. Kris Angeloff :

    Great article Neil!

    Should all of the above be used together and all the time or this would be overdoing it? Is there a possibility of over optimizing if you use all of the above?

    • Make Money Online :

      Yes Of Course We Can Use All, But You Have To Give Time.

    • That’s also my concern – running the risk of over optimization if you stuff all your images with alt tags and keywords. But I don’t think that’s the effect if you follow these tips. The tips above aren’t overkill because they cover all the aspects of optimizing your images. Covering these factors means maximizing the potential of images in seo.

    • Ideally you should use it all the time, but it is too time consuming to do so.

    • That particular plugin crashes WordPress and has lots of issues, so I would avoid installing that plugin.

  2. Kris Angeloff :

    Besides Skitch there are also and that are great for reducing file size while keeping the same resolution and quality.

    There is also a WordPress plugin (free) for that processes all images as you upload them to your blog.

  3. Thomas S. Moore :

    I think you touch on something that a lot of people miss out on Neil. Images tend to be one of my biggest traffic producers. A well optimized image can help bring new traffic, readers, and customers. People love images/photos/etc the clearer and bigger the better. But make sure it doesn’t slow the site speed down. Never heard of Skitch before but seems like it could make life a lot easier when dealing with images.

  4. Rahul Varshneya :

    It’s amazing to know that one item that is ignored by most is one of the most important factors that helps in search engine rankings.

    Every little component makes for a complete optimized website and am sure images contribute as much. It’s great to know and will surely implement this on my blog as well. Hope to see some great results there, among other areas which I’m already working on based on your other blog posts.

    Kudos to another great post!

  5. Rahul Kuntala :

    This is the first time I’m reading something like long descriptions. Truly I’ve never heard them before Neil..

    There’s so much depth in the post, though it seems to be short! Thanks for the insightful post Neil 🙂

  6. Marvin from SEOGroup :

    Optimizing for images is the most under-utilized form of SEO I see. I constantly see SEO’s forgetting this. It makes a huge difference in and rankings.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Good post – all good tips. Here is another:

    Google allows you to create image sitemaps now.

    Its very similar to a standard site map, but its purely for images. It allows you to add captions, titles and geo location via simple xml markup.

    Just generate a sitemap according to specs, and upload that sucker to your webmaster tools account.

    This is especially helpful if you have images buried in javascript.

  8. Optimizing the images ( I mean decreasing its size ) can also be a good idea. You can use free tool like File-Minimizer Picture 3.0.

    Now another problem which occur is, you might be getting visitors to your images ( from google images ) but they aren’t generating any revenue. In such case you can use a wordpress plugin : This plugin will redirect the visitor to your webpage.

    Here’s one of my post published long ago :

  9. I thought that the alt tag was for visually impaired visitors. I am unclear about the longdesc tag.

  10. Hi Neil,

    Perfect timing on this great article. 2 quick questions:

    1. Do you recommend following or no following the source for image credit?

    2. If you’ve turned the image more into a graphic, should the description instead contain something similar to your article meta description?


  11. Great post,

    anyone knows if the ‘longdesc’ attribute is the same as ‘Description’ on WordPress tool to insert images? I typically fill that text with a little more extended text than the alt tag, but didn’t know I could paste a URL in there.

  12. Hi Neil,

    Very informative post. Keep up the great posts!

  13. Wow! That was excellent article about Image optimization.
    I have a question:
    How Google will come to know, which is original image and which is copied image?


  14. Shazan Sayani :

    Great Article Niel,

    But I have two main things regarding this post,
    1. Do e-commerce can take advantage from the visitor landing via Image search? I think optimization of image mainly help in blog purposes or very particular niche..
    2. While searching for ‘Neil Patel’ on image search, we only get One Quicksprout link.. Do you think your blog should have alt text?

    • Yea it benefits publishing sites more than ecommerce, but ecommerce can use image seo as well.

      You should use alt text. I use it for Quick Sprout.

  15. Blake @ PTB Marketing :

    Image optimization is such a foundational SEO tactic that always seems to be helping my sites. It’s almost offensive how many people forget alt tags and don’t optimize their image names.

    Image size is a whole other story. Using Photoshop or Fireworks, it’s easy enough to drop the image size from 250kb to 25kb with little or no noticeable visual difference.

    I’m not familiar with the long description though. Have you found that to be an additional ranking factor for images?

  16. Ricardo Bueno :

    Great post, and often something that’s overlooked! My niche is real estate, all to often I see agents write about a new property listing an upload images with no alt tags and poor file names.

    Taking the time to do something as simple as editing those things, can make a HUGE difference in search!

  17. Hi Neil,

    Well i always thought that to display an images with the listing was simply done using the “link rel=author” tag.
    I really did not understand what you meant “1 image that is highly related to your business, it will show up when someone Google’s your business.” ?
    Will Rich Snippet if coded properly even display differnt images for differnt inner pages ?
    Please advise

  18. Nice tips for image optimization. Definitely i will follow these tips form next post. Thanks for share.

  19. Neil,
    Any thoughts on how to optimize infographics since you guys do that lot in your kissmetrics site?
    Please share

    • Here is a post I wrote about infographics. Check it out, it should give you some useful tips.

      5 Ways to Get Your Infographic to Go Viral

  20. Interesting about EXIF data. Do we know if Google reads this and use it for ranking? EXIF data contains much more than the items described in the article. You can list name, keywords, and even an URL to the photographer. Adobe Bridge is excellent to use for entering/changing the EXIF data for any image.

  21. Kristin Singhasemanon :

    Great post with a lot more in-depth ideas on image SEO than just the standard image name, alt & title fields. There are so many people who don’t even use the basics.

    @Manu, the Description field in WordPress doesn’t generate any html code on your page when you insert an image into a post, so it’s not the same as the longdesc tag. Like others here I am not familiar with using longdesc, but according to Neil’s explanation, you would need to actually create a new page on your site with this extended description, then link to it in the tag. I think the WP Description field really only comes into use with a gallery.

  22. Is there any relation between the google Author rank and images ? When not is there a small trick to connect images to your google author rank ?

    What is the difference between title and alt ?

    • Hi Jan,

      If you have a google+ profile and you have a WordPress site, one “small trick” is to use Yoast WordPress SEO for rel=author.
      Pretty easy to set up.

    • Lisa did a good job of answering your first question.

      As for the second one… check out this post:

  23. Daniel Hollerung :

    As @Justin mentioned, image sitemaps are a way to get additional consideration by the search engines and improve the experience for users. Building this now will increase the likelihood your images will return in the search results.

  24. Matt Ackerson, :

    Here’s another useful tip for optimizing how image files are named in regard to ranking better in image / overall search results:

    To make the file name of the image more readable by the user who is scanning over search (AND, I would speculate, but the Google bot as well that indexes your sites), put “_” between words in the file name.

    For example, “foggygoldengatebridge.jpg” would become “foggy_golden_gate_bridge.jpg”

  25. An often overlooked channel to receive relevant traffic. Especially in some niches optimizing for images can be huge! Great as always Neil!

  26. Hi Neil
    honestly you really lecture me on something l don’t know much about,l have to bookmark this post for to mater it properly.Thanks

  27. That’s a TERRIFIC post! THANK YOU, Neil!

    From personal experience, I have actually noticed in the last couple months just how many websites I visited precisely because of the images in Google Images that showed up when I was searching for some things. There is now probably a dozen websites that I discovered because of the images and that I now check regularly. I also bought several things. And all discovered through those Google Images. Even just today, before I read Neil’s post: I googled for “raw persimmon pie” (now that we are in persimmon season) – and all these persimmon pie images show up and I ended up on several recipe websites, all because of the images.

    Now having read Neil’s post, I can also tell that some image-heavy websites and blogs (that I check) certainly look like they don’t optimize their images for SEO and miss on lots of opportunities. They should start reading QuickSprout! 🙂

    Neil: I wish though you included in your post a section on image SEO specifically in WordPress, since so many of us use WordPress. 🙂

  28. Great Article. Mr. Neil. Indeed images on any site is a big deal. Making it optimized is surely an important part of the campaign. Good point of view.

  29. Hi neil,

    It’s my first time I’ve been on your site. What a great post to start with! One question on the subject of geolocation.

    This is obviously valuable for local marketing, particularly for Google+ Places pages. I’ve seen a suggestion that it can be a good idea to upload and optimse a photo in Google’s Panoramio, adding the cordinates that the photo was taken at, then pulling that photo down to your website. If you’re in business in a particular location, then photos geolocated to spots withing the area should be a plus for SEO.

    Your advice would be appreciated.

  30. Mike Pedersen :


    Should we worry about over-optimization, as google seems to be cracking down on this. When they see keywords everywhere it draws a red flag with google, or so I thought.


  31. Patrick Sexton :

    Hi Neil, I wanted to suggest my online image SEO tool which looks at the images of a webpage and offers suggestions…
    Image tool

  32. He Neil,
    Thats the lovely post you have written!!! I always read about SEO . But this is first time I came to know so much things about images especially EXIF data & longdesc attribute.
    I always focus on alt text but after reading this I have to check all images on my website.

  33. Facebook Fever :

    Hi Neil,
    To be frank,I didn’t know about longdesc image tag before reading this post and the great tools you mentioned!Thanks for sharing this great image optimization guide with us 🙂

  34. Please cite a source for *each one of these suggestions* confirming that search engines (though everyone just says “Google”) do in fact use these. And not just the alt ATTRIBUTE (they’re not tags) thing… that’s years old. What about the others? Sources please.

    • Tom, that would be too hard as it is all from my experiences over the years tied in with a bit of research and some feedback from other seos.


  35. Alt tags I found helped me a whole lot with image rankings. There are other ways for Google to work out what the image is about, and frequently the content surrounding it makes all the difference, but alt tags do the initial work. You should never forget about those.

  36. Wordpress Installation Service :

    This was a great post and something thats been on my radar the past few months after having quite a bit of success with image optimisation especially around social craze memes.

    Also geo-tagging images for local search is a huge to-do for many local businesses who want to rank higher in Google Local listings.

    Well done on highlighting these keys to your fan base Neil!

  37. I stopped reading after you said “alt tags”… it’s an attribute not a tag. article fails right there.

    • Sorry about that Chuck. I guess we all make mistakes as we are human.

    • Bit harsh Chuck considering it’s commonly referred to as the Alt tag in the SEO world. Although not technically right, I’m pretty sure everybody who read this post understood what Neil was on about. The same can be said for the “Title Element” which is the correct terminology but I bet my bottom dollar that the majority of people call it the “Title Tag” – even SEOmoz refer to it as the title tag! But hey, who are SEOmoz?

  38. Ananda Dhital :

    GEO locations and Exif will really work i you take it together

  39. Avinash Sharma :

    I liked your image optimization tricks…


  40. Sandeep Nandal :

    Hi Neil,

    Another information post. I really like reading your blog. I have been a regular reader of your blog but never thought of commenting. But from now, I will be doing it regularly.

    Thanks Again.

  41. Nice Article,

    Concerning the EXIF data… wouldn’t some of the image compression strategies strip that information to reduce the file size? If so, should a person optimize for file size or information within the file?

  42. Thanks for this list Neil! A lot of work goes into setting up and maintaining sites, so it is greatly appreciated anytime we can find ways to get the most out of our efforts.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  43. Hi Nick.
    Good advise and I like the link to Stitch its what ive been looking for for ages! I try and get my keyword for each page into an image Alt tage along with a brief description. Stuff to many keywords in and Google will notice

  44. Renee Bertrand :

    Another one of Neil’s great article always have something new to teach us 🙂 I’ll try to post more optimized images on my blog from now on .. 🙂

  45. Thank you Neil, you’ve discovered a new world for me.
    I was standing on ALT tag, but i never heard about other optimizations that you’ve explained

  46. Hey Neil,
    I’ve been reading your blog for ages. Some great tips in here 🙂

    Thanks for the good work!

  47. Google Smasher Review :

    google spider can’t identification what’s going on in picture,If your picture is not having Alt Released published written text then Look for Motor Examine will neglect that picture and it will cause damage to blog page SEO.Alt Released published written text is the conditions that google uses to understand pictures.

  48. George Papadongonas :

    Hopefully, the webteam behind the new instagram pages will read this article.

  49. Architectural Finishes :

    Really good post Neil! I was aware of alt tags, titles and anchor texts but you really taught me a lot here. I had no idea about EXIF and how to optimize it and I will definitely be looking into this. Using rich snippets was also new to me so i’ll be looking into that as well. Thanks a bunch Neil!

  50. Great post Neil. While I’m aware of some, the rich snippet and exif data are something new to me. Thanks for the share.

  51. That particular plugin crashes WordPress and has lots of issues, so I would avoid installing that plugin. Check

  52. Googma Sansar @ Make Money :

    Hi Neil Patel ! Thank you for your grat guidence. I’m a blog writer, so that is really usefull for me. I did not take care about image but today this article reveals that the fact ideas. It will really helfull to boost up Google PageRank.

  53. Amazing tips neil , i was just knowing about Alt tags .

  54. I had no idea that adding alt text to my images can help with my search rankings, this proves that you really do learn something new every day!

  55. It’s interesting how we can make use of our image to promote our site. I know it works because we’ve tested it. And there’s Pinterest…

  56. i will surly try this atl system for my blog , it seems great way!!!

  57. Several of the replies are concerning the long description, and how it looks in the code. Here is an example, and I hope it helps somebody.

    I’ve been using these alts and longdesc for years, and we’re consistently on Google’s page one in our niche. Don’t know if this bit of coding helps, but it sure as heck doesn’t hurt.

    Good luck, all.

  58. How odd. The example was dumped by this blog. Never saw that before. Trying again, omitting the brackets.

    img border=”0″ src=”images/carpet_cleaning_landing.jpg” width=”309″ height=”151″ alt=”Cleaner, longer-lasting carpet starts here” longdesc=”Call Reliable for cleaner, longer-lasting carpets”


  59. Jean-Christophe :

    Thank you for this article.
    The “longdesc” attribute is not used by Google to my knowledge.
    Have you done a test on this?

  60. I never really understood how to optimise images but now I do 🙂 thanks Neil

  61. Secret Insider :

    optimising images is something I have yet to do, I never really understood the importance of them. I used them to add weight to my posts and make them look more appealing and tutorial like but as for SEO puposes I think that is something I should start doing more of from today.
    Great post Neil

  62. Would you pls advise what is the correct procedure of writing image filename? Previously I heard to use hyphen between words like “golden-gate-bridge.jpg” but you haven’t mentioned any hyphen or underscore in between. Is it necessary?

  63. Hi Neil, couldn’t help myself to write you again! Thanks for your Skitch software info. It’s really really cool and user-friendly. Thanks.

  64. ebook secrets exposed review :

    I know image phrases are a great idea. m y question is, if you are using the Post Picture as the cause image in Thesis, so it reveals effectively at the top of your website and as a thumbnail, how do you get it to demonstrate a caption?

  65. Long Description.. This is the new thing I have found here. Will must implement for me. Thanks for the post.

  66. Thanks for sharing the tips on how to optimize images for search engines. Very informative Post.

  67. i was not knowing about the Alt tags and i will be suing this from next time.Thanks 🙂 🙂 🙂

  68. Yeah! Long Description is somewhat new to me!

  69. Yes I totally agree with this blog, use Alt attribute to optimize your images in SEO, Google crawler can’t optimize the image so that it will optimize the image by Atl Attribute.


  70. Lavneet Sharma :

    That’s really a cool piece of information. I was myself looking for image optimization a few weeks ago. And here’s what i got. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this information.

  71. KSingh - Blogger :

    The importance of image file size cannot be emphasised enough. In spite of this, I come across blog posts daily with multiple images where each image is 100’s of KB in size. Since it is common for posts to have multiple images, one can just imagine the total impact on page size.

  72. with paid traffic becoming more expensive and competitive, images have become a cheap way of getting free traffic. Thanks for the advice Neil

    • Definitely, as price and competition increase it is important to look for alternative ways. It is all about being creative and trying new things.

  73. Victor Tribunsky :

    May be the file name “foggy-golden-gate-bridge.jpg” will be better?

  74. Neil, thanks for the great advice. I knew that images were important for SEO but never considered adjusting filenames, EXIF and rich snippets. I will now go back and update all of my images. Also, is there an ideal filesize? – Alex

  75. Hi Neil,

    Till yet I have optimized images only through alt tags & file name. But the tips that you shared for optimizing images specially long description, EXIF data, & Rich snippets are completely new for me. I’ll definitely use this from now onwards. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful blog with us.

  76. Adding the title tags and alt tags really help. the picture source file name should be the name including our keywords as well.. and after all its important not to enter text in an image.. cuz we know that search engine crawlers cant crawl through images..

  77. If you continue to wish to transfer larger size photos, flip them into a destination page if somebody clicks on your smaller fingernail pictures.

  78. One more important point, are the “images”, that people forget most of the time and do not optimize it. Optimized images will help you to get more traffic on to your website. I really loved this article, especially the explanation on EXIF and longdesc attribute, will surely apply it henceforth.

  79. hey neil,
    it is a great article indeed. i really liked the information about Alt tags and EXIF. very nice post.

    thanks for such informative post.

  80. Nice post. This is really awesome and thorough information about image SEO. The image that shows up in the SERP is the authorship rich snippet. Google does not just pick an image that’s associated with the website. It takes the profile photo of the author. As far as I know, Google knows who the author is by linking the page to a Google plus profile usually with the “contributor to” section of the plus profile and a rel author link on the webpage.

  81. toledo wedding photographers :

    So blessed to have found this page, I’m a photographer and I’ve been doing a horrible job at this. I thank you for opening why eyes to how important this is Neil, thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  82. Actually, you don’t say something new. All the things are mentioned many many times on the net. I am waiting something new from you as the internet entrepreneur. Thank you.

  83. Lewis LaLanne :

    I have a quick question Neil…

    Do you know if Skitch is any better than Pixlr at compressing images while keeping them looking sharp?

    I use Pixlr right now and it’s brain dead three-click simple process to navigate and accomplish the compression task but I love Evernote so I’m wondering if you’ve found one to be better than the other.

  84. I use Image Tools for convert/optimize images. Iwrote this software by myself and its free. You can found it here:

    It also can be used as PNG to JPEG converter. This is also reduce size of an images significantly.

  85. We are a gaggle of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our
    community. Your website offered us with helpful info to work on.
    You’ve performed a formidable process and our entire group will be grateful to you.

  86. optimizing images with alt tag is also help in creating image sitemap, is there any tools are there for generating image sitemap.

  87. Hello!,,,,,,

    Hi!,,,,,,Great post with a lot more in-depth ideas on image SEO than just the standard image name, alt & title fields. There are so many people who don’t even use the basics. Thank you so much!,,,,,,,

  88. Great idea.. I will start using it in my website.. Is there any time frame that I need to wait to see the result ?


  89. Glad I found this info.

    The snippets lead me to the whole google authorship and the importance of setting it up.

  90. So the EXIF data covers camera data. Correct me if I am wrong but the modifying the description and other info you wrote about is covered in the IPTC are of the information. The software for the website I am stumbling through has a EXIF section and IPTC section. Adobe Bridge also does the same thing where the description and headline as well as other information is done in the IPTC section of the metadata. Do Search engines consider the IPTC along with the EXIF?

  91. Paul D. Mitchell :

    I agree, we should not ignore optimizing our images. In my blog, I usually use original images. That is why I invest some time to also optimize the image attached to my post. If we spend time on writing contents, we should do it in our images.Generally, it is not advisable to add too many images in a website, but when images are absolutely necessary, there arises the need for image optimization and of course the author has shared some good points related to image optimization.

  92. that was helpful

  93. Rachelle Weymuller :

    Thanks! I knew I needed to do something but you spelled it out perfectly…now back to work.

  94. very nice post thanks , customized my images as u mentioned

  95. Prashant saxena :

    Image optimization is also important as it drives good traffic to your blog….

  96. Curtis Bisel :

    Nice article Neil!

    So you have any opinions/thoughts on how to optimize images for SEO & Pinterest at the same time?

    Optimizing for Pinterest seems to be taking over the needs of Google and the visually impaired with the ALT tag. And I don’t think that’s fair. Your example of:

    Alt=”Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog”

    .. probably wouldn’t make for a good “default” Pinterest pin description if someone wanted to pin this image and link to your post here (Pinterest pulls the ALT tag info for the default description). And I know we can’t always rely on Pinterest users to think of great catchy promotional descriptions to change the default ALT tags to.

    Do you have any thoughts Neil?

    • Neil Patel :

      I don’t sadly. But you make some good points and it is important to figure out how to make your images do well on Pinterest as well as they are dominating Google right now.

  97. tai game az :

    I have been reading about image optimization online, and this is by the far the top resource online. Thanks for the great information.

  98. Hi Neil,
    Great guide. I have an image-heavy site and am looking to use a CDN (Amazon cloudfront, pull origin). With the far-futures setting enabled, it seems to generate a unique url for the image source, which I imagine is changed every time the CDN refreshes the content. I am nervous about implications for image ranking – your thoughts?

  99. Your post is very helpful for the beginners. Keep it up 🙂

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  111. But you have not used long description but you have advised to use long description how well is that going to work.

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  113. Image optimization is one of the most important thing of SEO. alt tag plays a nice role because search engine cannot read the image but it can read the text you read as the alt tag.Does the description field have any constructive use for images in WordPress?

  114. Hi Neil, what a nice article!!.. though I knew somethings image optimization but now I am fully clear read your articles. I follow your system in my website for better search engine ranking. You are great.

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  130. Hi

    Is it wise to have the image name and alt text as the same?


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  132. Hey Neil, great article as always. I like the way you explain things using infographics and it really does help in understanding. As a beginner in SEO many times I go through your articles and learning something new each time. Thank you for putting it together.

  133. Andy Kuiper :

    All very good tips – thanks Neil 🙂

  134. Mayank Wadhwa :

    Whoo nice i work on images blog and this post is specially for me 😉 Thanks Man!!

  135. Hello, Neil!
    I’m in great need of your professional opinion, please help!
    What should I do about ALT attributes if the image has nothing in common with key words I want to use?

    Maybe the question sounds ridiculous so I’ll explain: our website has a very popular classified adds section. For promotion of this section we use image of target with arrow in it (to illustrate success of using our classifieds:)). We are using this image for a long time, so now we’re planning to put it on our classifieds’ page. BUT what to write as ALT attribute? Of course, words like “classified ads” and other keyword should be there, but image itself doesn’t have anything in common with classified ads – it’s just a target with arrow in it…
    Could you please give me an advice what should I do in this situation? Should I
    1) leave the ALT attribute empty;
    2) write ALT attribute with keywords (but NOT what REALLY this image looks like, so this would be a cheating – there is nothing in that image that looks like classified ads:) And I don’t want to get Google penalty for cheating, keywords stuffing, etc.)
    3) just write ALT attribute like “target with arrow”, without any keywords.
    4) Convince my bosses to use other image which is directly related with classified adds idea?

    I’ve this problem for a while (not only with this section, but with many other posts/sections, etc.), so I would be VERY happy to hear your opinion, as your blog is brilliant and to say the truth, it looks like I’m going to become a great fan of yours!:)

    • Why not make the alt tag the title of the listing? Assuming there is just one image… ideally the alt tag should be customized to each image.

  136. Very nice article as always, Neil.
    But i didnt get a thing..

    As my main tittle would be bit different than image..
    Shouldn’t i add few keywords on my image so that right traffic comes to my site.?
    else i guess Wrong people will get to my site and leave within few seconds..

    correct me if i am wrong



  137. My blog (wordpress/genesis) is very image driven. Would you advise using Smush It to compress all the images already published in posts? Currently I just resize them when I ‘save for web’ on Photoshop. Also if I used a tool like ImageOptim before uploading images for future posts would I still need to use Smush It?

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  139. No need to say it is awesome and helpful to a beginner like me.
    I would like to know about the “Title” tag.
    Is it not that much important like alt tag?

  140. I use image optimization for my blog where am basically uploading images. My results show up on top as keyword aren’t too competitive. I wanted to know how to proceed with alt text on blogger

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  142. Neil,

    Ok, so should I use title tags? My images that are loaded into the WP media library are basically used as decor. I have given them alt text but I can’t find a definitive answer regarding title tags. I am building a membership site so it may not be crucial to load the photos with info that may be more pertinent in a blogging site. Please advise, thanks?

  143. Vikas Singh :

    Nice article. I am a big fan of Neil and always go through his little bio. It inspires me. I would like to add some value to this post. Recently I came across a very nice WP plugin. The new bloggers flood their blog with all the high-resolution images to make it nice and attractive. But for the matter of fact, that reduces the speed of the website and it takes a lot of time to load which hampers the user experience.

    Use ‘wp smush’ to reduce the size of images and keep the quality good. The free version will allow 50 images to smush at a time, then you need to start the process again for next 50 images. Premium version will take this restriction off.

    Hope this one of the nice ways to optimize an image.

  144. Awesome in depth article, Neil. Thank you for all tips!
    Beside Skitch used only for quick screenshots I personally use ShortPixel for great images optimization. I try so many others but this one seems to work better with largest sizes.

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  146. I have change all the image name in my website. But shall i need to change the small icons image name too and can i use keywords even if the image isn’t relevant.

    • Yes you’ll want to optimize all individual images. Use the keywords that are most relevant to your image and an image that’s most relevant to your article.

  147. I have a question which I hope you can help with,

    Our WooRank report is showing that we have a large number of images requiring alt tags. When I’ve spoke to our web company the images are set up as decorative so I can’t add the tag – they’re saying that it’s not necessary to add them. Why would it come up on the report if it’s not necessary? I always thought it was best to have an alt tag so google can reference the images?

    Advice would be much appreciated!

    • I’m not a 100% sure, why you can’t, maybe it’s the way they were coded on to the site and it requires too much work on their part.

  148. Ann Redgewell :

    Neil came across your article, and wondered if you could tell me if this works for my listing on
    Don’t know also if you know if Amazon allow this and if it’s with their TOS?
    Thank you in advance?

    • I’m not 100% sure Ann, I have been working on amazon a lot myself recently, so perhaps I’ll create a post about it soon.

  149. Wedding Photographer Leicester :

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  150. I have to building backlink for my images to get hight ranking?

  151. Thanks for the tip about Rich Snippets as well as the link to Google’s article on implementation. Great value – I’m excited to implement that on a number of sites!

  152. Gerald Leckie :

    How do you feel about Geo-Tagging images?

  153. What is best size for images to be ranked in google’s images seo ?

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  157. Great tips Neil. Regarding image optimization, the Skitch service you recommend has been discontinued. Sirv can be used instead: It automatically serves images in the optimal format, which is often WebP.

    The growth of WebP looks set to continue beyond just Chrome and Opera, with Safari and Firefox actively working on WebP support. File size is typically 30-50% smaller than JPEG, while maintaining the same quality. I’m a Sirv co-founder.

  158. Dear Neil i saw your tips but iam new in SEO i cant understand can you feel me better thats is my site

  159. jivansutra :

    Hi Neil,
    You described all important parameters regarding optimization of Images, but i think exif and geo data will only increase the file size and Ilya Grigorik on google developer also backs this point.

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  163. Traveler Food :


    I would just like to clarify that you have to click on “edit” after inserting the image in a post, to fill the field Alt, because this one is empty, WordPress has planned that we can customize it according to the post put

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