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5 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Perfectly Optimized Images

Image SEO wordpress pluginsLong time ago I wrote a short (yet quite complete) post on image SEO which obviously needed an update, so a couple of weeks ago I wrote a bit more detailed and up-to-date article on optimizing images for search and social media.

Today’s article lists most essential WordPress plugins to optimize and make the most of your image content you post on your blog.

That’s not yet another 20-best-plugins article listing an enormous number of more or less useless plugins you don’t want or need. Here are the 6 most essential ones you *must* have to see your traffic spike!

SEO-Optimize Images: File Name + Alt Text + Size

1. Optimize Alt Text and Title of Images

SEO-Friendly Images is the plugin by the awesome Vladimir Prelovac (who obviously knows a thing about WordPress SEO). It helps you optimize all your existent and future images by automatically adding an alternative and TITLE text to them. It lets you:

  • Automatically add the alternative and TITLE text to your images where you already don’t have either.
  • Make the the alternative and TITLE text different by combining the following four variables:
    • %title – replaces post title
    • %name – replaces image file name (without extension)
    • %category – replaces post category
    • %tags – replaces post tags

Set alt text and title attribute for images - WordPress

If you’ve been wondering about the purpose of the alt text and title attribute for images, here’s a very concise chart that makes the difference obvious:

Alt text vs TITLE - image seo

(Note: they are both more or less essential for SEO nowadays, but that’s not the reason to make the two identical just in case)

2. Optimize image file names!

While being (arguably) not the most powerful SEO-relevant image element, the file name is crucial for getting your images to rank in image search results.

Media File Renamer is the easiest plugin ever and with only one functionality: it adds an option to change the image URL slug (i.e. image file name) to optimize it. To change the image file name, just change the title field when uploading. Easy but pure gold!

Media File Renamer

3. Optimize the Size and Image Load Speed

Nowadays we are all well aware of the importance of your page load speed for SEO and user experience. Google loves fast pages and images can make your pages much slower.

WP is an invaluable plugin that uses the awesome API to optimize the images you upload to your blog on many levels:

  • It compresses the images to load them faster;
  • It strips unnecessary colors from indexed images;
  • It converts certain GIFs to PNGs for better performance.

It works for the new images “behind the scene”: just upload images and it will optimize them. It can be run for already published articles from your “Media Library”:


Note: This one may have your site hang for quite some time, so run it on the slowest (least active) day and time

Social-Media Optimize Images (Facebook)

4. Control Your Content Thumbnail

I have already done a detailed post on how to point Facebook to the best image to use in the readers’ wall updates when they are sharing your post.

WP Facebook Open Graph protocol generates Facebook Meta information to your blog pages automatically:

  • It uses “Featured Image” for the post thumbnail; OR
  • It uses the first image in the post content; OR
  • (if the above two images are absent)It uses the image you specify.

WP Facebook Open Graph protocol

Protect Images: Watermark

5. Automatically Watermark Your Images

Watermark Reloaded is a cool plugin that adds a watermark to images you upload to your blog. You can configure it to:

  • Set the image type you want watermarked;
  • Align the watermark;
  • Set the color and size of the font:

Watermark Reloaded options

+1. Protect Images from Downloading and Re-Using

(I am not using it myself as I seldom use my own images, but I can definitely see the value of it!)

No Right-Click for Images is the essential plugin, especially if you are the creator of the images you upload to your blog and you don’t want them to be re-used. It won’t help for all cases of plagiarism but it does what it does: the plugin doesn’t let your readers use the right click on image files to copy or save them.

WordPress plugin for image optimization What does it do? Bulk-updates previously uploaded images (in old posts)?
SEO-Friendly Images Adds image alt text and title attribute Yes
Media File Renamer Adds the option to change image file name (URL slug) No
WP Optimizes image size and load time Yes
WP Facebook Open Graph protocol Adds Facebook Meta dat to your blog pages automatically => points Facebook to the best image to use in the wall update Yes (You’ll have to clear the Facebook cache of your pages using this tool to see new thumbnail)
Watermark Reloaded Adds your brand watermark to all images you upload to your blog No
+1. No Right-Click for Images Disables right-click on image file to prevent them from being downloaded Yes

Any other essential plugins for image optimization? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by MahPadilha

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  1. 32 Responses to “5 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Perfectly Optimized Images”

  2. Cool share Ann;) Very helpful plugins. Every time we post a blog, it’s very helpful to ask ourselves how can this be different? How can this be unique enough that it will stand out from the crowd? Creativity should always be included in everything that we do. We also need to optimize and make the most of our image content we post on our blog.

    By Judy Caroll on Mar 8, 2012

  3. really interesting! However, I always worry what happens to the speed of my site if I install plugins for everything…

    By Radicke on Mar 9, 2012

  4. Nice. I’ve been focusing a lot more on my images lately and I’m totally impressed with these plugins. Love the one! It’s doing its thing right now!

    Thanks for sharing these :)

    By Bellaisa on Mar 9, 2012

  5. A message for Radicke. there is a free plugin(yes another one) called super cache. It caches your content on your server and your pages load lightening quick regardless of what content you have on there, including videos. you can get it from the wordpress site.

    By Jeff Stanford on Mar 9, 2012

  6. @Jeff: yes, thanks. I am using super cache… However, it will not help if the 20-something plugins I would like to install don´t work together well…
    I wish there were “officially” approved plugins by wordpress (kind of like from the Apple App Store…)

    By Radicke on Mar 10, 2012

  7. is my default plugin for all my WP blogs.

    I don’t know Watermark Reloaded , so might have to try it out :)

    By bruce cat on Mar 13, 2012

  8. WordPress is having so awesome plugins I was not aware about.. I am using from a long time and happy with the image performance of my blog.

    I am using SEO Images plugin also which is very helpful too..

    By Latest Tech NEWS on Mar 16, 2012

  9. I did not know that there were so many plug-ins. WordPress is rocking. I would like to set Watermark Reloaded and SEO-Friendly Images

    By Felicia Corrine on May 7, 2012

  10. I would like to have an answer to question that has me stumped. I know this is not probably the right place but here goes. How do you add an alt tag to a thumbnail ? SEO quake says that my alt tags are missing only on most of my images . All of my product images are thumbnails. Thanks in advance if anyone can help.

    By Michael Bates on May 8, 2012

  11. Great plugins! thank you very much. Specialy thanks for media file renamer, was looking for a tool like that for ages. Can’t belive it didn’t crossed my mind to go search it on wp plugins repository :s

    By Digital Marketing on May 12, 2012

  12. So far I only use WP Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

    By Belajar SEO on May 28, 2012

  13. You mentioned some plugins I have not heard of. great stuff, thanks again.

    By Ethan Poltrack on Jun 7, 2012

  14. I guess I need to say DUH! I have been going in and manually trying to optimize my images. I should have known there was a WP plugin to make this easier!

    By Jane on Jun 12, 2012

  15. awesome list thanks sharing this list :)very useful

    By Rahul Kashyap on Jul 6, 2012

  16. Just a heads up, the Wp Smush-It service is essentially defunct due to the Yahoo API.

    By Jordan Meeter on Aug 7, 2012

  17. Bad news for everyone :(

    By Ann Smarty on Aug 13, 2012

  18. We use RIOT to optimize every image before uploading it to the site. It can reduce size of an image to more than 92% of its original size while keeping the quality of the image intact. And most importantly it’s free to use (cheers)!

    By Nadeem Khan on Aug 28, 2012

  19. @Nadeem: Doesn’t have OS X support. OS X users should look in to “ImageOptim”

    By Jordan Meeter on Aug 28, 2012

  20. Wow! Great info here. I’m using SEO Friendly Images on my WP sites. The Watermark Reloaded one is new to me. I believe I’ll try it. Thanks again for the great content.

    By Laurie J. Greene on Apr 7, 2013

  21. If you are looking for great images, you might want to check our Pixabay’s plugin for retrieving public domain images:

    The plugin lets you pick among 80.000+ free quality images that don’t require attribution. Probably a great addition to the here presented plugins :-)

    By Simon Steinberger on Apr 12, 2013

  22. I like all the plugins except right click for images. I would say its a waste to install this plugin. If someone wants to steal your images he can simply use the prtscn option to capture the image or use browser add-ons like awesome screenshot

    By Anish on May 8, 2013

  23. I agree with Anish. No-right click for images is a waste of time. I have the option in my theme to enable no-right click, but you can easily download an image just by clicking on it, then right-clicking and saving as… No need for special plugins – not good at all :-(

    By Irena on Feb 27, 2014

  24. I would love to have the but have the hesitation on using the watermark reloaded for the simple reason that if I put my screenshot version of Matt Cutt’s picture on my blog, this might lead to copyright issues because I usually make screenshots from his videos.

    By Glenn on Mar 2, 2014

  25. Just to let everyone know: WP-Smushit seems to be fully functioning again, and is definitely recommended.

    You can find it in the WP depository:

    By Kim Fredtoft on Mar 21, 2014

  26. Wow, great list and a few I’ve never used before, should keep me busy this afternoon. Thanks :)

    By Claire on Mar 22, 2014

  27. A so useful list. Thanks a lot for this amazing tips :)

    By Créateur site internet on Apr 29, 2014

  28. Nice list.

    The commenter above who dissed No Right Click doesn’t get the point, does she? No right click means no right click. Duh.

    As far as image thieves, eventually they’ll get theirs.

    By Donna Barstow on Sep 11, 2014

  29. Hello,
    Thank you for sharing these plugins.
    I developed a plugin for my own use, but I just publish it on wordpress.
    My plugin “Bulk SEO Image” is useful to update all ALT attributes of your images in one clic (for example, with the post title)
    Compared to other plugin, the plugin changes the ALT attribut in one time, and is not called when a page is loading

    I expect a lot of updates in the future, and I welcome any feedback!

    By Felix on Apr 7, 2015

  30. Some great tips for me to get stuck in to. Many thanks!

    By Chris Peskett on Apr 13, 2015

  31. This is very useful article. Thank you for sharing.

    By bryan on Aug 6, 2015

  32. Ann Smarty thanks a lot for this useful post. Right now i am working Bulk WP Smush.IT.

    By Deepika Sharma on Jan 25, 2016

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