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How To Optimize Images For Search Engines, Social Media and People

image optimization

Optimize your images for search engines:

  • Keywords in alt text, text around the image, image name, page title;
  • Preferred image formatting – jpg;
  • Separate SE accessible image folder;
  • Image freshness. (SEW suggests re-uploading your images to keep them fresh);
  • Enabled image search option at Google webmaster tool.
  • Reasonable image file size (see the discussion at WW)
  • Limited number of images per page;
  • Popular and reliable photo sharing hosting (e.g. Flickr is reported to help in Yahoo! image optimization).

Optimize your images for social media:

  • (obvious) use really great images to give your readers another reason to spread the word;
  • (to get Digg thumbnailed submission) stick to jpg format and make sure the images can be resized to (or already are) 160×120 or 160×160 pixels (Unless you have an image that can be resized that way Digg will not offer the submitter a thumbnail to go with the post).
  • Create animated GIFs: They go hot easily!

Optimize your images for people:

  • People pay more attention to a clear image where they can see details (choose high quality images).
  • (Clean, clear) faces in an image get more eye fixation. (don’t use abstract images too often).
  • Keep them relevant: images are not the first thing a visitor sees on a web page but they can compel him to stay (according to the eye-tracking research web text is prior to images; when looking at a printed article people see images first; with web page they see text first – nevertheless images make the visitor stay and remember the page via relevant associations).

Gender specific:

  • women are better at recognizing facial emotions than men (research):
  • men seem to be more likely than women to first look at faces rather than other parts of a nude body (source);
  • women are more interested in images with more than one person (source).

Tools and fun for image optimization:

  • SEO Friendly Images WP Plugin – automatically optimize image ALT and TITLE with the help of post “%title” variable;
  • Play with Google Images labeling (and help improve the quality of Google image search).

How to find images online.

Post image: Feeling lucky punk?

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  1. 138 Responses to “How To Optimize Images For Search Engines, Social Media and People”

  2. Great read. Thanks for the write up Ann.

    By Brian Chappell on Mar 15, 2008

  3. i always thought these are images you see first when entering the site. i didn’t know text is prior to images! very interesting

    By Troj on Mar 16, 2008

  4. Thanks for the great information! [stumbled] :)

    By mark on Mar 16, 2008

  5. @Brian, @Troj, @Mark and everyone – thank you for the thumbs up!

    By Ann Smarty on Mar 17, 2008

  6. Very good posting I really appreciate. According to me the best way is alt tag for promoting images but today I learns other thing is well thanx for shering with us.

    By Unsecured Loans on Mar 17, 2008

  7. thanks for the mention, it’s so nice that know that I thought these are good images.

    By Ethan on Mar 18, 2008

  8. Thanks for the idea.

    By Seo Company India on Mar 19, 2008

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


    By ITrush on Mar 22, 2008

  10. Haven’t done controlled tests yet, but a few more ideas:

    * try hotlinking the images, or even copying to another site (don’t change filename or edit it or md5sum will change)
    * place within same block level HTML elements as keywords
    * use the word “photo” in the alt text

    By Pocket SEO on Mar 23, 2008

  11. Thanks for the idea.

    By Mitesh Patel on Mar 24, 2008

  12. If you have a page which is talkin about famous people them image optimization techniques can be extremely useful and good ranking can drive a lot fo traffic to your site.

    By Affordable Search Engine Optimization on Apr 16, 2008

  13. very good information..

    By Aswani on May 21, 2008

  14. Good resource, thanks.

    By gestalt therapy on May 26, 2008

  15. Nice organization and referencing, Ann!

    By Brian Carter on May 26, 2008

  16. Noway is jpg prefered. All my images are png. Will they still appear in google images at all?

    By ricky on Jul 6, 2008

  17. Hi Webmaster,
    We can do directory and article submission. If you are interested to deal with us . you can provide submission work to us . We will promise, your work will complete in best way (in good page Rank Directory). we will give you complete work with in proper time period. We can do work both salary and commission base. please help me .
    I can do 100 submission 8$

    We are waiting your positive response

    Have a nice day

    By mukesh on Oct 1, 2008

  18. Hi Webmaster,
    We can do directory and article submission. If you are interested to deal with us . you can provide submission work to us . We will promise, your work will complete in best way (in good page Rank Directory). we will give you complete work with in proper time period. We can do work both salary and commission base. please help me .

    We are waiting your positive response

    Have a nice day

    By mukesh on Oct 1, 2008

  19. Nice tips, must follow now,
    Happy new year.

    By cuocthiseo on Dec 26, 2008

  20. Nice and wonderful posting, thanks for giving the information.

    By Hanu Software on Mar 18, 2009

  21. I’m just wondering why my images on picasa got a good position on image search? While i haven’t used any method mention above.

    By Bibokz on Apr 13, 2009

  22. Re-uploading your images? Never would have thought of that.

    And… info on where to find free images.

    Great post, thanks for all the work.

    Keith D

    By Keith D on Apr 20, 2009

  23. Thanks for the idea.

    By France casinos on May 15, 2009

  24. Good resource, thanks.

    By Unibet poker on May 19, 2009

  25. Ann
    Your “how to find images online” is useful.. I’m always looking for good quality, eye catching free images.


    By Bill Simcox on May 23, 2009

  26. So usefull! Nice post thanks for sharing and good idea lol …

    By parier internet on May 25, 2009

  27. Thanks for giving the information.

    By Bonus Betclic on Jun 2, 2009

  28. Thanks for the great info! I have a bunch of amazing images that I’m getting ready to upload!!!

    By Maldives Dive Travel on Jun 9, 2009

  29. nice article. very informative.

    By Web Design Mumbai on Jul 8, 2009

  30. I understand that you should optimize images, but do they help your SE rankings?

    By Blogbal on Jul 9, 2009

  31. Thanks, this is super helpful. Tagging images is normally an SEO technique that is often forgotten.

    Online Marketing Consultant

    By envirocycle composter on Jul 15, 2009

  32. Nice information for seo beginners. I will apply this trick in blog for images.Lets see will it work or not.

    By Rocky on Aug 5, 2009

  33. I was wondering how you get people to link back to your site/image as a reference under the Creative Commons license.

    Is there a way to mention or promote that others may use your image, but they need to link back?

    Thank you for any replies. I enjoy reading your blog and often find it in search results. Nice work!

    By Jeff Swanson on Sep 10, 2009

  34. @Jeff, the only way is to ask I guess. I’ve seen quite a few images on Flickr with descriptions asking to use the image and link to some page. I guess it is pretty effective.

    By Ann Smarty on Sep 11, 2009

  35. That is really good stuff provided.

    By Web development lucknow on Sep 16, 2009

  36. Hi Anne,

    At work, someone proposed that we make sure all our images are housed on the same domain.

    Currently, it’s like this:


    Our images are on a mount:

    For some reason, someone in the company thinks that we are hurting ourselves by hosting images on the mount.

    In my view, we only care about images as a way to get users to our site — for branding purposes and for potential conversion.

    We also care about them in terms of adding rich information about what the page is about.

    for that reason, I support the initiative to change the image names to something more meaningful than a catalog number.

    But it seems that moving the image mount to the domain, under the misaprehension that image URLs transfer link juice or something, is something of a waste of time.

    What do you think?

    Thank you for your time.

    By Kelley on Oct 1, 2009

  37. @Kelley, I really don’t thin you should change the names as you don’t need to rank in Google image search. Why waste time?

    By Ann Smarty on Oct 8, 2009

  38. Thanks for these image optimization tips :) I used some of them here:

    By Glowing Face Man on Nov 13, 2009

  39. Very good article. Some thing new for seo. Never hear before. Thanks for information.

    By Aditya Infotech on Nov 16, 2009

  40. nice good article. Some thing new for seo

    By seospell on Nov 16, 2009

  41. I will be following these tips, as in the past i was uploading png images. But i will use jpg only

    By Gaurav on Nov 19, 2009

  42. Nice information about image optimization for search engines & Social Media

    By Web Development on Nov 30, 2009

  43. Well written article about how to image optimization. Thanks for your valuable information

    By Website Designing India on Dec 1, 2009

  44. Nice article, thanks.

    I was looking to know if .PNG images hurt SEO in any way though. I get that it’s suggested to use JPG so I guess PNG images won’t help, but would they in any way negatively impact your seo? Which is better, 50 .PNG images on a page or none at all?

    By Antivirus Software on Jan 7, 2010

  45. I don’t think .png images will get you in any kind of a trouble…

    By Ann Smarty on Jan 8, 2010

  46. I run a freight website, quick question how long should the ALT text be on my photos is it good to have short, long or other on my ALT texts, Cheers

    By Chris on Feb 4, 2010

  47. Excellent I have just reviewed all my Alt tabs , many thanks Simon

    By Simon on Feb 5, 2010

  48. @Chris, I believe the shorter, the better. This way you give more focus on important keywords.

    By Ann Smarty on Feb 5, 2010

  49. Excellent article very interesting, thanks for the information.

    By on Mar 10, 2010

  50. I didn’t know about Google Images Labeling. Thank you for the great information!

    By Final Phase Fat Loss on Apr 14, 2010

  51. Just discovered your blog while landing on your guest blogger tool.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work!

    By seo blog on Apr 30, 2010

  52. Great info, thanks

    By Bamboo on May 10, 2010

  53. Thanks for the idea!

    By thaicla on May 12, 2010

  54. Thank you very much for such a great suggestion.

    By rajnikant on May 27, 2010

  55. Really nice article on many of the different ways to use, manipulate and display images.

    Lots of people know the importance of there use in post and on site, but you do show some of the finer tweaks.

    Nice job…

    By ESM on Jun 7, 2010

  56. Wow, actually I know how to optimize a site but here i got some new thing How To Optimize Images For Search Engines.

    By Data Recovery Services on Jun 9, 2010

  57. I was searching on the keyword Seo image optimization and your article on the Google first page..was really helpful and worth reading…

    By isol on Jun 18, 2010

  58. I will follow this techniques to my project. thanks dude.

    By Trading Tips on Jun 22, 2010

  59. very informative and concrete post Ann

    By free seo tools on Jul 8, 2010

  60. thank you so much, i want robots.txt file for images.

    By pondicherry on Jul 13, 2010

  61. very nice info thanks for sharing….

    By Michael on Sep 13, 2010

  62. Really good stuff, thank you!

    By Chimera web design on Sep 28, 2010

  63. one fifth of my traffic comes from images that are showing up prominently in google’s image search

    By best interest rates on savings on Oct 5, 2010

  64. It is also good to link an existing image on the webpage to another. Sometimes You can upload an avatar directly from another server. This can also help to make your images more visible

    By Søkemotoroptimalisering on Oct 31, 2010

  65. “Keywords in alt text, text around the image, image name, page title”

    “Around the image?” I don’t know what that means. Perhaps this could be a little more clearly written.

    By Tim at IMM on Nov 7, 2010

  66. Image optimization is a important part of SEO. It should be handled properly. Thanks for sharing nice information.

    By Monika on Nov 16, 2010

  67. It is also true that not too many people can be found who are not interested about the latest fashion products in the market today and they want the best yves saint laurent pumps products in the market.Christian Louboutin Short Boots

    By icyevone on Nov 19, 2010

  68. Nice job, I will try, thanks

    By Rosadtea on Nov 28, 2010

  69. Hi,
    Very nice information about Image Optimization.


    By Free SEO Company on Dec 7, 2010

  70. I want to do image optimization for my website. Got through your website but i could not find out the (Enabled image search option at Google webmaster tool.)as you have mentioned.

    By Suraj on Jan 5, 2011

  71. Thanks for this information about Image Optimization. I enjoy reading your blog 😉

    By Create a website on Jan 22, 2011

  72. Really good stuff, thank you!

    By Vaseea on Mar 7, 2011

  73. I was searching for image seo using keywords and this is a good article. Thanks for sharing good informaion.

    By Kavita on May 18, 2011

  74. I’m struggling figuring out how to enable image search in Google Webmaster? Was this a prior setting that had to be turned on and now is automatic?

    By Rock That on Aug 16, 2011

  75. Thank you for the great information. Is there anything to bulk optimize the images? I have too many to do one at a time.

    By Jenn Webb on Oct 23, 2011

  76. Display a small, highly compressed version of a picture on your page. Link that small picture to a larger high-quality image.

    By shankar banjara on Nov 12, 2011

  77. Perfect timing. I am about to go through all my early posts and needed to know if the images will do or not.
    Now i know that I must change them for 2 reasons.

    1. They are not very good – beginners mistakes
    2. SEO purposes

    This may take some time….

    Great post. Thank you.
    Andy Moore

    By Andy Moore on Feb 14, 2012

  78. I really appreciate the article. I have the SEO Quake for Firefox toolbar and it let me know how many images I had that didn’t have proper alt. descriptions.

    I am still struggling because when you copy the html code for a banner ad for example, usually the do not have the proper alt text included.

    For someone like me that has taught myself everything up until now it is really a challenge.

    Thanks again for your great information.


    By David on Mar 1, 2012

  79. Thanks a lot for this post. I never valued image naming in my site but now I will do it. Thanx

    By Dan on Mar 10, 2012

  80. I would be curious to hear your opinion about how optimizing the images via properties would positively or negatively or neutral effects on a local optimization effort. Thanks in advance.
    Make it a great day.

    By Thad Winston on Mar 14, 2012

  81. Thanks ann, i was searching for image optimization and got your article on top but you have not spoken about link building of Image URL, why? will it not help?

    By Shashank Gupta on Mar 22, 2012

  82. Reasonable image file size, i love that.. what’s the best image file size optimizer around? Can anyone suggest?

    By Nhick @ IT Rush on Mar 25, 2012

  83. Nice information! I never know that re-uploading image can also help! But it really make sense because it is like a fresh content that will index by a bot.

    By Christian Esperar on Apr 4, 2012

  84. Images and more recently infographics are becoming more important for building page ranking. The tips you mentioned certainly help in getting your site rank higher.

    By Jack Pain on Apr 28, 2012

  85. Thanks for the tips! There is definitely something to be said about optimizing your images to aid your overall SEO!

    Have a great day!

    By David on Apr 28, 2012

  86. I am sorry beginners. other than wp and stock photo, is there another way to make the description of the image through php script editing. this resource in order to minimize the server computer, thank you ..

    By barracuda on Apr 29, 2012

  87. Hi Ann,

    I totaly agree with you about “ALT” and “TITLE” attribut for a better ranking.
    But, I would like to know if renaming a pic “image.jpg” (and all pics of a website) like this “name-of-the-ste-image.jpg” could be useful for SEO and ranking ?
    Regards !

    By Daniel on May 4, 2012

  88. Hello Ann,
    Thanks for reminding me about the importance of adding “ALT” and “TITLE” attribute to my images for a better ranking for my blog.

    By Michael on May 14, 2012

  89. Thanks for a very informative post Ann… You’ve given me ideas on how to optimize the images on my site. I’m a newbie and I really need post like this. Thanks and Keep posting!

    By Jblake on May 15, 2012

  90. I appreciate this article is a little dated now, although most of the information is still very relevant. What I would add is that Google now allows you to create image XML Sitemaps ( which enables you to inform Google about specific image attributes and information. Similarly associations such as the IPTC are working on creating new standards to inform search engines of the embedded meta information in images.

    Also Daniel, In answer to your question yes it does help. It gives the image more meaning so search engines can better understand the nature of the image. It can therefore be better associated with search queries. See Google’s article (

    By Alex on May 18, 2012

  91. Until recently, I never realized the importance of images to Google or the other search engines. I have now put the keyword in for every image I use on a post or page.

    I wonder though can you over use the keywords on an image? In WP, for instance, there are 3 places you can put descriptions. Is it wise to put this in all 3 places, I wonder?

    Thanks for this.

    Andy Moore

    By andy moore on May 19, 2012

  92. Really good stuff Ann
    Thanks for this information about Image Optimization. I enjoy reading your blog 😉

    By Zarada on May 19, 2012

  93. Oh my god! These are exclusive tips for webmasters. Thank you very much for these ideas..

    By akhil on Jun 23, 2012

  94. The best thing about pasting an image in your website or blog is that it will attract the attention of the reader. The image can sometimes give a better understanding pertaining to the topic that you write. Plus if you are writing about a dry topic, you could spice up the blog by adding funny pictures.

    By Mark_Ben on Jun 27, 2012

  95. I do apply some of the tips you shared in optimizing images for SEs but most of the time i used .png in the images of my blog. Now that I know that .jpg is better than the image format i used to integrate in my blog, I will do it.

    By Blogging Tips on Jul 3, 2012

  96. I have put up alt attribute and text in picture, but why if check my web likes in woorank, alt attribute are empty or missing ?


    By sofyan on Jul 15, 2012

  97. Thanks for this wonderful information man. I was struggling to edit my images, cuz they was most without any ALT tags. I am using now SEOquake plugin for mozilla and its detects that everything is working fine now!


    By John Smith on Aug 5, 2012

  98. well written tips on image optimization. I don’t know properly what is alt attribute and text in picture. i now know in details

    By Ahsan on Aug 25, 2012

  99. Thanks for this article, now i know function of img ALT, to support my seo in my website…great thanks for you,,

    By Antoni Wijaya on Aug 28, 2012

  100. Great to see a list that talks about more than just images for SEO but rather to satisfy everyone who is looking at them.

    By Billie on Aug 31, 2012

  101. I find very useful to generate a huge list
    of natural anchor texts. It mixes everything pretty well.

    By Chris Webber on Sep 16, 2012

  102. I have implemented this same technique for SEO and it has helped me greatly. Thanks

    By Ben on Sep 24, 2012

  103. I was surprised to see that men are more likely to first look at faces. I came here looking for a good tool to identify missing alt tags – any suggestions?

    By Interior Design Ideas on Sep 28, 2012

  104. Hello Ann Smarty,

    Is a good ideea to begin a post with an image? WordPress SEO plugin don’t agree this thing and return the error “The keyword doesn’t appear in the first paragraph of the copy” because in the first paragraph Yoast see a image code not the article text. I supose that WP SEO want to make a useful suggestion… I’m wrong?

    Thank you

    By Liviu Fratila on Nov 8, 2012

  105. Perfect tips to optimise SEO.
    But i want to ask one thing. Pinterest or Google images?

    By Anchit Shethia on Dec 29, 2012

  106. @Anchit Both? :)

    By Ann Smarty on Dec 29, 2012

  107. Very good posting I really appreciate.The best thing about pasting an image in your website or blog is that it will attract the attention of the reader. The image can sometimes give a better understanding pertaining to the topic that you write.

    By Taswir Haider on Jan 30, 2013

  108. Very nice post. I appreciate the succinctness and
    clarity of detail. Thanks for the great info.

    By Laurie J. Greene on Apr 7, 2013

  109. Great reading. Thanks for writing a hug

    By Dario Martinez on Jul 17, 2013

  110. Great post. Wish I’d have read this about 2 months ago, as I struggled with advice, useless tools, and spent valuable time searching for the info you’ve so concisely provided in this highly informative article.

    By Kimberly D. on Jul 26, 2013

  111. thnkyou for the help.. i really appreciate your work.. and now i will keep in mind the information u provided keep post stuff like this…

    By harry on Aug 20, 2013

  112. Hey Ann
    Thanks for sharing these little nuggets!

    By David on Sep 4, 2013

  113. this is what i want to make my blog more seo friendly with search engine, thanks for sharing, keep sharing useful things

    By ahmadsite on Jan 27, 2014

  114. Thank you for the great information. Is there anything to bulk optimize the images? I have too many to do one at a time.

    By jery jhon on Jan 29, 2014

  115. Awesome Ann! Just what I needed to prepare the images for my site!

    By Chic Mamma on Feb 4, 2014

  116. Thanks for the tips! I’m probably not going to go back and change ALL my pictures, but all new pictures will be added with alt text.

    By Devin on Mar 13, 2014

  117. I use joomla, how do optimize images on page.

    By Thành Thái on Mar 19, 2014

  118. Our images are quite large, but we try to keep it high quality. Thanks for the tips.

    By Wine Dine Daily on Mar 26, 2014

  119. thanks for valuable tips, Ann!

    By Alvie on May 20, 2014

  120. You wrote everything in good way and I do agree with your post and Image optimization is huge part of SEO.

    By Deepak on Jun 20, 2014

  121. how do I know the alt text is missing???

    By Tonny marezco on Jul 24, 2014

  122. sorry my bad english.
    I’m confused how to change image alt.
    Because at the time of posting, all the pictures I’ve added alt image.
    But when in check with seo quacke, all image no alt image.
    Please help, thank you.

    Sany Trisandi

    By Jual Sosis Bakar Bandung on Oct 14, 2014

  123. Hi! First of all thank your for sharing

    I like very much the tips of the article about how to optimize the web images for improving our SEO

    Now I usually use the SEO Friendly Images WP Plugin to “alt” of my forgotten images

    Mª Jesús

    By Mª Jesús on Oct 20, 2014

  124. Just checked back to see the name of the optimization plugin :) We try to keep the images in good quality, but it does slow down the site.

    By Glamorous Bite on Dec 8, 2014

  125. Images are mandatory for a website, since they help in better user experience. Like the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Same goes with the images on a website. They make the content more interesting.

    By Raja Habib on Dec 24, 2014

  126. Pretty well known strategy, but yes it is advisable to remember some knowledge.

    I personally treat SEO just like an addition to internet business. PPC I guess is much more efficient if you consider factors lite time and results.

    All in all it is fine to work on your SEO by any means

    By Adrian on Mar 1, 2015

  127. Few more ideas from me:

    * try hotlinking the images, or even copying to another site (don’t change filename or edit it or md5sum will change)
    * place within same block level HTML elements as keywords
    * use the word “photo” in the alt text

    By LeSEO on Mar 16, 2015

  128. Thank you for this insightful post. I have been looking for ways to optimize my images. I hope these ideas are still relevant. I love your tips!

    By Jacquelyn Ward on May 5, 2015

  129. im confuse, i’ve using ALT tag for all images in my blog, but seoquake always said that there 25 images without alt tag. help me please :'(

    By Sandi Mulyadi on Jul 13, 2015

  130. Thanks for this useful information.

    By Tamas Boruah on Jul 16, 2015

  131. I’ve added alt to the pictures in my web
    But with seo quacke, no alt. Why?

    By khaihoanphong on Jul 30, 2015

  132. I did not know that a picture can be optimized for search engines.

    By Mario Mangone on Aug 4, 2015

  133. Your article helpful me a lot,Thank you so much

    By kowneaw on Aug 11, 2015

  134. Thank you for the great information. Is there anything to bulk optimize the images? I have too many to do one at a time.

    By Joey on Sep 15, 2015

  135. how do I know the title text is missing???

    By Tài Liệu on Sep 22, 2015

  136. Ill be sure to use some of these tips for my website.

    By Justin Covas on Oct 9, 2015

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