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No matter what platform you chose to blog on, there’s one aspect of SEO that typically gets overlooked – image optimization. When you’re blogging, image optimization can go a long way. In addition to affecting your page speed and improving the readability and accessibility of your blog post, image optimization can improve your SEO through the use of SEO image titles and alt. image descriptions. While you should optimize the images across your website, we’re going to focus on how you can optimize blog images for SEO.
Images are used in blog posts to make your content more attractive and engaging to readers and improve your SEO. They’re great for building more trust around your topic and connecting on a more personal level with your audience. Images don’t simply include photos, it also includes regular graphics and infographics that you can use to “sum up” useful information in a visually engaging way.
Image optimization is when you optimize your images for your platform. For best SEO and website performance, this typically involves ensuring your images are high-quality and are in the ideal format, size, and resolution for your content. Additionally, it means optimizing your image metadata – the image title and alt. image description – so that search engine crawlers can understand what your image is about and place them in search.
If you’re wondering if image optimization is actually “that important” to your SEO, just remember that 62.6% of all searches on Google Web Search are from Google images. Not only does optimizing your blog images for SEO improve your overall blog SEO performance, but Google can actually rank your images in their image search!
But, what aspects do you have to “optimize” for your blog images to be SEO-friendly? Let’s break it down:
Image size and image resolution represent the physical size and resolution of your image measured in pixels. Your image size will vary depending on where your image is sourced from – like using a stock photo site, photos from your iPhone, or brand photos from your photographer. A higher image size typically means a larger picture, bigger file size, and slower loading speed.
WordPress recommends using a 1200px by 630px image, a 3:2 image aspect ratio, for the best performance in your blog post.
When your image is not the optimal size for your blog post, you can use an image compression tool to optimize your image size. Image compression is a process that takes your graphic or image, minimizes its size in bytes, but keeps the image quality at an acceptable threshold.
ShortPixel is my go-to image compression tool for blogs. If you’re blogging through WordPress, you can add the plug-in to your backend and your images will automatically compress to the optimal size. If you are not blogging through WordPress, you can upload your images into their online tool and re-download the optimized image file.
DIY’ing your images is not a bad idea – if you know how to take high-quality images with good lighting. When blogging, your images should be high-quality. Essentially, this means that your images should be clear, bright, and on-topic. If you’re unable to take high-quality images on your own, there are plenty of sources to pull from.
As a business owner, I highly recommend investing in a brand photoshoot to use for imagery. When that’s not feasible, source from a stock photo site. You can pull from Unsplash for free, Canva is a great choice if you’re already subscribed to their service, and Pixistock is a favorite (and where I source my blog images) for female entrepreneurs, bloggers, and creatives.
When adding images to your blog posts you need to ensure that what the image contains is actually relevant to your blog copy and content. When your image portrays something that is not aligned with your blog content, Google won’t be able to accurately place your image and even your article for the correct search queries.
Like with most aspects of SEO, when something doesn’t add up – particularly with newer websites – it sets off a red flag for search engines. You’re still building trust with them and little things like that can negate your hard work.
Image metadata is the title and alt. description you have for your image. To write/optimize your image metadata for your blog posts, you need to make sure that your SEO image title is relevant to the contents of your blog and image. In some cases, you may even be able to utilize your targeted keyword. For your alt. image description, you’ll need to describe the photo and its purpose in your content. You may also use your keyword – but, it must feel natural and not forced.
Your image metadata is one of the aspects that makes your images accessible to readers. It also allows search engine bots to clarify what your image contains and sort it according to search queries. Just remember not to “stuff” keywords in your metadata. Google specifically sees that as a scam or spam website.
What if you’ve been blogging for a while and you weren’t really paying attention to your image optimization? How do you know if – or when – your blog images are actually optimized for readers and for SEO? It’s the use of SEO tools!
Sadly, most advanced SEO tools that would provide in-depth details about your website’s SEO optimization can cost an arm and a leg (we’re talking $100 to $500 per month), and while they tell you “it’s wrong” they don’t necessarily tell you how to make it “right.”
My personal favorite is Moz, an SEO tool that’s been around for a while and even created a useful measurement that helps you understand your website’s ability to rank – it’s called domain authority, but that’s a topic for another day. With Moz, you can run a complete site audit that will tell you the errors and critical errors on your website (for the most part). This does include missing alt. image descriptions and slow loading pages that are typically caused by unoptimized images.
After you have a general idea of where to start, pick your keyword and chose your images as you’re writing your blog and optimize as you go. Once you’ve published your blog post, you can check your page’s loading speed and even run your page through an SEO tool to check performance.
One of the reasons I stick with my stock photo subscription is because I have images on-hand that I can quickly pull from and upload into my blog posts that I don’t have to worry about resizing or checking to make sure they’re “on-topic” as there is an entire section dedicated to what I do.
If you want to take the easiest route and focus on the other aspects of your business, an SEO audit is one of the BEST ways to know if your website and blog images are optimized. If you’re curious about SEO and wondering if outsourcing is the right decision for you, book a free coffee chat with The Comma Mama Co. today.
FREE Checklist to Improve Your Blog's SEO
Check out these seven simple tips to improve your blog post's SEO and increase your brand's visibility and keyword rankings