8 simple ways to improve your image SEO [plus a bonus tip]

Image SEO tips and tricks

It’s REALLY tough to get your photos to rank well in Google searches.

Or is it?

As it turns out it is easier than you might think. Chances are no one has ever told you how easy it is though.

Today is your lucky day because I am going to break the process down for you and show you how easy it really is.

You already know WHY you want your image to be searchable so I will jump right into HOW to do it.

1: Make sure the image is relevant to the surrounding text.

Relevance is key to a lot of things involving SEO, but perhaps none more so than your IMAGE SEO. You see Google doesn’t “see” your image per se, so it figures out what it is based on what is being said about it and around it and how people respond to the image itself. The more relevant your image is to your content, the longer people stay and read the content. Google’s Rankbrain uses these AI types of metrics to decide if the image belongs with the content or not.

2: Make sure the image filename is relevant to your topic.

A lot of the time we pull our images from the camera with a filename that the camera gave the image. Or we grab them from Facebook and then again the filename has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of your page or the image. So, change the filename to something relevant. Use your keywords in the title would be another way to put it. My topic or keyword has something to do with image seo, so my filename is “image-seo.jpg”

3: Make sure your image filename isn’t too long.

Speaking of filenames. You might want to check to make sure your filename isn’t too huge. Check out this filename from an image I posted on Facebook: “20837007_1631442763593536_1012188646226264064_n”. Facebook doesn’t care if its images are searchable or not so they can get away with a filename like that. You and I, on the other hand, need to be more reasonable.

4: Make sure you are using your alt tag.

It is surprising how many times this simple tactic is overlooked; especially by web designers and developers. When you post an image with your blog take the extra time to fill in the alt tag and make sure you are stating something relevant to your topic.

5: Use a description when possible.

When you use an image in a post with WordPress you will see a field for description. WordPress makes it easy to add the description. Otherwise, you have to have a discussion with your developer about adding the description to your images.

6: Use a caption when possible.

Captions work well when using images in posts. It is advisable using them whenever possible.

7: Make sure your image loads quickly.

This is one of the first things a page audit will tell you; your images are loading too slowly. Optimize them. Sometimes people will upload large images to their WordPress site thinking that since WordPress makes thumbnails it must optimize the images. But this is not entirely true. When an image is used full size it will load the largest version and then use CSS to maximize its size. Even though it looks smaller it is still loading the larger image.

8: Make sure your image isn’t too large or too small.

This goes to optimizing your images. Unless you are uploading an image for a desktop download or something, try to upload smaller images. Even your full-sized images should be the width of your site and that is it. Typically this is 1200 or under.

Bonus tip.

This is a tip to help with your local SEO. If you want to have your images found in Spokane for the Spokane area, geo tag them. If you have a GMB (Google My Business) account you should be GEO tagging the photos you use there.

It might sound complicated and difficult, but it really isn’t. Just go to

  1. Drag the image you want to geo tag to the site.
  2. Select the location either by typing in the address or dragging the pointer on the map.
  3. Name your file.
  4. Describe your file if you wish.
  5. Click to write your EXIF tags.
  6. Download your image.

Now the featured image for this post has been GEO tagged.

Pro tip:

Finding images that you can use online for free that are any good used to be really hard. Now all you need to do is go to and search for images there.