How to Optimize Images for SEO: Step-by-Step Checklist

(Last Updated On: September 6, 2021)

If you have an online store or a blog, you may want to start optimizing images for SEO. Photos are an excellent way to communicate your brand message and draw in an audience.

Optimizing your images for SEO will not only give you higher search engine rankings and more traffic, but you may also gain traffic from social media channels. Here is everything you need to know about tailoring your images for search engine optimization.

Why Image optimization is important for website

Images are the life of your website. Using images in your content makes it look interactive and beautiful. They don’t just give context but can also greatly help improve lead conversions.

Overall, it helps in improving page load speed, boosts websites’ SEO ranking, and improves user experience.

However, images take up a lot of space on a web page and can break the deal for you by lowering page load speed or just not loading at all.

So, what do you do?

How to Optimize Images for SEO Checklist;

Follow this checklist when uploading images on your website:

1. Image Source:

When using images for your website/product/blog, make sure they are original – your own images. Picking up photos off the internet takes away the element of uniqueness from your content. If you are picking up images from a source, chances are 20 other people are picking that same picture up.

Image source


If you do not have your own images and absolutely have to use stock photos, try picking them up from free sources like, Pixabay, Pikwizard, Flickr Creative Commons etc.

2. File Name:

When uploading a picture on your website, save the image with descriptive keywords.

For example, if your image is about a man playing with a dog, you might want to save the image as dog-man-playing.jpg instead of DSC1456.jpg or any other random letters/numbers.

By doing this, you are making your image relevant to not only what the image shows but also what your content is about. Search engines recognize the relevance and give you priority over others.

3. Adjust File Size:

Now that your image has been uploaded, its dimensions need to be adjusted. The larger the image, the more time your page will take to load.

So how do you reduce the image size without compromising on the quality? There is a various tool on the internet that can help you optimize your images, for e.g: Jpegmini, Pixlr or PicMonkey.

If you want to show large images on your web page, allow the image to open in full-width in a new window. Remember to keep your images to 70 kb.

Note: Jpeg format works best for e-commerce websites. Use Gifs sparingly. PNG format is a suitable alternative to both jpg and gif.

4. Alt Text & Title Text:

Alt text tags are the alternative text which appears on hovering over an image. This is useful when a browser can’t render/load an image. Make sure you use focus keywords and keep them relevant to your content.

Describe your image/product/service in the alt tags but be careful about going overboard. Don’t keyword stuff your alt tags. Keep it to five keywords or a set of numbers. You can also use a mix of both if you must describe a model ID of a product.

When adding variant images for the same product (say a product in several colors), remember to use different alt tags.

Adding a title tag is optional but if you are adding one, keep it short and relevant.

5. Images on XML Sitemap:

How do you get Google to notice your images? By using an Image on XML Sitemap via the Webmasters tool. A sitemap is like a visual map of your website, where each image is a location or country.

You will need to create your own map that way. You can add a list of images on the tool and enter in specific tags for your images while adding the sitemap.

Google has a handy guide on using XML sitemaps.

Here are a few tools that can help you generate sitemaps:

Testing Images:

Now that you’re done with all the groundwork, how do you know it’s working? Test your website page load speed on Pingdom or Google PageSpeed Insights. The site will not just tell you your page load speed but will also give you pointers on what you need to fix if fixes are necessary.

Other sites like also help you evaluate your sitemap.

What’s the best page speed load time? A recent report said:

sites that load in 5 seconds vs 19 seconds observed: 25% higher ad viewability (and) 70% longer average sessions (and) 35% lower bounce rates’

You can also experiment with varied sizes of images, work with vectors/raster images, and resize thumbnails intelligently to improve page load speed.

Instamojo free online stores are made with SEO in mind. Everything from your store URL to images is optimized for search engines so that your customers can find you easily on the web.

Check out this video on how to add products to your online store. Also, get some bonus tips on writing SEO-friendly product descriptions.

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