How to Optimize Your Images on WordPress

by Eileen Lonergan November 12th, 2013 

I really enjoyed the recent post by Amy Balliett 3 Tips to Plan Your SEO Campaign for The Visual Web, which made me think that maybe you would like to know how to optimize your images within WordPress.

SEO on Images in WordPressTo begin, save your image with a name, not a ridiculous string of numbers. Best Practice shared by: Kenneth Neilson The best thing you can do is allways use lowercases and to use dashes (NOT underscores) between the words. The best name for your picture is: sushi-platter-turks-seafood.jpg

Then within WordPress, complete all of your search engine fields:

  • Title – Tell what the photo is about and if applicable add a geographic location.
  • Alt Text – This is very important, Google sees this + the visually impaired will get this text read to them.
  • Caption – I actually don't like captions, but Dave Ellison shared this in the comments and I think it is super valuable "people tend to view images first and their behavior makes their line of sight drop to the bottom of the image. I've found that people will scan photos and read captions before they will read content. So for some folks, they may get a better idea of what is contained in your content more quickly with captions.

    I have also read in several articles that images get indexed in 'Google images' more readily with captions. Not sure that's true or how it might affect SEO but it's interesting."

  • Description – Complete this for your own organization, it won't help your seo.

Other Image SEO Tips:

  • Make sure the on page content relates to the image.
  • Mix up your image keywords – you don't want to continuously use the same words.

With Google alone getting billions of searches each month it is important to pull out all the stops to get ranked for your target keywords. You may have trouble competing in the regular organic listings, but you could potentially rank well in image searches if you take an extra moment to optimize your photos.

Eileen Lonergan

Eileen Lonergan is a WordPress website designer, a ghost blogger, and manages social media for a variety of clients.

eileenlonergan.com

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20 Responses to “How to Optimize Your Images on WordPress”

  1. Hi Eileen. SushiPlatterTurksSeafood.jpg is not the best name for your picture. The best thing you can do is allways use lowercases and to use dashes (NOT underscores) between the words. The best name for your picture is: sushi-platter-turks-seafood.jpg. This is also the way Google

  2. [...] How to Optimize Your Images on WordPress | SEO Tips for Images, Search Engine People [...]

  3. Kyle Cullen says:

    This is great. It's good to know that captions aren't useful. I don't like the way they look on my site.

    Are you likely to get penalised if your pictures names are your keyword followed by a number? I sometimes name my pictures 'DrumLesson1' 'DrumLesson2' and so on. Hopefully this doesn't look like keyword stuffing of the pictures.

    • Kyle, take a look at Dave Ellison's comment, "… people tend to view images first and their behavior makes their line of sight drop to the bottom of the image. I've found that people will scan photos and read captions before they will read content. So for some folks, they may get a better idea of what is contained in your content more quickly with captions.

      I have also read in several articles that images get indexed in 'Google images' more readily with captions. Not sure that's true or how it might affect SEO but it's interesting."

      So maybe my next post should be how to make captions look better, because it seems like they are a good idea!

  4. Dipo Dwijaya says:

    Is it 'spyders' or 'spiders'? I think caption and description will bring good user experience.

  5. [...] How to Optimize Your Images on WordPress | SEO Tips for Images, Search Engine People [...]

  6. This is very informative article, though I only edit the alt text for the images in my images in my blog. I'll start including the caption and description from now on. Thanks!

  7. Mark Ford says:

    Hi Eileen

    Optimising images can be a very effective SEO technique but it's also one of those you don't always see used.

    Highlighting it in this way should make website owners see how easy it is and how little time it takes to make a potentially massive difference.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    I really don't like captions on images either. However, people tend to view images first and their behavior makes their line of sight drop to the bottom of the image. I've found that people will scan photos and read captions before they will read content. So for some folks, they may get a better idea of what is contained in your content more quickly with captions.

    I have also read in several articles that images get indexed in 'Google images' more readily with captions. Not sure that's true or how it might affect SEO but it's interesting.

    Nice article by the way.

  9. Dreamdezigns says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge.This image optimization seems to be simple but many forgets about it. Thanks for Eileen for reminding it.In addition to the point you have listed above include the following. Optimize the image name while creating it.

  10. annie b says:

    thanks for your post! this sure is helpful, especially for such a newbie at wordpress like me!

  11. Philbeaux says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    I'm switching a current site over to WordPress and The whole image thing has become very evident to me.
    But there's a couple of things that I'm still worried about.
    The first is title tags. Now I'm not an SEO expert, but everything I've read about SEO says that a title tag is preferable. WordPress apparently omits the title tag from images. Can something be done about this?
    And some things I've come across state that images can actually hurt your SEO efforts, well, actually the attachment pages you refer to in your article. The thought is that these attachment pages are being indexed by Google and are classified as "low content/low value" because there are only a page with a picture.
    What are your thoughts on this?

    • Hi Phil. I actually am learning a lot from the comments on the thread, so I would also ask others to chime in with whatever they know.

      First, I am not sure how Google & WordPress process title tags. I do know that I optimize all photos that I post for clients with Meta Titles and Alt Tags, and often those images show in Google search results, sometimes even ranking higher than the actual pages.

      Second, the part of the uploading process that says where should the image link to (the url) I always click NONE unless I am really taking the visitor to a new page or a new site. To have a visitor click the image and then land on an attachment page is pretty much low value, so that makes sense. If you are new to WordPress and don't see that link url button please shoot me an email or respond here and I will provide more direction.

      I hope you like WordPress!

  12. Hey Eileen,

    I just wanted to let you know that we loved the article and we included it in our Monthly Resource Roundup

    http://blog.nexcess.net/2013/12/05/monthly-round-up-novembers-best-expressionengine-wordpress-magento-content/

    Cheers!