Wordpress image SEO: Optimising images to drive better SEO performance

  • Home
  • Blog

It's not exactly news when we tell you the importance of keywords and descriptive content when it comes to optimising pages for better SEO, but have you given any thought to your images and graphics?

Images that are irrelevant, hard to find or are too bulky and therefore take too long to load are often overlooked in the average site owners optimisation efforts but it's actually just as important to optimise as keywords and content.

The concept of image SEO is aimed to make media content understandable by both human visitors and web crawlers alike. This process involves adding contextual information to your site graphics so people and bots can equally understand them.

Here are a few reasons and concepts to consider when trying to optimise you media for SEO.

1- Optimise image sizes and formats

Depending on the level of and purpose of the graphics on your site you have a few options that you can choose from to best suit your needs. For example, you may want to choose a JPEG format if your site relies and many assets that will be loaded in a single view, speeding up load times, this format however tends to be the lowest quality of the bunch due to a higher amount of compression. PNG's are a good idea if your site relies on the quality of the media, for example, PNG's would be an ideal choice if you were building a photography portfolio. For something a little more futuristic, you can turn to WebP, the modern web format designed specifically to serve media on the web. This offers a wide range of compression and resolution options that can be suited to the specific application.

For the majority of websites, compression really is a no-brainer, you can often dramatically reduce the size, and therefore load times of images without a massively noticeable dip in quality. Definitely one worth looking into. Wordpress makes this very easy by offering a number of plugins that will allow you to do this with ease such as Imagesmush, a personal Iconika favourite.

2- Alt text

Alternative text is a short description of an images content, the purpose of this is to accurately describe an image for users who may have an impairment which would leave them unable to view the assets as intended as well as for search engine crawlers to gain context of what your trying to display to users. It is considered good practice to keep these brief but descriptive, sounds like a contradiction i know, but it is possible! Add a few keywords in there you want your content to rank for for good measure.

3- Image filenames

It may seem insignificant but crawlers actually take the name of the file into consideration alongside alt text so its worth giving the asset a sensible title. Keep them short, include a keyword or two if possible and include hyphens to separate words instead of spaces or underscores.

4- Use captions

Using captions on an image is a great way to insert legitimate keywords into post content. You can use the figure element to mark up an image, which gives you the control to customise and display the caption relative to the image however you like.

5- Surrounding text relevance

Adding random graphics to your page content is not considered a good user experience so it is a good idea to make sure that images are used sparingly to provide important context to the bulk of the page content. Strategic image placement can also aid the page flow and make it easier for your readers to consume.

Wrapping up

A nice easy one for this week, if you have a bigger site it can be a challenge to add captions and alt text to all your images, but it's worth doing. Image sizing and compression is something that plugins can do for you automatically / in bulk so a nice easy way to massively boost your page load times and therefore SEO!

As ever, if you want to chat to us about image SEO or general site performance, feel free to reach out over at our contact page.

Bye for now :)