Image SEO

February 9, 2009 // Search Engines, seo

How to optimize images for SEO

Quite basic tips I know but to get maximum results for image search it does require a strict process which must be maintained to achieve best results.

Image location

  • Don’t save your images in an external location (like an image hosting company)
  • Don’t save your images in your root directory (i.e.
  • If you have a small to medium sized website I would recommend keeping you images in a separate folder named “images” i.e.
  • If you run or maintain a large website or an e-commerce website then managing images should be more categorised, for example:

Image naming

  • Quite obvious but make the image either gif, Jpeg or Png  format
  • Use targeted keywords that give accurate representations of what’s in the image
  • Using your targeted keywords as image descriptions may up your on page keyword density but this does not portray an accurate representation of what your image is.
  • Common image naming structure:

  • Bad image naming structures:

Image placement

I have created a mock to show how I would choose my image placements for a page trying to optimise for Bill Gates + Microsoft. Based on experience image optimisation only really helps when you make the images as relevant as possible to the content you are writing about.

Image Tag

An example of a good image tag (Alt tag) would be:

  • <img src=”images/bill-gates.jpg” width=”100” height=”100” alt=”Bill Gates”>

An example of a bad image tag would be:

  • <img src=”images/photo1.jpg” alt=”Microsoft’s Bill Gates Microsoft”>

Like I said this is quite basic stuff but think it’s important to be reminded of it at times as I for one have been lazy at times and have not always followed this out.

Matt Ridout

About the author

My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.


  1. Hi Matt

    Great post. Image optimization is often ignored by most developers but as you have indicated, it is nevertheless relevant. In SEO, many of us ignore the finer points of on-page optimization in order to quickly upload content and focus on off-page optimization.

    Google Images can bring a sizeable stream of traffic with properly optimized images. Fortunately Google has also added facilies like its Google Image Labeler ‘game’ to assist with relevance of image searches. Ideal activity for recovering Solitaire addicts.

    A few other image optimization techniques that I find useful is creating links to images with relevant keywords in the anchor text. Yes, you can undertake somewhat of a ‘link building campaign’ for your image if you feel that your text content is facing too much of competition.

    Relevant content before and after the image is essential. Also consider the use of long tail keywords in the image name and surrounding content. It may bring smaller traffic but it usually brings the quality traffic for conversions.

    Lastly, monitor your robots.txt file. As users would have noticed recently, Google’s Webmaster tools is giving endless problems for sites without a robots.txt file. Ensure that settings allow access to all folders or your image folder may be given the miss.

    Once again, great post and great blog.

  2. Pingback: Image File Names - WebProWorld

  3. What most people forget is that by doing the right thing for your users (i.e.: what you’ve listed above) also helps with SEO. The danger of course is focussing too much on SEO and ending up providing a very poor user experience. The result is lots of traffic, but no value or business off the back of it.

    Good article.

  4. Just found your great post, and SEOing images is crucial, I work on a site which gets roughly 2000 unique views a day and around 100+ views are generated through google images.

  5. Is there any penalization if the same image appears in two different websites/pages?

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