Optimizing images is critical in more ways than one…
when you want to appear in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) organically.
Organically means naturally without paid advertising via Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
I get asked this question on a regular basis and it’s probably one of many WordPress features that are either ignored or thought of as “not important”, “I’ll do it later” or just didn’t know what to do it or even what it was for. “Out of sight out of mind” thinking perhaps?
Trust me, I know I thought that too…until I reached 1000 images in my media library and was searching for them visually, then thought “Geesshh, there must be an easier way”. That was in 2003 and when I was new to WordPress, so I learned a few things since then, but the problem was there were very few people around to teach you about WordPress because it was just launched with 1.0, back then.
When optimizing images
you have to make sure that your images are resized and compressed to reduce the size properly. If you upload an image that’s a 2MB 4000 x 4000 px image it will slow down the page speed so you must resize the image to 12 to 1400 pxs. wide and compress it as close as you can within 150 kb or lower.
After resizing the images I optimize them further with an online service where I can upload multiple images at a time and then download them as a zip file, it’s fast and much quicker than having to do them individually. You can an optimize image online with image compressor Optimizilla or Tinypng
Once you have done that you’re ready to upload them as you need them or as many as your server will allow, but then we come to the part that many of you ask about.
How do I optimize my images?
Image optimization techniques
Your image content areas Alt, Title, Caption, Description should all be filled out, without repeating the content to every area. Repeating content on your site is not good for SEO anywhere on your website unless it’s in reference to another page/post.
Alternative text (Alt tags)
“Alt Tags” as it is commonly called describes the image in a few words, This is how the image is found in the searches so if you write a blog post about “Search Engine Optimization” then an image that represents SEO should be used in the article, then you can add “Image Optimization” in the alt tag area,
You can repeat it in the title and caption but the description should describe the image purpose too the article such as “Optimizing Images is an important part of SEO”. Note that I have the two keywords “Optimizing Images” in the title of this post, in the alternative text (alt tags), and in the image description.
The image title is just as important to SEO because it’s needed to score well for “Accessibility”. Adding a “title attribute” to the image makes the image readable for the hearing and visually impaired via the use of screen readers.
Note that when you hover the image a tooltip box pops up that shows a few words of what the image is about. In this case above it says “Website Leads For Contractors” which is an article about the use of keyword phrases and SEO. The linking of these two posts is relative because they’re both about SEO.
How to Add the Title Attribute
The title attribute can be added easily because WordPress has made it easy to do but if you don’t know where it is then it can be hard to find.
After adding your image to your post/page into the editor you will be able to add it from there. When you click on the image a menu pops up and there you will see the “edit pencil” click on that and it will take you to another window in the media library.
Scroll down to the “Advance” field and open it, there you will see a field that says “Image Title Attribute” Add the image title to what best fits the situation.
Now for some reason, this is the only way that I have found to access this setting and it could be that by default WordPress adds this to the image already, but sometimes it’s not always the case. One instance could be that if you’re using a page builder like Elementor you will have that option there.
The image caption technically is not a page ranking factor for SEO, however, the user experience (UX) is. By adding the image caption you are giving the viewer important information such as photo credits, copyright information, and even a location. Sometimes I will use the alt tag information here if it fits the situation. Keep it short with a few words. preferably keywords pertaining to the image because if you use the same image elsewhere then it will relate to where ever else you have used it on the website.
If you want to have two of the same images with different information then you will need to upload a second image. Technically the image information should be for that image that can be used globally throughout the website but in some cases, it is necessary just don’t abuse it by using several of the same images for different keyword phrases and keyword stuffing.
The image description should describe the image in detail, now that doesn’t mean that you need to use a couple of hundred words it just needs to be something informative. I think of an image description similar to a meta description which should not be more than 160 characters but for an image, you can exceed that just don’t start stuffing keywords or anything like that.
Don’t Ignore Your Images!
The thing is so many people ignore images for a website not realizing that when it’s properly optimized it puts another link out there in the search results (SERPs). Usually, 3 images are optimal for a blog post, and using one of them as your “featured image” which is another meta box that’s ignored that’s on the right column near the bottom.
Chances are of that image popping up on page one in the SERPs image row is pretty good if you have relative content for that image, and as a bonus when you are searching for a particular image in your media library it will make it much quicker to find it if you have used “Optimizing Images” as your search phrase.
If you need more help or have questions, I would be glad to help…