Checklist for Optimizing Images for SEO

Search engines don’t just index words. Images are an important element in SEO. Used correctly, images also help readers better understand your content. Add images whenever possible to draw attention to your content and illustrate its meaning.

Image SEO Checklist

Keep these things in mind when incorporating  images in your online content. Optimize for the same keyword as the associated content.

  • Use a relevant image that matches your text
  • Use a relevant file name for your image
  • Match image dimensions to the largest image size displayed
  • Add a caption, if appropriate
  • Populate the image alt text

Picking the Right Image

Original images are always the best choice. Stock photos can work if you find one that is relevant. The image should reflect the topic of the post or have illustrative purposes within the article.

Rename the Image

Image SEO starts with the file name. Use relevant keywords in the image file name. Make sure the main subject of the photo is at the beginning of the file name.

Optimize the File Size

Search engines also care about speed, so making sure your images are streamlined for fast load times is important.

Basic guidelines:

  • Use JPG format for larger photos to get good color and clarity with a relatively small file size
  • Use PNG to preserve background transparency in your image
  • Use WebP for high-quality results with smaller file sizes
  • Use SVG for logos and icons

Resize the image for the largest size it will be displayed. Many sites will use the same image in different sizes, so keep the largest requirement in mind when sizing images.

Add a Caption

The image caption is the text that accompanies the image on the page. Studies show that people are likely to read captions online. They are short and reinforced by the visual. Add captions where it would make sense to the visitor for one to be there.

Provide Alt Text

Be sure to populate the alt text field for every image you use. Describe what’s in the image so both search engines and people can make sense of it. Be sure to use relevant keywords.

Look Your Best on Google

The Google top ten results has been invaded by rich results. These organic (non-paid) results are an effort to provide more interesting ways to get information to users. There are many types of rich results and more are expected to be added. Here’s a look at how you can capitalize on these opportunities in your marketing.

Current rich results include:

  • Star ratings
  • FAQs
  • Business listings

Rich Results and How to Get Them

Rich results stand out and tend to get clicks. Also, getting your content shown as a rich result is something like a stamp of approval by Google. In a sea of content, your content was selected for a rich result.

Earning a rich result has a lot of factors. It isn’t something you can buy into, so it is something that your online presence has to earn.

Start by knowing the rich results that are available for your important keywords. Find out who has them now. See what content they offer and determine if you have something better to offer.

Keep in mind:

  • Content has to be well-written and of high quality
  • Content needs to be optimized for the target keyword

Update your website content to showcase your better content. Hopefully, the next time the content is crawled by Google, your information will rise to the top.

Rich results are also easier to achieve if you keep your website well optimized for SEO. Even the best content can get missed if your site is not structured in a way that web crawlers can navigate and process.

There are coding conventions and other structural aspects to website that make them accessible to search engines. A SEO plugin or tool and Google Search Console can help you assess any problem areas and offer tips for improvement.


How Small Businesses Compete with the Big Guys in Search

The local search landscape has changed a lot. You no longer need to have the biggest ad budget to get to the top of search results. In fact, these days, many tools exist to let local, small businesses out-compete big businesses.

Google Knows Where Searchers Are

Google has always tried to provide searchers with the ‘best’ result for a given query.  Part of that answer is that, in most cases, people are looking for results that are close to where they are. This can give local businesses an edge.

With a search like “coffee shop”, Google can have pretty high confidence that searchers are looking for a local place. Businesses with a nearby address will rise to the top of the results.

Service providers have to work a little harder. If you offer services to help get more Instagram followers, for example, you’ll compete with providers who are everywhere unless, you make your local service area clear.

Place-Based Results

New features that Google has added to search results can also play in favor of small businesses.

Google generally shows more place-based results for local queries and fewer webpage results. Even the webpage results that show up beneath place results on local intent searches favor local business websites.

How to Rank Well Locally

How do you make sure your business ranks well for local searches? While no one knows exactly how the algorithms work, there are known factors that help Google to rank you properly.

Google My Business

Google My Business is an online tool where you can tell Google about your business – the kind of business you are, where you’re located, the hours you’re open and more.

On-Page SEO

It’s important to structure your website in a way that reinforces what you’ve told Google in your My Business listing. Use the same words, hours, name, address and phone, and repeat the service area on your website.


Link to relevant businesses and information, especially local resources. This affirms the community that you are part of.


Citations refer to online mentions of your business that may or may not include a link. Ask relevant websites to mention and link to you.


Customer reviews are one of the easiest and most sustainable practices you can implement to improve your SEO. Include reviews on your website and ask people to leave reviews at Google as well.

Social Signals

Be active on social media with the same information and details you share on Google My Business and your website. The more Google “sees” you online, the stronger the signal it gets about what you do and who you serve.