One of the areas often overlooked in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies are the images used in posts. The textual content of an article is combed over, written for the viewer, then touched up for the search engines for the post relevancy. But many people overlook the importance of giving relevant names to the images used in the posts, with the image ALT and TITLE attributes.

Optimize your image alt and title attributes for better SEO ranking.

Optimize images as well as content

Search engines read your content, your links, the titles, etc. but they cannot read your image. That’s why taking a little time to, not only change the filename of your image, but to add meta data relevant to your post, can help boost your page relevance. Here’s a few tips optimize your images for better SEO.

Change Photo Filenames

Before you ever upload an image to your WordPress media folder, optimize the image name by changing the file name. Don’t leave it at the name your camera gives the file. Your camera is not running your website! To do this, simply go to the folder where your intended image is located, click twice on the file name – that’s not double click, but a slower click-twice – or right-click the filename and select Rename. Where an image file once said DCS02159.jpg change that to sunrise.jpg or to be more descriptive, beautiful-sunrise.jpg.

Image Meta Data

Once you’ve uploaded your photo to WordPress, before inserting the image into your post, add the meta data, which would be a Title, Description and Alt. A Caption is optional, depending if you want a brief caption to display below the image. If your blog post is about Travel and your photo is of a sunrise at the beach, you should give the image a title with the name of the location where you traveled, like Beach at Palm Beach Shores Resort. Here you’ve used the keyword of your article probably, Palm Beach Shores Resort. For the Alt you can change it up a bit and write a longer description, Sunrise over beach travel image.

After you’ve inserted your image, change to the Text tab to see the code that is inserted when you place an image in your post. It will look something like this:
< img title="Beach at Palm Beach Shores Resort" alt="Sunrise over beach at Palm Beach" src="sunrise.jpg" >

What do these cryptic meta data terms mean?

  • ALT: This is short for alternative. This text is visible to the user if your image does not show for some reason. Maybe images are blocked by the browser or there is an error. ALT is also used by the disabled to know what image is.
  • TITLE: This is obviously the title of the image, that can be used as a short description. This Title shows when you hover over an image and when search engines index the image, this is the description use.

Why is ALT and TITLE Important?

I understand, you’re busy, you need to focus on the words in your article, right? Well the only way to add words to your image is by taking a moment when you upload it, to put some in. With proper meta data your image may show up on Google Images search results, which creates yet another way for visitors to find your site. Image meta data is particularly important if you have an online store!

The best practice is to write something short and to the point for the Title attribute and a description for the Alt attribute.
A more thorough keyword-rich approach of our previous example:
< img title="Beach at Palm Beach Shores" alt="A stunning sunrise at the beach on our summer vacation to the Palm Beach Shores Resort" src="" >

Images Relevant to Your Page

Let’s say you want to use the same image in a post that you used a year ago, but the new post topic is entirely different. Just find that image in your media library, change the Title, Alt, Caption, Description and insert it in the new post! It’s that easy.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve looked at sites and found their images use the default camera filename and some even have gone to the trouble of adding an alt or title but they’ve used “LOL” or “Me.”

If you’re the reading type, check Google’s guidelines for images.