One of the best ways to optimize your WordPress website is through image SEO and alt text best practices. Including images within your writing will engage readers and make the information more memorable. Instead of sifting through a sea of words, readers will have a visual aid to help them understand what you’re trying to say. Additionally, alt text makes images accessible to those with visual impairments, as their page readers will be able to tell them what the image is portraying. Alt text also allows search engine crawlers or bots that index content from all over the Internet to understand your content. This is very important for your website because it determines how it will rank in SERPs.
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What Is Image SEO?
The goal of image SEO is just as it sounds: to optimize images for search engines. This can be done by using the right file size, compressing the image, utilizing a CDN, and following alt text best practices. Image SEO will allow your website to stand out to search engine crawlers, which assign websites a value based on how relevant their content is to a search query. A recent report on the success of online content stated that web pages that contained visuals received 94 percent more views. Including images on your webpage gives it a higher ranking on SERPs, thus optimizing it for search engines.
Image SEO not only makes your website stand out to crawlers but also engage readers for longer, which will benefit your website’s retention statistics. When search engines see that users stayed on your website long enough to read the content and, presumably, get the answer to their question, their algorithm will recognize this as a successful click-through. The higher CTR and retention rate your website has, the higher it will rank on SERPs.
Think of image SEO as part of the strategy to make your website a one-stop shop to fulfill all your customer’s search needs. Your written content will answer their questions and your images will provide them with examples and visual aids to help them remember the content. Once you have established a reputation of being a reliable source of information, customers will repeatedly come to your website, which in turn will improve its SERP ranking and increase domain authority.
How Can I Optimize Images in WordPress?
Optimizing images in your WordPress website will not only improve its SERP ranking, but it will also decrease loading times and enhance your users’ experience. The goal of image optimization, and image SEO in general, is to make your website stand out amongst a very large volume of searches. There are four key methods for image SEO within your website that will yield the best results.
Use the Right Image Size
Be sure that the size of your images is ideal based on their purpose in order to improve image SEO. Different image types have different preferred pixel dimensions that will make them the most optimized for search engines. For example, logos should be 242 x 107 pixels, while background images should be 1920 x 1080 pixels. WordPress has a resizing feature built in, with four default image size options that can be changed based on your needs. This will help even those with limited graphics editing experience to easily optimize their images.
Compress the Image
Compressing images is another primary method of image SEO. This process reduces the image’s file size, allowing it to load faster when the webpage is opened. The two images below compare the performance metrics of an uncompressed image versus a compressed one. You can see how the compressed image cut load time from 1.55 seconds (s) to 476 milliseconds (ms) and page size from 14.7 megabits (MB) to 2.9 MB.
There are many editing programs, such as Photoshop, and online tools, such as TinyPNG, that allow you to easily compress your image. However, if you’re not comfortable with this process or find it tedious, you can also use a plugin to compress images within WordPress. A plugin will automatically compress your image and use the smaller-sized file on your website. Be cautious when using them though, as plugins can increase memory usage and don’t always optimize for mobile users. An alternative option is to use a CDN, which is explained next.
Use a CDN
A content delivery network (CDN) is used to optimize, convert, and deliver images worldwide. They use edge servers from around the world to process information faster. The edge server that is closest to your website visitor’s IP address will process and deliver the image, resulting in a much faster download time. This is important for image SEO because faster download times show search engine crawlers that your website is optimized. CDNs also allow images to be correctly resized for mobile users, which further improves your website’s optimization score.
Improve File Names and Alt Text
The file name will determine how easily search engine crawlers can interpret an image. It is important to name the file before downloading it into WordPress for this reason. Be sure to use relevant keywords that describe the image, as this will make your image more likely to come up on the image results page. It is also important to use the best practices for alt text because this is another source of communication with search engine crawlers. Additionally, alt text makes your content more accessible, as it allows page readers, used by people with visual impairments, to process your images.
What Is Alt Text?
Alt text, also known as an “alt tag” or “alt attribute,” is a description of an image that is included in the HTML sitemap to allow search engine crawlers and page readers to understand what the image is. This is important to consider in image SEO because using alt text best practices makes your website accessible to those with visual impairments, and it shows search engine crawlers that there is a variety of content about the topic on your website. It is our job as search engine optimizers to give the computer a description of the image that it can then use to determine SERP rankings or relay to users through a page reader. The below example shows how the alt text “Popcorn Family Pack Popcorn Pipsnacks LLC” describes the image and includes the brand name for image SEO.
What Are the Best Practices for Alt Text?
Optimizing alt text will improve your image SEO by making it more accessible for page readers and indexable to search engine crawlers. These are the best practices for alt text on your WordPress website:
- Be concise, yet specific. The ideal length of alt text is seven words, with a limit of 125 characters. Writing a specific description will ensure that your website and image rank highly in searches.
- Keep it relevant. It is also important to make your alt text relevant to the website content. In other words, describe the image in the context of the content, incorporating keywords when possible.
- Use alt text on buttons. Remember that buttons are not considered written content, so page readers and search engine crawlers will not be able to determine what they say without alt text.
- Check for errors. Make sure there are no typos or spelling mistakes within your alt text, as this will confuse page readers and search engine crawlers alike. Also, check that the right alt text is being used to describe the right image.
Why Is Image SEO Important?
Image SEO provides website builders with the opportunity to make their content stand out amongst competitors. In order to do this, we must use strategies such as image optimization and alt text best practices. The goal of SEO in general is to bring organic, or unsponsored, traffic to a webpage. According to Search Engine Land, there are an estimated 2 trillion Google searches every year. That’s 125 times more than the number of people on Earth! Amid such a large volume of queries, you must use every tool in your arsenal to stand out. Thus, image SEO, one of the best ways to improve your website’s rankings, is a very important part of any search engine optimization strategy.
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Keywords should be chosen carefully and used sparingly. This will ensure that alt text readers get the main message. It also helps categorize the page content for web searches. Stuffing as many keywords as you can think of in an alt text description will backfire.How do I optimize alt text SEO? ›
- Describe the image, and be specific. ...
- Add context that relates to the topic of the page. ...
- Keep your alt text fewer than 125 characters. ...
- Don't start alt text with "picture of..." or "Image of..." ...
- Use your keywords, but sparingly. ...
- Don't cram your keyword into every single image's alt text.
Keywords should be chosen carefully and used sparingly. This will ensure that alt text readers get the main message. It also helps categorize the page content for web searches. Stuffing as many keywords as you can think of in an alt text description will backfire.Does image alt text improve SEO? ›
Fundamentally, the purpose of alt text is to improve accessibility by describing what an image is showing to visitors who do not have the ability to see them. However, it also helps search engine crawlers and so improves SEO.How much does image alt text affect SEO? ›
This makes images a powerful way to get more SEO traffic. And Google reads alt text to help understand what images are about. Without alt text, your images are much less likely to rank on Google Images. So optimizing your image alt text can lead to more traffic from both Google and Google Images.How do you write effective alt text for a picture? ›
- Be specific and succinct. Describe the content of the image without editorialising. ...
- Never start with “Image of …” or “Picture of …” ...
- Use keywords sparingly. ...
- Include text that's part of the image. ...
- Don't repeat yourself. ...
- Don't add alt text to 'decorative' images.
If you're unable to see alt tags in your HTML code, re-insert the image onto the page and empty your website's cache. WordPress cannot add the new alt tag, and you need to overwrite the existing empty one manually. After that, clean your site cache to ensure you see the freshest content.How does alt text work on WordPress? ›
- Alt text in WordPress is a description you can add to images in web pages to assist blind and visually impaired people using a screen reader.
- You can add alt text to your pictures when you upload them in WordPress through the alt text field in the Attachment Details pane of the media page.
Don't use images as text.
This is less of an alt text-specific best practice and more of a general SEO-friendly web development tenet. Because search engines can't read text within your images, you should avoid using images in place of words.
Keyword stuffing is a confirmed negative ranking factor. Attempting to manipulate search rankings with repeated uses of words or phrases will only cause a site to rank lower in Google's search results.
Google's use of alt text as a ranking factor is limited to image search. For web search, alt text is treated as regular on-page text.What is the best SEO image format? ›
Use supported image formats
Google Images supports images in the following formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, and SVG. It's also a good idea to have the extension of your filename match with the file type.
JPEGs are usually more SEO-friendly than PNGs, especially if you do not need transparent backgrounds, as they offer better compression levels.When not to use alt text in images? ›
Including alt text for decorative images or items
Decorative items such as dividers or design items that don't provide additional context or content don't need alt text. They don't add to the information a user needs and they make little sense, or are unnecessary, when read with a screen reader.
Alternative (Alt) Text is meant to convey the “why” of the image as it relates to the content of a document or webpage. It is read aloud to users by screen reader software, and it is indexed by search engines. It also displays on the page if the image fails to load, as in this example of a missing image.Does Bolding text help SEO? ›
Recently, Google's John Mueller confirmed that bolding important pieces of text in your content can help your SEO performance, as it allows Google to better understand your content.What is the ideal length of image alt text? ›
Essentially, alt text should be as long as it needs to be in order to effectively describe the content, but should be succinct. For complex images such as charts, graphs, and diagrams that require more lengthy descriptions, there are other options.How much alt text is too much? ›
The alt text needs to describe the image as concisely as possible. As a rule of thumb: avoid writing text alternatives longer than 100 characters. Having long alt text will result in a poor user experience for those using screen readers.Is hiding text bad for SEO? ›
Hidden text is content visible to computers and search engines but not to the visitors of a website. This invisible text lurks in the background, in the website structure or design, and can negatively or positively impact your SEO.How descriptive should alt text be? ›
Alt text should describe the content and purpose of the video. Ideally, a video should contain a second audio track with a description of the video elements that are purely visual and not accessible to people with a visual disability.
An image description gives more details than alt text and allows someone to learn more about what is in an image that goes beyond alt text. Alt text gives the user the most important information while image descriptions provide further detail.Can I use the same alt text for images? ›
If you use the same alt text for all images, Google will most likely only notice one image because they aren't unique. Which might be fine depending on the images. The image alt text also is a big factor in Google's Image Search so the closer you can get to what customers would search for, the better.How do I stop WordPress from reducing image quality? ›
- Disable image compression using the functions file.
- Disable WordPress image compression using a plugin.
- Upload PNG images instead.
- Small (and beautiful) images.
Put simply, WordPress automatically resizes images to help you save bandwidth and prevent you from having to manually resize images. For example, the image size you would use for a post thumbnail is much different than what you would use for an image slider on your home page.Why do my images look pixelated in WordPress? ›
By default, WordPress compresses your images at about 82% quality to improve site performance for mobile users. If that causes your problems, you can disable image compression or lower it a bit more. Resize the default thumbnail size and regenerate them using a plugin like Regenerate Thumbnails or Simple Image Sizes.What is the difference between image title and alt text in WordPress? ›
The alt text and title of your image are both attributes in the code that the browser reads. However, each of these attributes has a distinct purpose: The image alt text is a web accessibility tool. The image title provides additional information about an image.Does image title affect SEO? ›
That being said, the image title is not used for search ranking, so it is not quite as important to optimize for. But if you're an obsessive SEO completionist and want to optimize everything for the best in W3C optimization, by all means, do include both the alt text and title text for your image.What is the difference between alt text and description in WordPress? ›
What Is the Difference Between Alt Text vs Caption. The alt text is used to describe the image for search engines and screen readers. On the other hand, the caption is used to describe the image for all users. Alt text is not visible on your website while captions are visible below your images.Which technique should be avoided in SEO? ›
Using a high density of keywords in your content can look like you are keyword stuffing, which will likely result in a penalty from Google and a drop in rankings. Instead, choose to use your keywords naturally throughout the article and avoid putting them all together as one massive block of text.
The most common SEO stop words are pronouns, articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. This includes words like a, an, the, and, it, for, or, but, in, my, your, our, and their.
- Slow Site Speed. ...
- Bad Reviews on Google. ...
- Faulty Google My Business Verification Code. ...
- Lack of Location-Specific Pages. ...
- Duplicate Content. ...
- Broken Images and Missing Alternative Texts. ...
- Outdated Content and Information on Site. ...
- Not Optimizing Your Website for Mobile.
Generally speaking, many SEO professionals agree that a keyword should not appear more than once per 200 words of copy. This means that for every 200 words of copy on a webpage, a given keyword should not appear more than once.Are WordPress tags bad for SEO? ›
The short answer to this question is no. WordPress tags do not offer any real SEO benefit, and in fact, using them excessively can clutter your website, create a poor user experience, and even have a negative impact on the SEO of your website as a whole.How many keywords is too many for SEO? ›
How many keywords are too many? The ideal keyword density preferred by both readers and search engines is around two to five percent. Even in longer pieces, the best practice is not to exceed 20 uses per webpage.What are the 4 Google ranking factors? ›
- A Secure and Accessible Website. ...
- Page Speed (Including Mobile Page Speed) ...
- Mobile Friendliness. ...
- Domain Age, URL, and Authority. ...
- Optimized Content. ...
- Technical SEO. ...
- User Experience (RankBrain) ...
- High-quality Content.
- Search Intent and Content Relevancy.
- Website Loading Speed.
- Mobile Friendliness.
- Domain Authority.
- Keyword Optimization.
- Website Structure.
This is a typical experience for someone who is blind or visually impaired. Alt Text is an invisible description of a photo that a screen reader can read out loud with audio to people who are blind or visually impaired. Most social media platforms have an option to edit a photo and add alt text.What is the best image optimization plugin for WordPress? ›
- EWWW Image Optimizer.
- ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
- Compress JPEG and PNG Images.
- Kraken Image Optimizer.
- WP Compress.
- Edit and Proofread Your Blog Post.
- Add Relevant Images to Your Blog.
- Format Blog Content for Readability and SEO.
- Add Easy One-Click Social Sharing Codes.
- Check Your Links.
- Include a CTA.
- Optimize and Add Meta Title and Description with Yoast.
We do recommend optimizing your images prior to uploading them. However, if that's not possible, or you want to optimize the images that are already on your site, you can still do that.
Optimize Image Size and Quality
Uploading large images to your website can make your site sluggish. Make sure your site loads quickly by optimizing the size of your images. Generally, images should be smaller than 100 kb and resized to the size you want them displayed. We like this plugin to help resize images quickly.
So for SEO, you need a minimum of a 16px font to make sure your site is considered mobile friendly, which is crucial in the mobile-first index.Does image size matter for SEO? ›
So if you care about your site performance (and, in turn, its SEO), you need to control the size of your images. Lowering file sizes while maintaining acceptable quality is the primary goal of optimizing images for website performance. Smaller files lead to faster page loads and improved user-experience & SEO.Why optimize images for SEO? ›
Optimizing your images helps to ensure a better user experience and that you meet users' expectations. SEO - Image optimization will help to ensure that your images rank in image searches on Google, and it will also be beneficial to the overall SEO (search engine optimization) of your website.Is WebP or JPEG better for SEO? ›
WebP is the best for SEO because it will make your webpage and your images load faster on your website and Google, it prioritizes websites that load faster which means this will boost your search engine ranking. Having speed is important to be able to enhance your SEO performance and WebP does just that.How long should alt text be for SEO? ›
It's advisable to keep alt text at around 125 characters or less. It was previously advised that popular screen readers cut alt text off after around 125 characters. While no longer a hard and fast rule, it is still a good guide for content creators and SEOs.What is the best practice for alt text length? ›
The alt text needs to describe the image as concisely as possible. As a rule of thumb: avoid writing text alternatives longer than 100 characters. Having long alt text will result in a poor user experience for those using screen readers.What is the best length for alt text? ›
Essentially, alt text should be as long as it needs to be in order to effectively describe the content, but should be succinct. For complex images such as charts, graphs, and diagrams that require more lengthy descriptions, there are other options.What is alt text optimization? ›
What Is Alt Text? Alt text (or alternative text) is a written description of an image. SEOs sometimes refer to alt text as “alt attributes” or “alt tags.” Optimized alt text is crucial in getting Google to rank your images on Google Images. That's because alt text lets you tell Google what the image shows.Should alt text have a full stop? ›
Alt text should: be around 125 characters (15 to 20 words) – it can be longer if needed, but if it is too detailed then include some content in the main text instead. be no more than one sentence. include a full stop at the end.
Generally speaking, many SEO professionals agree that a keyword should not appear more than once per 200 words of copy. This means that for every 200 words of copy on a webpage, a given keyword should not appear more than once.What is the best image size for SEO? ›
As Google recommends in its Advanced SEO resource, “Large images need to be at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting, or by using AMP.” Do not use your logo as the image.