How do I optimally name an image?
Use a relevant image, one that suits the content. Pick a descriptive file name, not just a list of numbers or letters. Create an image that’s the same size as it is when displayed. Keep the file size down so it loads nice and fast. Use a caption if it’s suitable and will help users, and add keyword-friendly image alt text and title text.
Including images on your web pages:
- Makes your articles easier to read (increasing time on-page).
- Increases social sharing (Google loves social proof).
- Allows more keywording opportunities.
- Can send you traffic from Google image searches.
Here is the step by step breakdown of how to optimise the name of an image:
Step 1: Optimise the page URL for the keyword phrase
Remove any ‘stop words’ from the URL so it is consistent with the keywords and content on the web page.
Step 2: Filename of the image
Use the page URL name as the file name for the image that you will be uploading. If using more than one image, you could save them with -1, -2, etc. added at the end. Go one better and name each image with a related keyword phrase that’s relevant to that particular image. When naming your image files, separate words with either a hyphen (-) or an underscore (_). If you simply use spaces, hyphens are likely to be added automatically.
Step 3: Save the image in the right file type
Search engines much prefer web pages that load quickly, and images are notorious for slowing it down. Here are some tips:
- PNG-8 will give you the smallest file size for graphics with limited colors.
- JPEG is the file type for photos, as well as graphics that have many shadings of colors.
- Reduce the pixel size of your image so it’s no larger than it will display online. Don’t place the full-size image on your page and reduce the dimensions in the code. That won’t help at all! It increases your page load time because the larger file still has to load, plus be reduced by the code.
- For JPEGs, use the maximum compression that still displays at a good quality.
Step 4: Use image alt tags properly
All images possess the alt feature that allows you to specify alternative text for the image if it can’t be displayed, or the reader is visually impaired. You should always complete the alt text as it is primarily designed for individuals who are unable to view images and their software can read the text to describe the image to them.
From an SEO point of view, you can use this text to also include keywords. You should avoid excessively long alt text that could be considered spam. If relevant, use the keyword phrase used for the image name as the alt text. You can also add it as the Image Title, but this doesn’t affect SEO. Image Title is shown if someone mouses over the image on your site.
Step 5: Add descriptive captions
A caption should appear below the image and should explain what’s in the image. Captions add context to your images not only for readers, but they also allow search engines to easily understand the image. Try to use keywords in the captions, but be sure not to overdo it!
Step 6: Add images to the sitemap
Search engines such as Google encourage website owners to submit a sitemap to enable better crawling of the pages and have them added to the search results. In the sitemap, you can include your images or make a separate sitemap for only images.