10 Things to Know About Responsive Image SEO

Have you considered optimizing your images for SEO? There are many reasons why you’d want to maximize responsive images SEO on your site. A relevant image ranking in the top image results can generate a considerable amount of traffic. It can also help describe the content on the page that your images accompany giving them a boost in the search engines. In general, it’s an opportunity that many digital marketers overlook.

To give you some tips on how to go about optimizing your images for the search engines, here are ten things you need to know about responsive images SEO.

1. Start with Relevant and Unique Images

The first step is to start with relevant images. There’s no point trying to trick a user into landing on your site through the image search. Provide an image that’s relevant and valuable to them. You also want to make the image unique since it helps your image stand out. A great way to enhance your images is to use a tool like Canva. You can use Canva to edit images in unique ways, from creating diagrams, visual charts, to mini infographics.

2. Use the Right File Types

When creating images, the common file types are JPG, GIF, and PNG. In most cases, JPG will be the file type to use. They are the most common image file, and you can compress them into small file sizes without hurting the quality. The next type is the GIF. They tend to be of lower quality. If you are using animated images, then GIFs are the way to go. Finally, there’s PNG. PNG has a very high resolution, but end up being larger files. You only want to use them if you’re sharing something like a graphics pack others can use.

3. Optimize File Sizes

You must optimize the file sizes of your images. Even if you are using JPG, larger images can end up increasing load and download times. You are also dealing with users that will be on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, where computing power and connectivity are weaker. You’ll be surprised at the ability to compress image files without sacrificing the image quality. There are many free tools online as well as software programs that you can use to compress your images.

4. Add Useful Captions

When it comes to images, you don’t have a significant opportunity to explain what the image is about or what the context is. To make sense of your images, you want to add short captions that describe the image in a way that makes sense to the user. It’s also a smart idea to use text in the image itself. Many marketers are using things like headlines on the top and short descriptions on the bottom of their images. You can see this commonly used on Pinterest, which is an image-driven social media site.

5. Use Responsive Images

As mentioned earlier, many of your users will be using devices like tablets and smartphones. You want to provide the best user experience possible with your images. To do this, use responsive images. These images will be either resized or better formatted to the web page so that users can view it without any issues or inconveniences. You can do this through CSS to control the original size according to the device the user is one.

6. Name Your File Properly

Naming your file with relevant words will go a long way in helping you generate traffic through image SEO. You want to add relevancy to the image for both the users as well as the search engines. You can also name files in a way that makes the image more transparent to the user. For example, a good name for an infographic about saving money might be “save-money-car-insurance.jpg.” If a user searches how to save money on car insurance in the image search, the file name will help it stand out.

7. Use Image Alt Text

Alt-text is something that many digital marketers neglect or ignore. They either use alt-text to stuff generic keyword or avoid it altogether. Alt-text does help make a difference in how your pages rank. You want to use alt-text for keywords you’re trying to rank for and any other information that would make sense for both users and the search engines. Even though image alt-text may not give you a significant advantage to search engine rankings, you want everything you can get in the competitive SEO space.

8. Create Image Sitemaps

Did you know that you can create a sitemap for your images? The sitemap will serve as a sort of directory for your images, which helps the search engines find and index the images on your site. You can use a WordPress plugin called Google XML Sitemap for Images to get started. There are similar plugins and add-ons for other CMS platforms. Creating an image sitemap may make a big difference in getting your images ranked in the image results.

9. Make Sure Images are Aligned Properly

When using images on your website, do not align them to the left of your content. That’s because you don’t want to distract away from the content. The purpose of the image is to support your content, not replace your content. Always align your images to the right or the center by itself. It’s not only better for your website goals, but is also more pleasing to the users’ eyes.

10. Disable Media Attachment Pages in WordPress

If you’re using WordPress, you want to disable media attachment pages. Adding a media file in WordPress creates a separate page for the media file. You want to disable this because it creates a situation where the stand-alone image page is competing with your regular page with the image integrated into the content. You also have to deal with a standalone image page that doesn’t have any relevance or context to it whatsoever.


To sum everything up, responsive images SEO can be a great way to drive more traffic from the image search results and enhance the SEO of your pages. To get the best results from your image SEO, you’ll want to implement all the small tactics listed here rather than selectively using a few tactics here and there. If you think image SEO is useless, then you should take a look at your analytics to see the results they bring. Don’t forget that images enhance your content and add value to your users.

Lisa Parmley launched her first online course business in 2001 and has successfully run it for the last 19 years. She writes about popular online course tools and publishes course creator interviews at coursemethod.com.