top image seo mistakes

Top Image SEO Mistakes to Avoid for a Successful Online Strategy

In today’s visually driven online world, images are no longer just decorative elements – they’re powerful tools that can significantly impact your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. But how you use them matters. Making common image SEO mistakes can hinder your website’s visibility and user experience.

This blog post will inform you about the top image SEO mistakes you should avoid to ensure your online strategy thrives. By following these best practices, you’ll harness the power of images to improve your search ranking, website traffic, and user engagement.

Mistake 1: Not Optimizing File Names and Alt Text

not optimizing file names and alt text

You’re walking into a library and finding all the books with generic labels like “Book 1” or “Folder A.” That’s essentially what happens when you don’t optimize your image file names and alt text. Search engines rely on these elements to understand the content and context of your images.

The Mistake

  • Using generic file names like “IMG_0001.jpg” provides no clues about the image content.
  • Leaving alt text blank means search engines and screen readers used by visually impaired users have no way of knowing what the image depicts.

The Impact

Without proper file names and alt text, search engines can’t understand what your image is about, making it difficult to rank it in image searches. This means potential customers searching for products or information related to your image won’t find it. Additionally, screen readers used by visually impaired users won’t be able to describe the image content, hindering accessibility.

Example: Let’s say you run a bakery website and have a beautiful image of a chocolate cake with rich frosting and colourful sprinkles. However, the file name is “IMG_2345.jpg” and the alt text is blank. Search engines won’t know this is a chocolate cake, making it difficult for people searching for “chocolate cake recipe” or “best chocolate cake near me” to find your website.

Best Practices

  • Include relevant keywords in your file names. Instead of “IMG_0001.jpg,” use a descriptive name like “chocolate-cake-with-sprinkles.jpg.”
  • Craft clear and concise alt text that describes the image content accurately. For the chocolate cake image, you could use “A close-up photo of a delicious chocolate cake decorated with colourful sprinkles.”

Pro Tip

Don’t keyword stuff! Use natural language and keep your alt text informative but concise (ideally under 125 characters). By following these tips, you’ll help search engines understand your images and improve your website’s accessibility for everyone.

Mistake 2: Using Irrelevant or Low-Quality Images

using irrelevant or low-quality images

Visuals are powerful, but irrelevant or low-quality images can have the opposite effect of what you’re aiming for.

How will you feel in this scenario?
You’re reading a blog post about healthy breakfast options, and instead of an image of a mouthwatering smoothie, you see a blurry picture of a sunset. It wouldn’t exactly make you crave a healthy breakfast, would it?

The Mistake

  • Using stock photos that are generic and don’t truly represent your brand or the content of your webpage. For example, using a generic photo of a businessman on a phone for an article about the best hiking trails wouldn’t be relevant.
  • Uploading blurry, pixelated, or poorly lit images. These can be distracting and take away from the professionalism of your website.

The Impact

Irrelevant images confuse users and detract from the overall user experience. They won’t understand the connection between the image and the content, and it might make them question the quality of your information. Additionally, low-quality images can slow down your website loading speed. In today’s fast-paced world, users expect websites to load quickly. If your website takes too long, they’ll likely bounce and head to a competitor’s site. This can negatively impact your SEO as search engines prioritize websites with faster loading speeds.

Example: Let’s say you have a travel blog and write an article about the breathtaking landscapes of Banff National Park. Uploading a blurry picture you took on a potato phone won’t do justice to the scenery and might discourage potential visitors.

Best Practices

  • Use high-quality, original images that are relevant to your content and brand message.
  • Consider using a mix of stock photos, product images, and user-generated content for a more dynamic visual experience. When choosing stock photos, opt for ones that are specifically related to your niche and avoid generic imagery.

Mistake 3: Not Compressing Images

not compressing images

Will you feel frustrated in this situation? You’re scrolling through your phone on vacation, trying to find a cool hiking trail nearby. You find a website with amazing pictures of panoramic views, but each image takes ages to load. By the time the second picture appears, you’ve given up and moved on to another website.

That’s what happens with websites that have large, uncompressed images. They take forever to load, frustrating visitors who just want to see your content quickly. This can lead to them leaving your site and finding the information they need elsewhere.

The Mistake

Uploading large, uncompressed images directly from your camera or phone. These images can be several megabytes in size, which can significantly slow down your website loading speed.

The Impact

Slow website loading times can have a disastrous impact on your website’s success. Impatient users might abandon your site before they even see your amazing content, leading to increased bounce rates. Search engines also prioritize websites with fast loading speeds in their rankings. A slow website is unlikely to rank well in search results.

Example: Let’s say you have a clothing store website with beautiful high-resolution photos of all your products. These uncompressed photos might look amazing close-up, but they take forever to load on a mobile phone. An impatient visitor might give up waiting and head to a competitor’s website with faster loading times. This can lead to lost sales and missed opportunities.

Best Practices

  • Before uploading, compress your images using online tools or plugins without sacrificing too much quality. There are many free and paid options available, such as TinyPNG (, that can significantly reduce file size without a noticeable difference in visual quality.
  • Choose the appropriate image format depending on the image type. For photos, JPEG is a good choice as it offers a good balance between quality and file size. For graphics with transparency, use PNG.
  • By compressing your images, you can significantly improve your website’s loading speed. This will lead to a better user experience and potentially improve your SEO results as search engines favour websites that load quickly.

Mistake 4: Duplicating Images

duplicating images

Taking the library example again. You’re walking into a library and finding the same book on multiple shelves with slightly different titles. Confusing, right? Search engines can feel the same way about duplicate images on your website.

The Mistake

Uploading the same image multiple times with different file names. This can happen accidentally or if you’re not careful when managing your website’s images.

The Impact

  • Search engines may not know which version of the image to index, potentially diluting your website’s ranking power. This means your website might not show up in image searches even if you have relevant images. Additionally, duplicate content can confuse search engines and negatively impact your overall SEO performance.
  • Example: Let’s say you have a blog post about the benefits of yoga. You use the same image of a person doing a downward-facing dog pose throughout the post, but you upload it three times with slightly different file names (e.g., “yoga-pose.jpg,” “downward-dog.jpg,” “flexible-pose.jpg”). Search engines might see this as duplicate content and penalize your website in search results.

Best Practices

  • Upload each image only once and optimize it with relevant file names and alt text. This will help search engines understand the content of your image and improve your website’s SEO.
  • If you need to use the same image on multiple pages, consider using a content delivery network (CDN) to improve image delivery and avoid duplicate content issues. A CDN stores copies of your website’s static content (like images) on servers around the world, which can help your website load faster for visitors in different locations.
  • By avoiding duplicate images, you can ensure that search engines are indexing the right content and improve your website’s overall SEO performance.

Mistake 5: Not Using Schema Markup

not using schema markup

Well, you’re at a museum with beautiful paintings, but there are no descriptions or information about them. It can be difficult to understand and appreciate the artwork without context, right? Search engines can face a similar challenge with your website’s images if you don’t use schema markup.

The Mistake

Not implementing schema markup for your images. Schema markup is a type of code that provides search engines with additional information about your content, including the image subject, type, and caption.

The Impact

Search engines may miss valuable information about your images, making it harder for them to understand and rank them in image search results. This means potential customers searching for images related to your content might not find them.

Example: You have a website selling handmade jewellery. You have beautiful photos of your products, but you haven’t implemented schema markup to tell search engines what kind of jewellery it is (e.g., necklaces, earrings, bracelets). Search engines might not understand the context of your images and wouldn’t know to show them when someone searches for “diamond necklace” or “silver earrings.)

Best Practices

  • Utilize schema markup tools and plugins to provide search engines with richer information about your images. There are many user-friendly tools available to simplify the process, even if you’re not a coding expert.
  • Schema markup allows you to specify the image subject, type, and caption. For your handmade jewellery website, you could use schema markup to tell search engines that your images depict “necklaces,” “earrings,” and “bracelets” made from “silver” or “diamond.”
  • By using schema markup, you can help search engines understand your images better and potentially improve your website’s visibility in image search results. This can lead to more website traffic and increased sales.

Following these best practices for all aspects of image SEO will ensure your website is visually appealing to users and optimized for search engines. This will contribute to a more successful online strategy by attracting more visitors and potentially boosting your sales.


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