I’d like to provide some search engine optimization info with regards to images that are uploaded to WordPress and how it can definitely help with boosting SEO rankings for your website. You may wish to open WordPress and walk through as I describe it below to follow along.
What image fields are important to complete for SEO purposes?
When uploading new images, make sure to complete the fields labeled:
- Caption(where applicable)
- Alt Text,
- Description(where applicable)
- Image title attribute
The fields above appear in various areas and aren’t consistent with regards to where they are located within WordPress, so I’ll break it down and explain as much as possible. Hopefully, it will be clear enough but if not, feel free to ask any questions.
- The image “alt tag” describes the appearance and function of an image on a page. It was originally provided for visually impaired users using screen readers to understand and describe the image. The Alt Tag is also displayed in place of the image if it cannot be loaded. However, the Alt Tags are now also used for SEO purposes.
- There is a balance with regards to using keywords with the images. You don’t want the images to be keyword “stuffed” where the description or tags are overloaded, however, using the keywords to describe the photos is very beneficial from an SEO aspect.
- With all of the above fields, it is perfectly fine to use the exact same description for all of them. Very frequently, I will cut and paste for all of the fields. Search engines will ignore the articles and “stop words” (https://jacobstoops.com/blog/seo-stop-words/) within the filenames and the fields listed above, so you can just include the important words in the field(s). For example, “Jack and Jill went up the hill” could be “Jack Jill hill”. However, if you want to use the caption, since the caption is visible to the audience, you’ll want it to make sense to them, so I wouldn’t recommend removing the articles and stop words. There may be some situations where the “stop words” or article(s) actually may assist in making sense of the phrase or group of words. In this case, feel free to use the article. For example, /growing-up-with-hearing-loss/ is much different than /growing-hearing-loss/.
- Try to describe what is in the image, but also use your most important keywords in the fields. Do not be afraid to sprinkle the use your locations every now and then just to help with Local SEO. Such as “Austin students engaging with …” Again, don’t overuse.
- Similar to not using articles, capitalization doesn’t matter so no need to use uppercase letters. Capital letters, of course, are fine to use within the caption.
- It also helps to actually name the files using the keywords and words similar or the same as the alt tags, descriptions, etc. For example, the jack and jill image could be “jack-jill-hill.jpg” Make sure to use hyphens (not spaces) to separate words when naming the actual file. Spaces are fine to use in the descriptions, alt tags, and captions.
- After naming the files, and prior to uploading to WordPress, I recommend using an online tool called TinyPng.com. You can upload the file and it will then strip all of the unnecessary data from the images and shrink the size of the file without sacrificing the image quality. Many times, it can save up to 75% of the original file size.
- One of biggest rules with regards to the images and SEO in general – make it appear natural.
Where to edit the descriptions, captions, etc.?
There are several different places to edit the fields. Then, there are some places where you can edit some of the fields, but not in other places.
By selecting, each image within the Media Library, you are able to edit the Title, Caption, Alt Text, and Description. The Image Title Attribute isn’t viewable or editable from this view. If you select the arrows in the top right corner of the image, you can zoom through the images relatively quickly and set the fields. This is helpful if you have a large number of images to tag.
When you edit a page and insert an image (and/or select the pencil icon when hovering over the image), WordPress will display the image details (as the screencast above). In this view, the caption and alternative text are exactly the same fields as what appears from the Media Library method. If you have completed these fields from the Media Library, they will appear within this view also. However, this is the only place to be able to add the “Image Title Attribute”.
ADDITIONAL TIP: I wouldn’t make the fields or filenames extremely long. 60-80 characters is usually a good length but don’t fret if it is slightly shorter or longer.
What order do I SEO optimize my images for WordPress?
So, for a timeline as to how I usually do it…
- Rename my image filenames using important keywords to describe the image
- Use TINYPNG.COM to shrink the file size.
- If uploading to the media library:
- Use the Media Library and insert the Title, Caption, Alt Text, and Description.
- Go to the post or page, insert the image, add the Image Title Attribute.
- If uploading to the page or post:
- Upload to the page or post
- Insert the Title, Caption, Alt Text, and Description.
- Hover over the image and select the pencil icon.
- Add the Image Title Attribute.
And that’s it. Hopefully, this will help you understand how all of the image fields and tags work together and provide a better understanding of how the images can and will help with the ongoing SEO efforts.