Photography SEO: How to Optimize Images for Search Engines

Photo / Image SEO is the most obvious strategy that is often forgotten by website owners. That would be fine if your business is not photography and is not photo industry related. Otherwise, this would be at least inexcusably. A photographer that does not optimize images for search engines is either very famous and already SEO’d, trying to hide from fans, either doing photography for pleasure only, either just missing the key of this business. Optimizing images for search engines would take some time, especially if you don’t know what those images “talk” about. The image / photo SEO process would normally go through a few steps:

  • Image Files Names – that’s good place to start working on images / photography SEO. Just name your pictures accordingly to your keywords target and avoid common image names i.e. photo1.jpg, photo2.jpg etc.
  • Alt Tags – are as important as the photo file name if not more important. Most search engines will check images for alternative description tags. Some photography / slideshow plugins will add those tags automatically, but you’ll still have to specify the description accordingly to your keywords focus. When directly embedding images in a web page, you should simply add an alternative text description for images using the alt tag, i.e.: <img src=”http://www.domain.com/photography_seo.jpg” alt=”Photography SEO”>
  • Contextual copy and Captions – Search Engines are getting clever lately, but still not smart enough to look at images and see the story, so they use the content around photos to understand the context and relevance. So, the content richness is important for your photography SEO.
  • Sitemap – all the major search engines like Google will allow you to specify photo / images content using xml sitemaps. This would help them in indexing pictures through their image search. Check Google’s image sitemap guide for details
  • Syndicate your photos – though its very important to work on a direct image optimization right first, to really get benefits from your important images, it’s important to get them listed on important content sites i.e. on flickr, as those sites will improve the chances of your content getting indexed in search engines.