Images SEO: How images and visual content help with search engine optimization

Image SEO: How Images And Visual Content Help With Search Engine Optimization

For many years, images, graphics, animations, and videos served to visually embellish websites on the Internet but did not have much influence on how well websites ranking with search engines.

Today this is different, image, video, and audio materials are taking an increasingly important place in search engine optimization (SEO). A website where images and videos are not properly embedded will be “punished” with poor positioning.

So it’s important to not only optimize the design and text on web pages to make them search engine friendly, but also to adjust the media accordingly.

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Tips from the pro

After 20 years of online marketing, image SEO has become a habit for me. Every image is carefully selected and edited if possible. But by that, I don’t mean simply putting a watermark over it.

  1. Always create your own images, screenshots and mockups if possible.
  2. Edit each image if you have the right to do so.
  3. Be sure to use the alt description and caption to give the image more weight.
SEO Optimierung Vorlage
SEO Optimization Template from Image by pikisuperstar on Freepik

But now we go further into the depths of image SEO optimization.

What if there are no suitable images?

Taking product pictures is usually not a problem and can often even be done by skilled employees. But what if photos and videos of services or the company’s history are needed?

Usually, companies and brands are then forced to hire a photographer or graphic designer to create them. The costs are often so high that they quickly exceed the budget. What many people don’t know is that there is a wide range of stock photos available that are suitable for businesses and brands.

Good stock agencies not only have stock photos of various objects, subjects or people available. There are millions of images, illustrations and videos with completely different motifs in stock archives, so there is suitable media for every project.

Unique Freepik images are a great example of the diversity of stock media. There are countless stock images, stock graphics, stock videos and even stock audio to choose from for any idea. High-quality and easy editing of stock media are standard there.

Why do images and videos affect SEO in the first place?

The modern Internet user has greatly influenced the whole Internet and the way it works, and both intentionally and unintentionally participated in the reshaping of the Internet. A decade ago, websites with a lot of text and little information content were sufficient to load at the top of a search engine ranking, but today much more is needed.

The Internet and users today are searching for experiences and adventures that they can experience virtually. A website that contains a lot of information, but has a poor design and does not include appropriate media, will most likely end up on the last pages of search engines.

However, it is not enough to simply insert images of any kind and videos that have no connection to the subject matter for the algorithms. However, this can be quickly changed with a few simple steps so that images and visual content are properly ranked and contribute to optimization.

Ein schönes Konzept für eine Landing-Page.
A nice concept for a Landing-Page. Image by Freepik

9 easy ways to optimize images & videos for the search engine

Adjusting images, graphics, and videos so that they contribute positively to search engine optimization is easier than many website owners think. There are many ways and of course, it is even easier for professionals to do this, but even laymen can make a big difference.

Often, an improvement in visibility can already be demonstrated if only a few parameters are adjusted. These parameters are often even features that can be adjusted quickly and easily.

In this article, we will present 9 ways which self-taken images and stock photos can be appropriately adjusted to optimize them for search engines and thus improve website rankings.

#1 Choose unique images& visual content

Nutze die Bildersuche der Bilder-Plattformen.
Use the image search of image platforms.

When choosing stock images, it is imperative to make sure that they are media that is unique. This doesn’t mean that these images have never been used before, but that they fit the project and reflect the theme of the content.

Save the following image portals where you can download royalty-free images for free or for an additional fee:


Use stock agencies that allow targeted searches for your search. There are stock archives that allow searching with multiple keywords and integrate filters to find free images and videos with the right characteristics.

#2 Edit images & videos

Individualisiere und bearbeite deine Bilder.
Customize and edit your images.

If your search was successful and you were able to find suitable free images, illustrations or videos, you should edit them. Even if they seem to fit your website perfectly, it is recommended to make at least slight changes.

It may be enough to adjust the color scheme or use a section of the image instead of embedding the whole image. Another option is to merge different stock media together or combine stock images with images you have taken yourself.

Make stock media unique content that fits your project and ties together your philosophy in images and videos. Stock photos and graphics can be partially edited online or tweaked with simple photo editing programs.

#3 Stick to one style

Work out a strategy and try to use stock images and videos that not only fit your project but complement each other. With the right media, it is possible to turn your website into a story that will be retold from page to page.

Use images with the same color schemes and themes that are easily recognizable to keep visitors loyal to your business. Return visitors have an impact on search engine optimization because search engine bots will rank your website as interesting.

With a strategy in place, you’ll find it easier in the long run to find appropriate stock media that complements the story and style of your website, making it your branding piece by piece.

#4 Resize images and graphics

Passe die Bilder an die Größe deiner Website an.
Resize images to fit the size of your website.

Resize images, graphics, and videos before saving. Size has an indirect impact on SEO because large images and videos take up a lot of storage space and consume resources unnecessarily.

With a simple image editor or video editor, you can easily adjust the media size and preserve important resources for other content.

#5 Optimize the image and video filename

Once you have found suitable images and edited them appropriately, you should adjust the file name. Images, graphics, or videos that are named with combinations of numbers or random letters have a harder time than images with meaningful names.

However, if your stock media has an appropriate file name that describes what’s in the image or video, search engine bots can match that. It can even be useful to include the website’s most commonly used keywords in the file name.

Check out my post with the best plugins for image optimization.

#6 Choose the right image and video format

Es ist wichtig das richtige Bilderformat zu nutzen. PNG für Grafiken, JPG für Bilder und WEBP für die Zukunft.
It is important to use the right image format. PNG for graphics, JPG for images and WEBP for the future.

Also, the format should not be neglected in search engine optimization because it affects important processes. JPG and PNG and WEBP images are best for use on websites and social media.

I have created a table according to which you can choose the optimal image format:

Image FormatApplication areas
PNGGraphics, transparent background
JPGImages or graphics with gradient
WEBPGraphics and images (replaces the old formats)

You should also pay attention to the format used for animations and videos. MP4 and WebM formats are best, as these have been optimized for the Internet. It is also important to ensure that stock media such as photos and videos take up as little storage space as possible. Stock media and original photos can be compressed with a suitable program for this purpose.

#7 Adjust the image title

Another important factor in image SEO is the image title. On websites, visual content can be given a title. Use this opportunity to describe the content of images and graphics in a few words.

You can also use an image title to include a call-to-action. A call-to-action is a request for action. For example, ask your visitors to buy or rate your content.

#8 Use alt tags

Ganz wichtig für die Bilder SEO! Nutze Alt-Tags, für Suchmaschinen und Sehbehinderte.
Very important for image SEO! Use alt tags, for search engines and the visually impaired.

Alt tags are rarely used, yet they play an important role in optimizing stock photos and stock videos. Usually, input windows are integrated, so that the alt text can be entered directly after uploading media.

It makes sense not only to describe what can be seen in the image or videos but also to use keywords. Keywords are recognized by search engine bots when they crawl the website and are taken into account in the ranking.

Writing alt texts may be boring and annoying, but they move your blog forward and help your visitors.

#9 Does the text match the image and the image match the surrounding text?

When incorporating photos into texts, it makes sense to position stock media and original photos specifically. What is meant by this is that the text, around the media, fits the media and in the best case even describes the content of the images in some way.

In any case, the images and videos should fit the content of the corresponding page. So match images and videos to the text.

This is all about relevance. The images must match the rest of the content. Any meaningless stock images used thousands of times will bore the reader and will not add any value.

Make some effort!

#10 Publish images in the XML sitemap

The term “image sitemap SEO” is a bit of an exaggeration, because you don’t have to do much for it. Especially if you use WordPress, many SEO plugins add your images to the sitemap automatically. With that, the image sitemap SEO is already done.

Rank Math XML-Sitemap mit Bildern.
Rank Math XML sitemap with images.

With Rank Math, this happens automatically in the default configuration.

Die einzelnen Bilder sind im XML-Code sichtbar.
The individual images are visible in the XML code.

In case you are wondering where the images are visible in the XML sitemap: The images are not listed in the HTML view, only the number is shown in the “Images” column. In the actual XML sitemap, however, every single image is listed.


Image SEO is the optimization of data and properties of images for search engines. Search engines work with bots and algorithms to rank and evaluate websites and their content. In simple terms, this means that only if the content of web pages, such as text and images, fit the theme of the web page, it will be well evaluated by search engines and listed on the first pages.

Image SEO is important for every internet user who runs a website or wants to become known with his social media profile. Images can be assigned to a topic by people when they are seen, but a search engine needs data to be able to assign them. Anyone who adjusts the metadata of images and videos and specifies in them what they are about makes the search engines’ job easier, so to speak, and promotes the SEO of their page.

Of course, stock media of all kinds may be used for search engine optimization. Depending on whether it is free images, graphics and videos or purchased premium stock media, only a source reference must be given or not. In this case, free images and videos must be provided with a proof, whereas purchased stock photos and videos do not.

Conclusion Image SEO

Image SEO is an important factor in optimizing a website. Not only can images improve the appearance of a page, but they can also help a page be found more easily.

To ensure that images are used effectively for SEO, they should be tagged with relevant file names and ALT text. It is also important to save images in an appropriate format and size so as not to affect page load time.

By using relevant keywords and descriptions, images can be found better and thus contribute to higher traffic from Google Image Search.

Overall, comprehensive image optimization is an important part of a successful SEO strategy and should therefore not be neglected.

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