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What Photographers Should Know About Image SEO in 2021

It’s no secret that SEO is essential for any website and business in order to grow organically. For example, let’s say you create good content, but no one finds it on the internet. You wouldn’t get any traffic, and therefore, you can’t convert them into leads. It’s similar to manufacturing high-quality products, but not being able to sell them on the market. The world of photography is no different. It can be hard to know where to start with SEO, or how to get your site ranked high on Google. However, there’s no need to worry. In this article, you will learn more about SEO for photographers. 

Why Is SEO Important for Photographers?

As a photographer, you might want to sell your photos online or highlight your portfolio to attract clients. But, how do you bring visitors to your website and turn them into customers? One of the quickest ways to promote your photography is by advertising on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. But paid advertising could cost you a lot of money if you want a decent amount of exposure and growth. Unfortunately, this growth isn’t consistent. If you stop advertising after a certain period of time, you might see a decrease in your business growth. The best way to grow your photography business organically is by gaining traffic from search engines. It’s a slow process, but it doesn’t cost you anything, and most importantly, the growth is consistent. For example, if you search “small garden” on Google, you get many results. google image search results seo for photographers ‎‎‏‏‏At the top of the page, you’ll see Google garden images.  Why? It’s because the images are well-optimized for SEO. So, if you are a photographer who has eye-catching images on your blog, you can optimize them so that search engines show your pictures on relevant search queries. Now you know the importance of Image SEO for photography. So, let’s deep dive into the image optimization steps.

1. Invest in Quality Web Hosting

As a photographer, you probably want to highlight your best photos on the web.  Unfortunately, having high-quality photos on your website isn’t enough. You have to make sure each image loads fast when someone visits your web page, or it will negatively affect user experience. Even if your website fails to load in under 3 seconds, people will leave and hardly return. That’s why investing in quality web hosting is very crucial. A quality service doesn’t just speed up your website; it also makes sure your website stays online 24×7, even under traffic spikes, and protects your website from hacks. Hostings like WP Engine, Kinsta, and SiteGround alternative are best for photography websites. They offer free SSL, CDN, daily malware scan, and 24×7 customer support.

2. Name Images Properly

Just like you optimize your blog posts or landing pages with proper headlines and keywords, you need to do the same for your images.  By doing so, search engines know what your images are about.  For example, by searching for “royal bengal tiger” on Google, you get many relevant results. This is because each image is appropriately named. Here’s an example: seo image title example When you export images from your device, they are given a randomly generated name, such as “09122021.png” or “IMG201150.png”. For this reason, you need to name your images appropriately before uploading them to the web. If your pictures are already uploaded, you need to update their names manually.

3. Implement Lazy Load

Lazy load is a technique that defers loading anything that is not needed, which means that your website will load images visible in the user’s browser area.  Imagine having hundreds of high-quality images on your website. Users would have to wait a long time for your content to load.  By implementing this Lazy Loading technique on your website, 
  • You can drastically reduce your website’s loading time – which will improve user experience
  • You can save your server’s resources
If you visit Depositphotos and browse images quickly, you will notice that they are lazy-loaded.

4. Host Images on a CDN

Generally, a website is hosted on a single web server. For example, let’s say your website is hosted in Austin, Texas. When someone visits your website from Texas, your web server will load it for the user. The entire process from your webserver to the visitor’s browser happens so fast that it is hardly noticeable. However, if the visitors are not from the same location, the scenario is different.  If someone from Asia visits your website, then all assets, including images, will have to travel to the user from the US. As a result, the website will load slower.  This is where a CDN comes in handy. A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a geographically distributed network of servers that provide fast delivery of Internet content. Content Delivery Network around the world A CDN stores all your website’s static files, including images, to multiple servers located in various locations. So, when a user visits your website from a different continent, the CDN loads your website from the user’s nearest location. This significantly improves your website’s loading time as well as bounce rates.

5. Choose the Right Image Format

There are tons of image file types, and among them, PNG, JPEG, WebP, and GIF formats are the most popular and widely used ones on the web.  Each image format has a different compression method and size. However, it’s difficult to say which image format will be best for you. It all depends on the type of image and its purpose.  Here are a few recommendations from us:
  • PNG: It produces better image quality, but has a large file size. Use a PNG file if the size isn’t the issue, and if the image is too detailed.
  • JPEG: Choose JPEG for online photos and artwork. It is lower in size than PNG, but you may lose some quality.
  • WebP: WebP produces high-quality results and is lower in size than PNG and JPEG. 
Choose an image format that is supported by major browsers, smaller in size, and most importantly, looks beautiful. We use the PNG format for all of our images. If the images are larger, we first compress and then upload them to the website. You can ensure your images are well-optimized for your browser by outsourcing through the likes of graphic designers or design agencies.

6. Compress Your Images

You’ve probably heard this phrase before, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Adding images helps users better understand your content, and it improves engagement on your website. But images are larger than text and can slow down your website if not optimized. Imagine how long users have to wait on a website where hundreds of high-quality images are not optimized. This is why it’s crucial to compress images before uploading them to your website. Many people believe that optimizing photos decreases image quality – which is not true at all. There are several image optimization tools that reduce file size without compromising quality. image optimization to reduce file size without compromising quality We found that TinyPNG works great in this case. It’s a free online image compression tool that allows you to optimize different image formats such as PNG, JPEG, and WebP.  TinyPNG also has an image optimization plugin for WordPress CMS that compresses all your images automatically.

7. Write SEO Friendly Alt Text

Alt text, also known as Alt attributes, is the alternative text of an image. It describes what the image is about. Alt text plays a significant role in your overall Image SEO strategy. Image Alt text aims to help visually impaired users who use screen readers when surfing a website. Sometimes, when an image fails to load on a user’s screen, users see the Alt text to understand what the picture was about.  Here’s an example of image Alt text: SEO Friendly Alt Text example

8. Add Images to Your Sitemap

A Sitemap is a file that contains a website’s essential pages, which help search engines find, crawl, and index them. Adding images to your sitemap helps search engines to discover your content faster. There are several online tools available which you can use to generate Sitemap for your website. Or, if you are using WordPress, you can use the XML generator plugin to generate plugins in one click.

9. Write Your Page Title and Description

Page titles and descriptions are a vital part of image SEO. They tell search engines what your page is about, and explain its relation to a user’s search query. Once users receive their results, the search engine displays page title as well as page description. This is what it looks like: Page Title and Description example As the title tag is an essential part of On-page SEO, you need to optimize it well with proper keywords. Conversely, poorly written title tags can negatively affect your SEO. On the other hand, the meta description doesn’t directly impact your website’s ranking, but it can be used to improve CTR (click-through rate) and encourage users to click on you. Here are some quick tips on how you can improve your page title and description:
  • Keep your title length between 60-70 characters
  • Make sure your meta description is not too long, allowed up to 160 characters
  • Include your target keywords in both the title tag and meta description
  • The title and description should be relevant to the content
  • Don’t use the same title or description on multiple pages; it confuses Google
  • Use power words in your title whenever possible, such as best, cheap, exclusive, etc.

10. Build Backlinks

Backlinks are also known as external links or inbound links. In simple words, when a website links to your website, you get a backlink. Therefore, backlinks have an essential role in improving your website’s SEO. Search engines like Google consider backlinks as votes. If a webpage gains too many backlinks, search engines think the content may have valuable content, and as a result, the website gets a ranking boost in SERPs. However, not all backlinks carry the same value; some can badly impact your website’s SEO. Getting links from irrelevant, low-quality websites is considered spammed links. There are several ways you can build high-quality backlinks to your website. Here’s a few of them:
  • Guest posting
  • Infographics
  • Broken links
  • Linkable content
  • Write round up posts
Building high-quality links isn’t that easy, and it may take some time. But once you acquire the skills and experience, tasks will be more manageable. 

Wrapping Up

One simple and effective way to grow your online business organically is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s a combination of different processes that help improve your site’s visibility when people search for something. It is not different for photography websites.  You need to optimize your website and images so that search engines show your pictures on search engine result pages. There are hundreds of website optimization techniques available, but not all of them are equally important. So, we decided to discuss the most important ones. In this article, we shared 10 of the best SEO optimization techniques for photographers. They will help you improve your online visibility and bring more clients to your website. Now, we want to hear from you. Have you implemented any of these Image SEO techniques? Did you see an improvement in your traffic? Let us know!
Jyoti Ray headshot
Jyoti Ray

Jyoti Ray is the founder of, which specializes in affiliate marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He writes and has been featured on JeffBullas, SurveyAnyplace, SearchEngineWatch, and more. You can connect with him on Linkedin.