Posted: Wed 15th May 2024

Optimizing Images for Search Engines While Avoiding Unethical Practices

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It is usually said an image is worth a thousand words. The digital images work the same on online platforms. However, an image with no regularities and search engine regulations is nothing; it is just a waste of space occupied and time spent. You have to optimize your image according to the search engine guidelines to achieve the right goals. 

However, while optimizing them, you should also avoid unethical practices intended to fool the search engines. If you are interested in learning more about image SEO and refraining from using incorrect optimizing practices, this article is for you. Here, you will learn complete details on optimizing images for search engines while avoiding unethical practices.

Design Images Yourself

The best thing you can do for your visuals is design them yourself. You can either let your inner creativity out to design images or hire a professional designer. 

Whatever you prefer, the main goal is to foster originality while avoiding unethical practices. Instead of using stock image libraries or images offered under the fair use policy, prefer creativity. Search engines highly consider original and unique photos over copied images, so you should be involved in original visual creation.

Get Ideas from Online Platforms

Getting ideation from similar sources isn’t an unethical act for image optimization. You can get inspiration from any source on the web and learn what visuals are working for your niche and competitors. 

But that doesn’t mean you are going to design their visuals as they are, as it comes under the unethical use of others’ intellectual property. Instead, you should modify the concept and redesign the image from a unique perspective. You can explore multiple similar ideas using a unique visual with the help of a reverse image search tool. 

The tool opens the gateway to a range of similar images, designs, graphics, or illustrations in a single tap. 

Simply find a compelling visual, conduct its image search, and you get to know how many different ways the same image exists on the web. You can get more visual ideas by exploring the online platform in the photo search results.

Add Alt Tags

Search engines, including the mighty Google, can’t read or interpret what’s inside an image. The ALT tags or alternative texts are descriptions that tell search engines about the images. Search engines utilize that information to interpret the images while considering them for ranking. 

Therefore, you should optimize images by writing their appropriate ALT descriptively and delivering enough information. It should also constitute your targeted and relevant keywords. However, avoid unfair use by stuffing the descriptions with keywords. 

Furthermore, the ALT tags are also helpful when the images fail to load on your site. Instead, the image description (ALT text) is displayed, which helps the audience learn about the image. Similarly, users with visual impairment who use screen readers learn about the photos through the ALT tags. 

Optimize Image Sizes

Images with huge sizes increase the page loading time, affecting your site performance. As you may know, search engines consider page speed a highly considered ranking factor. Therefore, to optimize images as per search engine requirements, you have to optimize their sizes. The image size represents the dimensions of an image. 

For instance, 360 x 240 pixels is a commonly used dimension for blog images in mobile view optimization. You can resize image dimensions to fit the required optimization criteria for each image. The images can easily be resized either by cropping, which only removes the extra borders from the image. 

You can also compress images if you want to optimize them systematically. Image compressor reduces the size of an image without affecting its overall quality. Thus, you can enjoy high-quality visuals in the lowest possible size using automated compression.

Use Appropriate Formats

While optimizing images for search engines using the appropriate format is an essential step. The type of image and its use in your content defines which formats will best suit your needs. For instance, JPEG or JPG format is used for large-sized images where a good balance between quality and size is required.

The PNG is used when the transparent background behind logos and icons is required. Moreover, Scalable Vector Graphics or SVG is used for simple graphics, GIF for visuals without colors, and WebP for high quality in the smallest possible file size. 

Thus, depending upon your use and image requirements, choose one of these web-friendly image file formats, which ultimately helps in the search engine optimization (SEO) of your visuals. 

Add Images to Sitemaps

Google clearly emphasizes the importance of adding your images to sitemaps. A sitemap is a complete outline or map of your website pages and URLs. The sitemaps also help highlight which URLs/pages are essential and which are least significant. 

Similarly, image sitemaps are created to provide search engines relevant to the website images, such as the image file location, title, and caption. Whether you use your existing sitemap or create a separate sitemap for images, it is a helpful way of image optimization. 

Adding images to XML sitemaps facilitates the crawling and indexing of your images, further increasing the organic traffic and ensuring good image SEO.


Image optimization is necessary to adhere to your visuals according to search engine requirements and offers several other benefits, too. You can perform image SEO in plentiful ways while refraining from unethical practices, for instance, by designing the images yourself instead of copying others, optimizing their sixers and formats, adding their ALT tags, and including them in sitemaps. Moreover, you can explore multiple ideas and unique perspectives from similar platforms in your niche using reverse image search. However, the point is not to copy their visuals but to get inspirational ideas to articulate your own visual content.


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