How to Rank Images in Google with WordPress Hacks

How to Rank Images in Google with WordPress Hacks

In 2018 visual content is becoming King.

You know the old saying; a picture is worth a thousand words. Now that same picture, online,  could be worth thousands of site visitors and thousands of dollars for you by ranking high in Google Image tab search results.As people become more visual web browsers, rather just text-based, thanks in part to the popularity of image based social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, the use of the Google image search is growing dramatically.

My experience of using this trend in internet user behavior resulted in higher rankings and increased traffic that converted well into sales.

Here’s my formula, using mainly native WordPress, to make Google images your own personal Pinterest. By ranking high in Google Images you are essentially “pinning” your images on the most visited “board” pages on earth.  Sweet!

Advantages of Ranking Your Images in Google

There are many benefits of ranking your images in Google such as lower competition and higher click through rates:


  • Greatest Engagement with Searchers – Google is increasing its inclusion of Image Blocks (11% and climbing) in their search results as a result of the increased number of clicks on the Images tab.  It’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning algorithms measure the click rate and reward images that garner the most attention and views with higher rankings. See looks do matter.
  • Excellent Conversion rate for visual merchandise – E-commerce, design, DIY, building, all will benefit from the free exposure of their images. New research cites that 63% of Google Image search clicks turn into site traffic.

Proof of this fact is the inclusion of Google Shopping ads on the top of many image-based searches. See the screenshot below for the keyword “best gingham dress for spring”.  Know that if there is buying traffic Google will find a way to get some money from those eyeballs.

  • Easier to Rank than the ALL tab. It is far easier to rank images higher on the Images tab than a web page on the ALL tab on page #1 Google.  This is especially helpful for highly competitive keywords and niches. Additionally, I have found that the added traffic and engagement helped boost my ALL tab rankings. Win – Win.
  • Simple Add on Steps to Your WP Posts – The actions required to rank your images higher are just a few quick and easy add-on steps to your current blog posting process. You do not need extra programs or pay for additional services, since most of the actions are conducted within your WordPress dashboard.

How to Rank Images Higher in Google Search

Here’s my easy three step process to rank your images higher in the Google Image tab:


Image Content and Colors – Study your competition by keyword in Google search results IMAGES tab to determine what colors and design elements will POP.

My images are predominately bright colors on a white background with recognizable brand logos for my product reviews and comparisons of business products which work for my niche.

However, study YOUR niche like this screenshot below showing the results of “Road bike vs mountain bike”.  See how the images with some text on the image ranked higher and the #1 result shows two photos with text overlaid.

To compete in this instance, I would make a better image of two photos with a close-up of the two bikes compared. Plus I would write out the word Mountain and not abbreviate it.




Dimensions – My best results have come from both small square images, 300px X 300px, and horizontal banners, 1000px X 429px.  But as always check the image results of YOUR target keyword sizes and take this into consideration.

Image file name – Use your target keywords to name your image as the filename. Use the exact keyword phrase up 50-70 characters with words separated with dashes or underscores such as this: road-bike-vs-mountain-bike.jpg.  My findings show that file types, jpg or png, have no effect on the rankings.


Here is how to upload your image to WordPress in such a way as to insure your best Google image rankings

  1. a)     Edit Media

After you upload your photo, or during your upload, fill out ALL of these fields as described below:

Caption – Add an human understandable, short,  title-type phrase such as, Road Bikes vs Mountain Bikes – Important Differences

Alternative Text – Add a phrase 70-100 characters describing your image, that is NOT the same as your Caption, nor Description.

You can sprinkle in related keywords such as, bike, biker, riding, cycling.

Here is an example:
Comparison Review of Road Bikes and Mountain Bikes, the similarities and differences, riding styles, cycler preferences and which one is best for your next bike purchase.

Description – This is yet another place to tell Google all about your image, and the blog post for which it will be the Featured Image. Add up to 200 characters worth of description that is unique from the other two fields, Caption and Alternative Text (Alt Text).

  1. b)     Use Image in WordPress

Featured Image for Blog Post

Make your image the Featured Image for the WP blog post you want to link to from the ranked image. Most themes have this option as a default.

Image in Blog Post

Also add the image into the blog post within the text area, which tells Google that this image helps readers to better understand your content.  Additionally, you can add a caption for the image that displays in the Post.

Post Image on Post Alone

Create a blog post and title it slightly different than your main blog post and post image to that page in the body and as a featured image. This helps Google to index your image more quickly.

Because this page will appear in search results,  I like to add a few sentences about the image and a link over to the full blog post article to direct readers to the full-length article.


The above steps will rank most low to medium competition keywords well without any extra effort. However, if you have high competition keywords and want to improve your probability to rank very high in Google images continue with these advanced steps:

Share Image URL on Image Sharing SitesAdd your EXACT IMAGE URL, found in your Media Library on your WordPress site, instead of uploading an image to each site. Share your image on image sharing sites such as Instagram, Photobucket, DeviantArt, WeHeartit, Shutterfly, Flickr, SmugMug, to name a few.  

Share Image URL on Social Media Sites

Use the same EXACT URL of your WordPress image and post it on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumbler etc. for even more link juice.

Build Links Using the Image URL

Some of my niches are highly competitive so, I also built incoming links to the image URL for maximum SEO power.

Be sure to link to your blog post from the other website with the image itself instead of a text link anchor. Also ask the webmaster to use your EXACT IMAGE URL in the image source code.

Guest posts at quality sites with my image URL embedded, and linked back to my site, within a relevant article proven the most powerful. The image works well because it looks like a type of banner ad which readers are accustomed to see and clicking for more information.

I hope you found this information useful and you will try it with your images soon.

Good luck.

Happy Ranking and Banking!


Marsha Kelly

Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog, where she also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions as well as product reviews for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your own business.