Images for blogs

From a SEO perspective, the text on your blog is most important. However, images for blogs are really important in getting your audience to read your post. A post with a nice photo or illustration will receive lots more attention on social media. In this post, I’ll explain the importance of photos and illustrations and give practical tips on how to find images for blogs on your own.

Before we dive in, if you want to learn more about image SEO and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our All-around SEO training! It doesn’t just tell you about SEO: it makes sure you know how to put these skills into actual practice!!

Choose images that fit your blog post

If you choose a photo or an illustration for your post, make sure that the image actually fits the topic of your blog. A picture should make people want to read your blog or explain something you’ve written about in your blog. Text and picture should be about the same topic; they should reinforce one another.

Tips on how to find images for blogs

You cannot just use any picture or photo you find on the internet. Illustrations have copyright (just like text, software or any other creation of someone) and should not be used without consent of the creator. No worries though, because there are plenty of databases containing pictures you can either buy or even use freely.


Take your own pictures

If you really want original pictures that fit your post, you should make your own photos. Taking your own photos ensures that you’ll show an original picture, one that can never be found on another blog. On top of that, this allows you to shoot a photo that truly fits the content of your post. If you’re blogging about your day-to-day life, taking your own pictures is definitely the way to go. That also goes for food blogs. For a company blog or a technical blog, or for for that matter, it’s much harder to take pictures that actually fit the content of the posts you’re writing.

Use photos from platforms

If the content of your blog is somewhat abstract, taking your own pictures just isn’t doable. You could then buy or download pictures from a platform. You could use many platforms to download free or paid images: Yayimages, shutterstock, librestock, unsplash. There are many more out there. Our very own blogger Caroline also wrote a post listing her favorite resources for images. In any case, make sure your stock photo isn’t a photo that is used by everyone, though.


Hire an illustrator

If you have specific ideas about what illustrations for your blog should look like, but you’re not able to create or buy them yourself, you could also work with a professional illustrator (as we do at Yoast). We would like to emphasize that you really need a budget for that, but that it could pay off. Working with a professional illustrator will get you original and on-topic content. Above that, if you work with the same illustrator for multiple blogs, you will also get some continuity between posts and within your blog. People will recognize your posts just by looking at the illustration.

If you see illustrations you like (e.g., on Facebook), make sure to check out who the artist is. Googling the name will probably lead you to their portfolio (if they did their SEO well!). Lots of illustrators and artists work freelance. You can also find collectives of artists offering their services on Facebook.


Photos and illustrations can make your blog post much more appealing. Especially when you share your post on social media, a nice image could increase the exposure enormously. Make sure to pick or create original images for blog posts, that make you stand out from all the others!

Read more: Optimizing images for SEO »

17 Responses to Images for blogs

  1. fitri
    fitri  • 5 years ago

    I agree images can also attract the attention of visitors , the reason visitors prefer to read an article that has an image

  2. Mony Tan
    Mony Tan  • 5 years ago

    Thank you Marieke, share this tip! How about image that I search in Google or Flickr could I use them in my blogs?

  3. vivek
    vivek  • 5 years ago

    I was very poor in Design and image selection , you just gave good suggestion in this blog. Thanks write more like this to aware the new bloggers.

  4. Sukanta Das
    Sukanta Das  • 5 years ago

    Very important writing about Image optimization & using Alt Tags
    properly for Blogs & Websites also. Thanks a lot!

  5. Stephan Becker
    Stephan Becker  • 5 years ago

    Actually I have to disagree with most comments – I apologize in advance for I will not mince my words: I find Marieke’s post a very shallow post, a ‘non-authorative post’ so to speak. Here is why: in the era of content marketing, there is nothing better to attract readers, links and authority than to write… authorative articles! I invite everyone to head over to what Brian Dean of teaches in terms of writing Power Pages of 2000+ words that attract likes, shares and backlinks all over the place. I understand that one of the Yoast blog objective may be to sell eBooks that are dealing with doing SEO in a very detailed manner (at least I hope so!). But to confine that knowledge exclusively to an eBook is so…. 2012 ! ;-)

    In the new world of SEO’ where content marketing and SEO meet you would write a piece that really helps people to do something form A to Z, in nitty-gritty detail. This will get real likes, real attention and real backlinks – and sell the eBook at the same time as it provides even more value to it. It also ramps up word count for the blog article automatically, and thats very good news actually as we now know that 2000+ word count articles are the one’s that make the bulk of Google’s 1st page! (to this see point #16 in the following article:

    Don’t get me wrong Marieke, you are probably just followoing protocol, but you have “a PhD in Social Sciences” and your ” current research focuses on conversion and web analytics.” ??? What the heck are you waiting for?

    For example: Why not talk about those micro-moments that make people convert when reading a piece of good content? What makes people go ‘wow’ – and a piece go viral? How can we harness that knowledge to write even better pieces of content every day on our blogs? These are the questions that matter when SEO meets Content Marketing – and you may very well be perfectly well positioned to answers those questions.

    Why don’t you share your most valuable (and please, actionable) insights from your field of expertise in some 3000+ epic content? Or is Mr Yoast holding you on a short leash to prevent you from “going all out”?

    Just my five cents… :)

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      I understand your remarks and I actually think we agree on some things. I do not understand, nor appreciate your tone though.

      Articles could definitely be lengthy, and you should have a couple of these on your site. Blog posts containing more than 800 words aren’t read all the way through the end (I actually tested that, hurray for having my PhD). At Yoast, we like to write posts and articles for real people, not just for ranking in Google. In my opinion, lots of small posts with valuable insights will really help people setting up their SEO strategy. Images are part of that. I am not saying that you should not write great articles, I am saying you should add great images and illustrations to make your great articles even better.

      • Stephan Becker
        Stephan Becker  • 5 years ago

        Hi Marieke – sorry if my tone of voice has you left offended… my intention was to adopt ‘conversational style’ and to poke fun – but certainly not to offend you! That being said, I am eagerly looking forward to articles in which you will share insights coming out of your research. You know, there is nothing more valuable to website owners (…that have Yoast WP SEO installed in top of it!) than actionable insights from an expert like you! :-) Insights that I (we) cant get nowhere else…


        PS 1: A click on your name sends to the blog homepage instead of your list of articles – how does one follow all that you write?
        PS 2: How do I add a picture to my profile?

        • David Murphy
          David Murphy  • 5 years ago

          ‘Jayzus’!! What’s wrong with you mate?You are the best example of what’s wrong with the internet.

          • Plengchart
            Plengchart  • 5 years ago

            People here need to calm down hehe.

  6. André Páscoa
    André Páscoa  • 5 years ago

    Very Good Yoast people! Nice.

  7. Noryach
    Noryach  • 5 years ago

    Hi everyone!
    Good article! If you would like to increase the speed of your blog, be sure that your images are properly optimized for web.
    Heavy images slow down the loading of your page and it’s easy that people get bored and choose to skip to another website. If you want to avoid this, just follow these easy steps to make your images web-ready:

    Use Adobe Photoshop
    Go to “File > Save for Web..”
    Choose the options:
    Extension .JPEG
    Quality 60 (70 is the limit)
    Change the Size of your image (the length should not be more than 1800 px)

  8. Khaled
    Khaled  • 5 years ago

    Good post.
    Yes, images and illustrations could make blog posts more appealing, however, everyone must carefully check the copyright issue. Using a copyrighted images could cost us huge damage.
    Thank for your post.

  9. Tahir Taous
    Tahir Taous  • 5 years ago

    Eye catching images can be very powerful, people love photos and images that’s why we have instagram, pinterest and so many other platforms.
    I love to use illustrated images for my blog post but creating illustration from scratch can be time consuming you can download free Illustrations from

  10. Marjet
    Marjet  • 5 years ago

    I have a question about removing old images and pdf’s. If you wanna clean up unused images and PDF’s does it matter? Has Google not yet indexed a PDF so it will be a 404-error if you remove it?
    Or if does Google not index the PDF’s with the Yoast plugin activated?

    Hope you know this answer,
    Thanks in advance,

  11. Ravi Roshan Kumar
    Ravi Roshan Kumar  • 5 years ago

    Hello Marieke,
    Glad to meet you here.. :)

    Excellent post indeed… you know. I got happy to read this article because I have knew many new things which I was not knowing before. After reading this post, I understood that the importance of photo in our site.

    I agree with you that a good photo can play got role to enhance your site easily. Very interesting article, really I can’t hold myself to comment, you know. You are brilliant so that it is possible that you guide us.

    Thanks for sharing such a great informative idea with us..
    Have a nice day..

    – Ravi.

  12. Katie Lyons
    Katie Lyons  • 5 years ago

    Thank you Marieke, share this tip! How about image that I search in Google or Flickr could I use them in my blogs?

  13. Charles
    Charles  • 5 years ago

    Thanks Marieke!

    I agree that photos and illustrations add a lot of value to any content and without them, content can look boring.

    We share start-up stories and informative content that can be helpful to entrepreneurs and businesses, and we are always struggling to find good pictures. So far we have been using Unsplash and Pexels. We have also tried Google & Flickr’s search option to find copyright free images.

    What other sources do you recommend to find copyright free photos?