Vacation rental images are often a motivating factor in driving bookings. But if photos are not optimized for SEO, your images could be doing more harm than good.

You have a beautifully designed website that is building your vacation rental brand, you’re targeting long-tail keywords, and you are consistently developing content for your site. You’re well on your way to driving traffic and direct bookings, but you want to know: How else can I optimize my vacation rental website?

Even if your site’s content is optimized, the professional images that you uploaded could be dissuading prospective guest’s from entering your site. Images take up an average of 54% of a webpage's weight, so when your image file sizes are too large, they can slow down your pages' load speeds and hurt your organic search rank. As you grow your site, look to image optimization to increase load speeds and improve SEO.

What does it mean to optimize images for website performance?

It’s a Catch-22. You need high-resolution photos for your vacation rental website, but quality photos come with big file sizes. Consider how many photos you have on your vacation rental website. If they’re all giant in size, your website will lag as a result. Considering that 40% of web users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, this is important to avoid.

Guests will lose patience waiting for your photos to load which will not only cause them to navigate away from your site, but the short amount of time they spend on your site will also affect your bounce rate - the percentage of users who immediately navigate back after clicking on your site link - telling Google that your website isn’t relevant.

But shrinking image sizes for quicker load speeds comes with a caveat. Compressing image files might lead to a reduction of image quality. Luckily, to get the best of both worlds, all you need are some basic tips on how to optimize images for your website.

How to optimize images for your website (without sacrificing quality)

The focus for your website photos should be on both image quality and image optimization. To improve SEO, there are some simple steps you can employ that will make a big difference. Although it involves a little more work than just snapping photos and uploading them, it will be worth it.

Compress your photos. Make sure your file sizes are small enough to load quickly, but not too small that images look bad. The easiest way to do this is with a tool like or Alternatively, we found an article from A Better Lemonade Stand that has some great detailed information about how to optimize images for web.

Note: Beware of lossy compression - the loss of data (read: quality) when shrinking image sizes, particularly an issue with JPEG images - when enacting this tip!

Use a keyword in your photo filename. Before you upload your resized image file to your website, giving it a filename that accurately depicts the photo’s content will help your search engine ranking. This is an excellent opportunity to embed targeted keywords that you are trying to rank for in Google searches into your website.

Assign alt text to your photos. When you upload an image to your website, you’ll notice an area where you can enter alt text. Adding this in helps search engines understand what is depicted in your photo. Detailing the photo’s alt text will assist the search engine in ranking your photo in Google Images, which consequently improves your site’s SEO and creates another mode for your website to be found. Remember, you know the image is of a Florida condo rental, but Google doesn’t know that until you tell it.

Include a caption. In most cases, image captions are read more than body text of an article, so take the time to caption your photos where it makes sense to do so. You don’t have to caption every single photo, but consider this from a guest’s perspective. Wherever it would be useful for a visitor to have a line of text below a photo, add a caption.

Start with an SEO-friendly website. Of course when you are focused on optimizing your website photos, it is important the rest of your site is not letting you down. MyVR offers beautiful website templates specifically created for short-term rental businesses. They’re built on the latest technology, allow for direct bookings, are fully responsive and mobile-friendly. And of course, they are SEO optimized. You simply choose your template, upload your logo, select your colors and fonts, and your vacation rental website is only a few clicks away. Our interface is easy to use, and guests will be able to find you thanks to integrated map search and filtering.

Keep in mind that the more relevant information surrounding a photo, the more Google considers it as being important.

Now that you know the basics of image optimization for SEO, we hope you’ll take the time to go through your website’s photos to make sure they’re both high quality images, a good file size, and that they’re tagged appropriately. Your website visitors will thank you for an improved user experience - and Google will too - with increased bookings!