A Mistake in SEO Friendly Images Plugin Crushed my Organic Traffic

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I’ve been in this blogging field from 2013.

I used to blog in Google’s Blogger platform in the initial, but later I migrated to self-hosted WordPress platform buying my own custom domain names.

Back at that time, SEO was quite new to me and the variety of WordPress plugins available fascinated me.

I decided to automate the process of insertion of ALT tags to the images. Who loves to manually insert the ALT tags here? Huh?

This is a story from 2014!

For automating the insertion of ALT tags for images, I use SEO friendly images plugin.

I was using this plugin without any configurations. That is by using default settings. This was a bad idea, as far as my image naming convention is considered.

SEO friendly images default settings

The above is the default configuration of SEO friendly images plugin.

As you can notice in the screenshot, this consideration sets the ALT tag of images to “image name”+”blog post title”.

I always include keywords in the blog post title and also image name to follow the best on-page SEO practices.

So now you can only imagine the devastation caused by the above default settings.

An image with file name Improve-readability.jpg and blog post title “Tips to Improve Readability of Your Blog Posts” produce ALT tag like “Improve Readability Tips to Improve Readability of Your Blog Posts”.

Alt tag keyword stuffing

It will be enough for Google to penalize your blog for keyword stuffing in ALT tags.

This will not completely ban your site from Google, but it pushes your blog posts to greater depths of SERPS. You’d barely receive any organic traffic.

In spite of putting good quality content on my blog, I was barely receiving any traffic. Why? The keyword stuffing in alt tags.

How I caught it?

One day, an image in my blog was broken. The blog post was still pointing to the broken image. So when I viewed that blog post, the broken image along with the ALT tag appeared.

After taking a look at the ALT tag, I noticed that the keyword was stuffed in anchor text.

Keyword stuffing example

So I headed over to SEO friendly images.

Changed the default settings to the below.

SEO friendly images after the issue

Hopefully, the change automatically reflected on all images on my blog instantly.  Uff!

What happened?

After this, I published a couple of blog posts. I noticed that my organic traffic eventually shot up (increased by 500%).

New blog posts were ranking great. Older blog posts that were the victim of the issue were also receiving organic traffic from Google.

My blog posts were slowly climbing up in SERPS.

Some research…

Now I got the real reason behind the crush in my organic traffic and realized that it’s time for some research.

I Googled, ALT tag keyword stuffing.


It came up with this.

In there, I noticed that the forum guy named danijelzi, was also facing the same issue.

Forum post

Keyword stuffing in ALT tags definitely push your blog posts to 40 to 50th pages of SERPs.

If your image naming convention includes keywords in it, then you should be aware of using SEO friendly images plugin without any configuration.

Simply activating the plugin without any configuration will be very dangerous.

You should go through the plugin settings after activating it.

You should either change your naming conventions or change plugins configuration settings.

I’m sure that about 20% of the Webmasters using this plugin are facing the same issue but are not aware of it.

So I decided to blog upon this issue. This simple configuration setting will make you vulnerable to penalization by Google.

The default configuration of SEO friendly images plugin is very dangerous.If this post helps even a single person, then I will be happy.

Because if unaware of this problem, then one might suffer from Google penalty and loss of organic traffic.

Final words

If you have any similar issues and if this post has helped you to reconsider your default plugin settings, do comment and share.

I will also suggest you to take a look at the configuration settings of SEO friendly images if you’re using it in your blog.

After reconsidering the configurations of this plugin, if the organic traffic rises greatly than I will surely update this blog post with my latest observations and improvements.

This is a great example of how carelessness crushes your hard work and time.

Akshay HallurAbout me

Hi, I’m Akshay Hallur. The founder of this blog BloggingX and many other online ventures.

I’m a professional full-time blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I’m here to help bloggers like you to create an outstanding blog and earn money from it.

One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to the blogging community. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media networks. SHARING IS ♥️

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