As someone who works in online marketing, you know that images are an important part of any website or blog post.
Not only do they help break up the text and make your content more visually appealing, but they can also help improve your search engine ranking.
That’s because images can be optimized for search engines just like regular text content.
In this post, we’ll give you a crash course in image SEO and show you how to optimize your images for better search engine ranking.
But first, let’s try to understand:
What is Image SEO?
Simply put, it’s the process of optimizing your images for search engines.
This means creating images that are relevant to your keywords, have descriptive filenames and alt text, and are compressed for faster loading times.
And why are they important?
- According to Google, nearly 1 in 3 online searches are related to images
- According to Jumpshot’s 2018 report, 20% of all online searches in the United States take place on Google Images.
- Internet is burst opening with visual search
- Mobile searches for “image search” have grown by over 60% from 2016 to 2018 and are continuously rising
Though there are many such stats I can share with you but that’s not the only reason you should care about image optimization & SEO.
Many of the graphics that you submit to Google will appear and rank in other locations aside from just image search.
They rank all around, including Google discover, traditional web searches, image search, schema markup data, Google maps, and more.
That gives enough strong reason to optimize them for SEO.
But how do we optimize them and most importantly, where to start?
To make it simple for you, let’s start with:
1. Picking the right image file format
As a general rule, JPG is the best file format for images on the web.
It offers a good balance of quality and file size, making it ideal for most purposes.
However, there are some situations where PNG or WebP may be a better choice.
For example, if you need to display a very high-quality image, PNG is a better option.
However, it’s important to note that PNG files are much larger than JPG files, so they will take longer to load.
On the other hand, WebP is the smallest file format, so it’s ideal for use on websites where load times are important.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that WebP images are not as high quality as JPG or PNG images.
In simple terms:
- PNG: High quality + Large size
- JPG: Medium quality + Medium size
- WebP: Low quality + Small size
Based on your priorities, you can choose which one to go with.
2. Resize your image dimensions
When it comes to image SEO, one of the most important things you can do is resize your images.
Large images can slow down your website, which can negatively impact your search engine ranking.
But how do you know what size to make your images?
A good rule of thumb is to keep your image dimensions under 500px in width and height.
You can also use these image editing tools to help you resize your images.
Simply upload your image, choose the desired file dimensions, and then download the resized image.
3. Reduce your file size
The smaller the file size, the faster your page will load.
This is essential because people are less likely to stay on a page that takes too long to load.
Moreover, Google is also considering Core Web Vitals into ranking factors thus reducing your file size will definitely give a better score.
In addition, search engines take page-loading speed into account when ranking pages, so a faster page is more likely to rank higher than a slower one.
There are a few different ways to reduce file size, such as using compression software or adjusting the resolution.
By taking the time to optimize your images, you can potentially improve your website’s overall performance and ranking.
4. Optimize your image file names
Image file names are an important part of image SEO.
Just like with the rest of your website’s content, your image file names should be keyword-rich and descriptive.
This will help search engines understand what your images are about, and it will also help potential customers find your images when they’re searching for product photos or illustrations.
There are a few different ways to optimize your image file names.
First, make sure that you’re using relevant keywords throughout your file name.
For example, if you’re selling soap, you might want to include keywords like “soap,” “body wash,” or “cleaning product.”
You should also try to use descriptive words that accurately describe what’s in the photo.
For example, if you have a photo of a blue bar of soap, you might want to include words like “bar,” “blue,” or “soap stand.”
Finally, avoid using generic terms like “IMG_1234.jpg.”
For example, rather than naming an image “IMG_1234.jpg,” try something like “best-image-optimization-practices.jpg.”
Not only will this help your images to show up in search results, but it will also help people to understand what they’re looking to click on.
When it comes to image optimization, every little bit helps!
5. Compress Your Images
Image compression is the process of reducing the file size of an image while maintaining its quality.
This can be done through a variety of methods, such as removing unnecessary data or using data compression algorithms.
By compressing your images, you can reduce their file size without compromising quality.
This will help your pages load faster, which is essential for both search engine ranking and user experience.
In addition, compressed images are often more suitable for use on mobile devices, which can also help to improve your SEO.
There are a number of ways to compress images, including using online tools or Photoshop plugins.
In general, you should aim for a file size of around 100kb or less.
However, the exact file size will vary depending on the dimensions and quality of your image.
6. Add keyword-rich and descriptive alt tags
Alt tags are short pieces of text that describe an image.
They help search engines understand what an image is about, and they can also be used by people who are visually impaired and are using screen reading software.
There are a few things to keep in mind when adding alt tags.
First, make sure that the text is relevant to the image.
Don’t just add any random words – describe what is actually happening in the image.
Second, keep your alt tags short and sweet.
You don’t need to write a novel – a few well-chosen words will do the trick.
Finally, make sure to use keyword-rich alt tags to help improve your image SEO.
7. Add image structured data
If you’re looking to get your images noticed by search engines, one of the best things you can do is add structured data.
Structured data is code that helps search engines understand the content on your website.
By labeling your images with structured data, you’re essentially telling Google what they are and how they should be displayed.
For example, if you have a product page with schema markup, and you label the image as a product, Google may display that image with a price tag.
This is because search engines use the information in the structured data workflow to provide the most relevant results.
So if you’re wanting your images to be displayed in the best possible way, adding structured data is a great place to start.
8. Use content delivery network
Using a content delivery network (CDN) can help to ensure that your images load quickly and smoothly, no matter where your visitors are located.
CDNs work by caching your images on servers around the world, so they can be delivered to visitors more quickly.
Not only does this improve the user experience on your site, but it can also help to improve your search engine ranking and reduce page load times.
9. Avoid using stock photos
In today’s visual world, it’s more important than ever to make sure your images are optimized for search engine ranking.
That means choosing photos that are high quality and relevant to your brand, rather than using stock photos that could be associated with any number of businesses.
Stock photos may be convenient, but they don’t do anything to help you stand out from the crowd.
And in a competitive market, you need all the help you can get.
So when it comes to image SEO, steer clear of stock photos and focus on finding or creating original images that reflect your company’s unique identity which will turn into your full-time job.
It may take a little extra time and effort, but the results will be well worth it.
10. Use image site maps
An image sitemap is simply an XML file that contains information about the images on your site.
This information includes the location of the images, as well as titles, descriptions, and other important data.
By creating and submitting an image sitemap, you’re giving search engines like Google all the information they need to index your images properly.
As a result, your images are more likely to show up in image search results, and your site as a whole is likely to get a boost in the rankings.
11. Add descriptive image titles and captions
Adding descriptive image titles and captions will help search engines understand what your images are about, and it will also help human users find the images they’re looking for.
When a search engine crawls a website, it looks for keywords in the text, and adding keywords to image titles and captions can help to improve your website’s ranking.
In addition, well-written, powerful captions can also help to engage readers and improve your click-through rate from image search results thus driving more traffic.
12. Add open graph data
Open graph data is a type of metadata that specifies how your images should be displayed when shared on social media.
By including open graph data in your images, you can control how they appear in Facebook and Twitter feeds, making sure that they are always displayed correctly according to the platform.
An illustrative open graph image will attract a lot of clicks and thus drive a lot of social traffic for your sites.
And since Google also considers social signals as a part of rankings, you can greatly benefit from SEO too.
Images can be a powerful tool for attracting readers to your blog posts.
However, it’s important to use images wisely, as using too many or the wrong kind of images can actually have a negative impact on your SEO.
Done right, incorporating images into your blog posts can be a great way to improve your SEO and attract more readers.