Everyone wants to give their website the attention it deserves. If you have the same goal, image SEO should definitely be on your radar. According to recent research, over 90% of all web traffic comes from images. This number is too significant to ignore.
But don’t be too overwhelmed by the term “image SEO.” The process is pretty straightforward, and the right steps can significantly improve your website’s visibility on search engine results pages.
In this image SEO guide, we have listed some useful techniques to optimize images for SEO. Incorporating these tips into your digital marketing strategy is sure to enhance your online presence and improve your website’s ranking.
Choosing the Right Images for SEO
Use Relevant Pictures That Align With Your Content
All images are not created equal. To enhance your website’s SEO, select appropriate images that support and relate to your content.
For example, suppose you are drafting a blog post on “Travel Destinations.” In this case, add relevant images of these destinations to make your content more attractive to readers.
Similarly, If you’re a fashion brand promoting your summer collection, consider including high-quality photos of models wearing your clothes. This will provide prospects with a visual representation of your collection, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversions.
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Using High-Quality Images
The importance of using original, high-quality images cannot be emphasized enough. Research shows that web users are likelier to click on a unique image than a generic photo. 68% of marketing people plan to add more relevant and unique images to boost their SEO.
Original images can help differentiate your brand from competitors and improve your search engine rankings. Using such images adds credibility to your website and enhances the user experience. It encourages the prospects to engage with your brand and product.
Alternatively, you can purchase pictures from reliable websites if you cannot afford custom or original images. Just make sure to steer clear of generic photos that have been used too often. Some online tools, such as Google Image Search and TinEye, allow you to check if other sites have already used the image.
Image File Optimization
Optimizing The Image File Name And Alt Text
Naming your image files correctly can make a big difference. Instead of using generic default file names like “DSC_001jpg,” name your files with keyword-rich phrases that explain the context of your image. This helps search engines understand what the pictures are about.
Additionally, write descriptive alt text for your images to enhance their visibility in search engines. For instance, you have a picture of a blue dress for sale on your clothing website. Instead of leaving the file name as “ untitled or any generic name,” rename it to “blue-dress-for-sale” or “blue- embroidered-dress.” This provides a better idea of the image and includes relevant keywords.
Additionally, when writing alt text for the same image, you can provide a concise and informative description of the dress. A good example of alt text could be “blue embroidered dress for sale.
What is the best image file for SEO?
When optimizing images for SEO, choosing the right file type is just as important as naming the image file correctly. Different image file types have different purposes. It’s important to select the appropriate file type for your specific requirements.
The most popular image file types are JPEG, PNG, GIF, and SVG, and each has its own advantages and drawbacks.
The JPEG format is commonly used for web images because it keeps file sizes small while maintaining decent image quality. It is best for photographs and complex images with many colors and gradients. However, it is not recommended for simple graphics or images with text.
For web use, you may want to choose PNG, as it is a lossless compression format that maintains the original image information and doesn’t compromise quality. PNG is especially suitable for images with uncomplicated graphics, text, or transparency, as it can keep the edges and lines sharp and neat without increasing the file size.
GIF is a file format mostly used for creating animated images that add a bit of motion to your graphics. It has a color limitation of only 256 colors and is commonly used for small animations or memes. However, GIFs are not ideal for complex images because their quality can be poor.
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) allows you to scale up or scale down your images without losing quality. They are ideal for icons and logos.
Compressing The Image File Size For Faster Loading Times
The impact of large image files on page load times cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that slow page load times can lead to decreased user engagement and higher bounce rates.
It can negatively impact search engine rankings and overall website performance. If your site has a one-second delay in page loading time, you can experience a 7% reduction in conversions.
You can significantly improve loading time by compressing images. This involves removing unnecessary data and reducing the number of colors in the image.
Various tools are available, including Photoshop, which provides a range of features for image optimization.
You can also use Smush. It is a popular WordPress plugin that automatically compresses and optimizes images. If you still need more options, you can opt for Kraken.io, TinyPNG, and ImageOptim.
Adding Image Metadata For Search Engines
Image metadata provides additional information about the image, such as the title, description, geotags, and keywords. This information can help search engines understand the content and relevance of the image.
In the metadata, add an image title that accurately describes the picture. It should also include relevant keywords and phrases according to the user’s search intent. The image’s description can offer additional information, such as the subject, location, and other pertinent details for better understanding.
Another element to include in the metadata is geotags. The tags show the location where an image was taken. They are beneficial for optimizing local search as they help search engines comprehend how the image relates to a particular geographic location.
I bet you’re wondering how to add metadata to your images. But it’s actually a pretty simple and easy process! You can use tools and software programs online and offline to get the job done.
For instance, you can add metadata directly to your images using many image editing programs, such as Photoshop. Alternatively, you could try out specialized metadata editing tools like PhotoMe Editor, which offers an array of features for adding and editing metadata.
Image Placement and Context
Placing Images In The Right Location On Your Page
Following best practices when uploading images on your website is an effective way to boost user engagement and image SEO. The placement of images above the fold also helps. This refers to the portion of the webpage that is visible without scrolling down. Including images in this area can help capture the viewer’s attention and encourage them to stay on the page longer.
Studies have shown that including visual elements above the fold can increase engagement by up to 80%. Visual content captures and holds the viewer’s attention more effectively because the brain processes it much faster than written content.
Ideally, the image should support and enhance the text’s message rather than distract from it. Creating a healthy user experience can increase the likelihood of users staying on your site longer. They will engage with your content, ultimately increasing the chances of conversion.
Captions give valuable information about the image and the surrounding text, helping users and search engines understand the content. Effective captions should be brief, descriptive and explain the image’s relevance to the overall content.
Captions also help search engines determine the relevance and authority of your content when they index your website.
Using Responsive Images For Mobile Optimization
Optimizing websites for smaller screens has become crucial due to the increasing use of mobile devices. This enhances the overall user experience and positively affects search engine rankings.
Every day, Google puts more and more emphasis on mobile optimization for websites. In 2015, Google introduced an algorithm that rewards mobile-friendly websites. Similarly, in 2018, they announced that mobile-first indexing would become the default for all new websites.
Google mainly uses the mobile version of website content to decide its importance and position. Therefore, if you do not work towards making your website mobile-friendly, you are losing out on significant traffic and rankings.
Using responsive images is important for optimizing your website for mobile devices. A responsive image automatically adjusts to fit each device’s screen size and resolution.
There are a few different techniques for using responsive images. You can:
- Use the srcset and sizes attributes in HTML
- Use the picture element
- Use CSS background images.
The best approach for mobile optimization will depend on the needs and constraints of your website.
Each social media platform has its unique image optimization requirements. Therefore, learning how to optimize images for every platform is crucial.
Facebook is a leading social media platform with over 2.9 billion active users monthly. If you are posting on Facebook, make sure you follow the standard guidelines. The recommended size for Facebook images is 1200 x 630 pixels, while the recommended aspect ratio is 1.91:1.
Many brands use Twitter to promote their products and services. The recommended image size for Twitter is 1600 x 900 pixels. In no case should your image be lower than 1024 x 512 pixels.
Instagram is a trending visual-based platform used by various businesses. The recommended image size for Instagram is 1080 x 1080 pixels.
Using Open Graph tags and Twitter cards can enhance the appearance of your website’s content on social media platforms.
These tags are additional pieces of information that can be included in your website’s code, directing social media platforms to display the desired information every time someone shares a link to your website.
If you’ve shared a link on Facebook and noticed that it displays a summary and picture of the webpage, it’s because of Open Graph tags. Twitter cards function similarly but for Twitter.
You can use these tags to manage which picture, title, and summary will appear in the preview of your social media post. Improving the appeal of your content will lead to more clicks and engagement with your website.
To improve your social media previews, follow these steps.
- Firstly, add relevant tags to your website’s code and select a high-quality image for the preview.
- Secondly, craft a catchy title and description to encourage users to click on your website link.
- Lastly, test your social media previews using Facebook Sharing Debugger and Twitter Card Validator to ensure they appear as expected.
Technical SEO for Images
There are some technical steps to optimize your images in addition to your text. These will bring a positive outcome too.
Use Sitemaps To Help Search Engines Find Your Images
Sitemaps are files that provide detailed data about the pages and images on your website. Submitting a sitemap to search engines can assist them in locating and indexing images on your website. You can use plugins such as Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack to create an image sitemap.
Understand The Role Of Structured Data In Image SEO
Adding structured data to your website’s code provides more information about your content to search engines. This can help improve the visibility of your images by providing additional information about the subject matter or creator.
Use Structured Data For Image Optimization
One way to optimize images using structured data is by adding schema markup to the HTML code of the images. The markup should contain details such as the image’s file name, alt text, and caption. To make this process easier, you may use plugins like WP SEO Structured Data Schema or Rank Math.
Use The Lazy Loading Technique
To improve your website’s speed and performance for SEO, it’s important to consider images as well. One technique to achieve this is lazy loading, which loads images only as the user scrolls down the page.
This reduces the number of images that need to be loaded at once, resulting in faster loading times.
Using these tips can help search engines find and index your images appropriately. Ultimately, this provides the best possible results to your end users. Investing time optimizing your images can significantly improve your website’s performance. You will also see a change in the visibility and speed of your website. Try these tactics out and enjoy the results for yourself!
Tim Woda is the CEO and founder of White Peak Marketing. He has been on the founding team of five successful start-ups and his digital marketing campaigns have acquired more than 800 million customers for his start-ups and White Peak’s client companies. Tim has been featured by The New York Times, Fox News, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more. Under Tim’s direction, White Peak was selected as one of America’s Top Digital Marketing Agencies for 2021 by MarTech Outlook magazine.