In today’s digital age, having a solid online presence is crucial for the success of any business or website. One key aspect of this is search engine optimization (SEO), which involves improving the visibility and ranking of your website on search engines such as Google.
While many factors influence SEO, optimizing your images can significantly impact your website’s overall performance. In this article, we will explore the importance of optimizing your images for SEO, as well as practical tips and techniques to help you achieve better results.
Whether you’re a blogger, business owner, or web developer, understanding how to optimize your images can help you attract more traffic, engage your audience, and ultimately achieve your online goals.
What is Image SEO?
Image SEO is optimizing images to increase their visibility in search results. For instance, optimizing for image SEO might raise the rank of your website on Google Images.
As you can see in the image below, Marketing Lad is ranked third as a “semscoop review keyword research tool” in Google Images.
Also, image SEO can increase your site’s accessibility, which is becoming a legal requirement in many nations.
12 Optimization Ideas to Boost Your Image SEO
1. Choose the Right Format
Selecting the appropriate format for images is not a one-size-fits-all solution, as it depends on the type of image and its intended purpose. To summarize, it is recommended to:
- Opt for JPEG for larger photos or illustrations as it can maintain color accuracy and clarity with a relatively compact file size.
- Choose PNG if you require transparency in your image’s background.
- Consider using WebP as an alternative to both JPEG and PNG as it can produce high-quality results with smaller file sizes. You can use tools such as Squoosh to transform your image into WebP.
2. Compress Images for Faster Load Time
To optimize your website, compressing images is a crucial step to undertake. The main reason for this is that compressed images result in faster load times, which ultimately enhances the user experience and also positively impacts your website’s search engine rankings.
Generally, a file size of less than 100 KB is considered ideal for images. However, it’s worth noting that when assessing website optimization, Google looks at the total page size rather than individual image sizes.
Therefore, if a smaller image can be compressed to 30-50 KB with minimal quality loss, it would provide more space to retain another image at a higher quality even if its file size is 30 KB larger after compression
3. Use descriptive alt text in the alt attribute
Including descriptive alt text in the alt attribute of an image enhances web page accessibility for individuals who are unable to view images on web pages, such as those who utilize screen readers or have a slow internet connection.
Along with computer vision algorithms and page content, Google uses alt text to comprehend the image’s topic. Alt text can also function as anchor text when an image is utilized as a hyperlink.
When crafting alt text, it is important to generate informative and contextually relevant content that incorporates relevant keywords. Refrain from cramming alt attributes with keywords, also known as keyword stuffing, as it may create a negative user experience and result in your website being marked as spam.
4. Optimize Your Page Title & Description
It is important to optimize your page title and description because Google takes them into account when ranking images through its algorithm for image search.
The Google support page explains that various on-page SEO elements, including metadata, header tags, page copy, and structured data, have an impact on how Google evaluates and ranks your images.
Think of it like adding toppings to a burrito. Just as adding guacamole enhances the flavor, optimizing your page title and description can improve your image rankings.
5. Use Responsive Images
Creating responsive web pages results in a more satisfactory user experience, as users access them through a wide variety of devices. To optimize images on your website, consult our responsive images guide to learn about recommended practices.
Responsive images on web pages can be specified using the <picture> element or the srcset attribute of an img element. Nevertheless, certain browsers and crawlers may not support these attributes. As a result, it is advisable to always indicate a fallback URL through the src attribute.
By utilizing the srcset attribute, various versions of an image can be specified for different screen sizes.
6. Add Structured Data
Incorporating structured data into your web page can result in Google Images displaying your images as rich results, which includes a prominent badge.
This badge provides users with relevant information about your page and can increase targeted traffic to your site. Structured data is supported by Google Images for the following categories:
Product, Video, Recipe, and Image metadata.
To ensure that your structured data is eligible for rich result display in Google Images, follow the general structured data guidelines as well as any specific guidelines for your particular structured data type.
For each of these structured data types, the image attribute is mandatory for badge and rich result eligibility on Google Images. Below are two examples of how rich results may appear on Google Images.
7. Use an Image Sitemap
Submitting an image sitemap can allow you to share the URLs of images that may not have been found otherwise.
Unlike regular sitemaps, image sitemaps do not have cross-domain restrictions, which means that you can use CDNs to host images. It is recommended to verify ownership of the CDN’s domain name in Search Console to receive notifications of any crawl errors that may occur.
8. Make Images Mobile Friendly
To ensure that your website is optimized for mobile viewing, it is important to make sure that your images are also mobile-friendly. Since Google’s algorithm focuses on mobile-first indexing, it is essential that your site’s mobile version is appealing to crawlers.
The best way to achieve this is by ensuring that your images and website layout are responsive to the viewing device. While some website templates and builders automatically adjust image sizes, you can also customize your image size based on the device’s width by adding custom CSS code to your website.
9. Include Title Tags
To optimize your images for SEO, it is important to include title tags alongside alt tags. While alt tags are commonly mistaken for title tags, the latter does not replace images that cannot be shown. Instead, title tags appear when users hover over an image.
This means that title tags do not have to be focused on keywords, and can be used to communicate with users directly. You can use title tags to write photo captions or provide additional information about the image.
10. Use Captions to Describe an Image
The best practices for Image SEO suggest that using captions to describe an image can be beneficial. Captions are text blocks that provide context to the image and can be used to explain what the image represents or its purpose.
Captions can also include relevant keywords related to the image, which can help improve the image’s visibility in search results. Additionally, captions can help users who may be unable to see the image, such as those who are visually impaired, to understand the content of the image.
Overall, using captions to describe an image can enhance the image’s SEO and user experience, making it a valuable practice to consider.
11. Share Your Photos
Sharing your photos is important for SEO, as link building plays a significant role in the ranking of image-heavy pages, just like written content. The more high authority sites link back to your site, the greater your chances of achieving a higher ranking.
Therefore, it is beneficial to ensure that your content is seen and shared by as many people as possible. Having a large collection of original visual content can work in your favor, as images are highly shareable and more appealing to viewers than lengthy text.
Share your images on social media platforms, include links in newsletters and emails, and encourage your followers and friends to do the same.
Additionally, you can incorporate social sharing buttons on your website and blog to encourage site visitors to share your content. By sharing your photos, you can improve your site’s SEO and increase its visibility.
12. Use Unique Images
It is crucial to use original and unique images if you want your images to rank higher in search results, as Google and readers prioritize original content. This is especially important for ecommerce websites that use visuals of their products. As a matter of fact, 50% of online shoppers rely on images to make purchasing decisions.
If your image fails to accurately depict your product, it will be overshadowed by superior, higher-quality images from your competitors. To make your brand stand out in search results pages and increase the shareability of your images, consider using products like Canva to create in-house infographics, graphs, or animated images and Picsart’s background remover feature to enhance the product’s focus and eliminate distracting elements. You can also use an AI image generator to create specific and unique graphics that are more tailored to your needs.
By posting original images instead of stock photos, you can boost your website’s SEO and improve your online visibility.
In conclusion, optimizing images for SEO is an important aspect of creating a successful website. By following best practices such as properly naming and compressing images, using descriptive alt tags and captions, incorporating title tags, and sharing original images, you can improve the visibility of your website on search engine results pages.
Additionally, optimizing images can enhance user experience, particularly for those who may have difficulty viewing the images. By implementing these strategies, you can create a more engaging and effective website that will ultimately lead to better SEO results.