Why is SEO for images important?
Search engines use a complex process to analyze and rank web content. Good SEO ensures your audience can quickly find you online. It is also one of the best ways to earn a top spot in search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you’re a business owner, you may think that SEO only applies to title tags, headers, and body content.
While optimizing these areas are important for SEO, they are not the only areas to focus on. Image SEO is also important as search engines cannot process images in the same way people can.
Getting your images ready for search engines is not difficult if you understand how the process of SEO image optimization works.
Image SEO refers to optimizing your images in order to improve your position in search engine results. This, in turn, can lead to more visitors coming to your site.
What are the most important factors to consider to make sure your images are easily found and don’t slow down your website?
1. File type 2. Naming your image files 3. Image size 4. Sprites 5. Using a content delivery network 6. Lossless compression 7. Optimize images for faster loading 8. Use the correct file format 9. Resize large images 10. Crop images for faster loading 11. Use a up-to-date file format 12. Convert images to the correct file format 13. Use an image processing tool 14. lossless compression 15. Use an image management plugin Here are 15 important tips for optimizing your images: 1. Make sure to use the correct file type for your images (.jpg, .png, .gif, etc.) 2. Name your image files appropriately (use relevant keywords, etc.) 3. Make sure your images are the correct size (not too large or small) 4. Use image sprites whenever possible 5. Make sure to use a content delivery network for your images 6. Use lossless compression for your images 7. Optimize images for faster loading 8. Use the correct file format for your images 9. Resize large images 10. Crop
Know your keywords and keyword phrases
When optimizing images for SEO, be sure to research the key search terms people use to find you online. If you’re already familiar with the keywords for which you rank, that’s excellent – you’ll already know which keywords to include.
Use a keyword research tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to figure out which keywords relate to your business. This will help you determine the best keywords to use for your images.
Follow best practices for naming images for SEO
We understand that it can be tempting to use the standard title your camera gives images, or something simple like “image2.jpg.” However, this is not ideal because search crawlers analyze image filenames. This means your image filenames should accurately describe their content.
The file name of an image should include relevant keywords. However, don’t use random keywords in an attempt to improve image SEO rankings. Keyword stuffing is not a good idea, as a search engine might not immediately identify that the description is irrelevant.
Choose the right format
It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which image file type to use. But it’s important to choose the right one before adding images to your website.
There are many image formats, but PNG and JPEG are the two most common formats for images on the internet.
- PNG: Produces better quality images, but comes with larger file size.
- JPEG: You may lose image quality, but you can adjust the quality level to find a good balance.
- WebP: Choose lossless or lossy compression using this, the only image format supported by both Chrome and Firefox.
PNG is the best image format and should be used more often. It is better than WebP and other formats.
Google’s systems can’t index .jpg images used inside an inline SVG format.
Compress your images
Yep, a bloated web page is really angry after you upload an image that’s not compressed.
Search engines view your web page in a negative light if it is full of low-quality content.
Images make up on average 21% of a total webpage’s weight, according to HTTP Archive.
I strongly suggest compressing your pictures before you add them to your website. You can do this either in Photoshop, or by using a TinyPNG.
The TingPNG website also offers a WordPress plugin.
I prefer WP Smush because it reduces the image file size without removing any quality.
Enjoy a faster site by choosing a plugin that compresses images on an external server. This also reduces the demand on your server. Another option is to use an image CDN that checks the device being used and then optimizes the image for that device. two possible CDNs are Cloudinary and Imgix.
Increasingly.com was able to reduce website loading time by 33% and 2 seconds by compressing images.
There is something appealing about having a faster page speed when you compress your images.
If you want to know if your images are slowing down your page, Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is a good way to find out.
Create unique images
You want your photos to be eye-catching on your website. If you use a lot of generic stock photos, your site will look unoriginal compared to the thousands of other sites out there.
There are too many websites that use the same generic stock photos.
While all these websites may use the same stock image of a businessman smiling, they each have their own unique customer service that they pride themselves on.
Although you may have your stock images perfectly optimized, they won’t have the same impact or SEO potential as an original, high-quality image.
The better your odds are of ranking on relevant searches if you have more original pictures. It also creates a better experience for the user.
If you want your images to be featured in Google Discover, make sure they are large.
According to Google’s Advanced SEO resource, images should be at least 1200 pixels wide in order to be properly displayed. Additionally, the ‘max-image-preview’ setting should be enabled, or the image should be using AMP.
Do not use your logo as the image.
Beware of copyright
Be sure that the image files you choose to use don’t have any copyright issues.
The Postal Service is being sued for $3.5 million for copyright infringement. Skechers is also being sued for $2.5 million for copyright infringement.
If you use an image without a license from a stock photo provider, you could be sued for a lot of money.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act states that if you violate any copyright issues, you could be issued a notice. If the owner of a piece of content sees their content on your website, they can issue a DMCA Takedown notice, which you must comply with.
Include images in sitemaps
Since search engines can’t read visuals, it’s important to include as many clues as possible about what they contain. Google suggests creating image sitemaps to make sure your images are getting published.
You should follow the instructions for publishing images online in order for them to rank well in search engines.
Optimize image alt tags
Images cannot be processed by search engines in the same way as the human brain. They depend on ‘alt tags’ to identify what is being shown. All the images on your website should have individual ‘alt tags’ which describe them, and many of these should include keywords.
They also help users who can’t see your images understand your pages better.
Be sure to add alt tags to all images on your website as part of your SEO image optimization efforts. Although it may be time-consuming to add tags to images that were originally uploaded without them, doing so will improve your website’s SEO.
Hopefully, all browsers are able to display your images.
The alternative text (alt text) is displayed if the image can’t be displayed for some reason. It is also displayed when the user hovers their mouse over the image.
Use as few words as possible to accurately describe your images when writing alt tags. If the image is relevant to the keywords for the page it is on, include those keywords.
Even though alt tags are important, you should never stuff them with keywords. If you do, search engines will eventually catch on and your SEO will suffer in the long run.
Think about the image file structure
Google updated its Image Guidelines to include ranking images based on the file path and file name.
The file path and file name are actual ranking factors.
If you manage an eCommerce brand with multiple products, I would recommend that you categorize your subfolders by topic, rather than placing all your product images in a generic /media/ folder. For example, subfolders could be titled /shorts/ or /denim/ instead.
Optimize your page title & description
Your page title and description are used as part of Google’s image search algorithm.
According to the Google support page, the company gets its information from various sources, including the titles and meta tags of each web page.
Google ranks your images based on all of your basic on-page SEO factors like metadata, header tags, copy on the page, structured data, etc.
If you want your image to rank better, add guacamole. It will make it taste better, just like putting all the toppings on your burrito.
Define your dimensions
If you are using AMP or PWAs, you must define your image dimensions in the source code.
If you’re not using a width or height, it’s best to still define them. It gives the user a better experience.
Additionally, this allows browsers to size images before CSS is loaded, preventing pages from jumping upon loading.
CLS issues can interfere with your Core Web Vitals optimization if image dimensions are not set properly.
Including width and height attributes for image and video elements is crucial.
This specifies to the browser how much space should be allocated for the resource, which prevents content from shifting and lowers your CLS score.
Write body content
Alt tags are important, but they don’t give search engines a lot of information. You should write body content to give them context.
If the idea of writing copy for your website fills you with dread, you’re not alone. Many site owners who have a lot of images on their site don’t like the idea of spending time writing text. However, many photographers (and other professionals) solve this problem by adding blogs to their sites.
If you want to incorporate keywords into your site in a more natural way, try writing a detailed blog post about an event you photographed, like a wedding. This way, you can use your keywords throughout the post, and it will also make your site more personable.
You should keep in mind that your images and text should be closely related. If your site consists of interior design photos but you have a lot of text about water skiing, it will only confuse the search engines.
Don’t hide your text with images
Covering up header text in an attempt to use an image in its place is considered a black-hat SEO tactic and will be met with penalties.
If you want to use an image for your header, be sure to label it appropriately so you can get the SEO benefits of optimized images.
Share your photos
The better your chances of ranking well are if you have more links from high authority sites. So it’s good to try to get as many people as possible to see and link to your content.
Including lots of original visual content on your website or blog helps because images are more appealing to viewers than large blocks of text. This means that people are more likely to share your images. You can share your images on social media, include links to them in newsletters and other email correspondence, and ask your followers and friends to do the same. You can also add social sharing buttons to your website or blog so that people visiting your site can share your content easily.
Make your images mobile-friendly
Mobile SEO can have negative impacts such as a high bounce rate and low conversions, but it can also have positive impacts such as more ranking power and better user engagement.
What is the problem? How do you ensure your images work well with the mobile-first index?
Luckily, Google offers guidance on best practices for images.
You should create responsive images, so that they can adjust to the size of the device.
Mozilla provides a guide on how to use the srcset and sizes attributes to give the browser more information on the source images, so that the same image can be displayed in different sizes depending on the device.
It is important to format this with a different part of the attribute value on each line, as demonstrated in this example from their resource:
sizes=”(max-width: 600px) 480px,
alt=”Elva dressed as a fairy”>