If you’re not already optimising your images for SEO, then you are not leveraging all the possible ways you can help your website rank high in search engine results.
Let’s look at the numbers for a second:
Mobile search for “image search” grew by 60% in the last few years. 36% of consumers have done a visual search and 62% of Millennial consumers say that they do a visual search when they are looking for technological products.
As you can see, visuals won’t only make your content more appealing and engaging, but users are actually looking for images online. And, because users care about visual content, then Google pays attention to it too and takes it into consideration when deciding where to rank your site.
But, how exactly do images affect your SEO? And, what can you do to help your images rank high in the search engines?
In this article, we’ll give you a few tips to make sure your images are as effective as possible.
What Is Image SEO?
Let’s talk about image SEO. Optimising images makes it easier for search engines to “see” an image, thus increasing the chances of ranking higher in Google and other search engines. This can mean adjusting elements like image size, page load times, and image type as well as optimising your keywords and the alt tags.
So, simply put, image SEO is the process of optimising your images so that they are more visible to the search engines. But, why do you need to optimise your images for SEO? And, do you need to do it with every image on every blog post?
Let’s find out!
The Importance of Image SEO
It should go without saying that adding quality images to your website is paramount if you want to make it visually appealing and engaging. Visual content can help your brand stand out and become memorable. It can also draw in targeted visitors and boost sales.
Image SEO can also significantly improve image search traffic and boost your conversion rate. Here’s an example: imagine you created a very in-depth article about how to choose the correct ski boot size and added lots of infographics and images to help readers better understand the steps they need to take and the details they need to pay attention to. This can make readers spend more time reading the article, clicking through the images, and possibly converting.
The Most Popular File Formats and Which One Should You Choose
There are several popular image file formats that you can effectively use on your website. However, they are not all created equal and come with certain advantages and disadvantages.
Here are the most popular formats for web images with their benefits and downsides:
A JPEG is a common format for photos, especially those that are smaller in size. These files have become extremely popular due to their small size requirements, making them the ideal format to email, post online, or display on your phone.
While the JPEG does offer a wealth of features and is popular, it’s not without its shortcomings. JPEG is a lossy data compression algorithm, meaning that images can lose some quality depending on your settings. JPEGs are not suitable if sharp edges are important in your image, if you need to use text, or if you would like to use the image in animation.
GIFs are a type of image format used to display small graphical images. They come in a variety of sizes and colours, along with a wide range of animation speeds. One major benefit of using GIFs is the ability to control transparency.
GIFs are an ideal choice for photographs, as they cannot render more than 256 colours. The file size is also large.
PNG stands for Portable Network Graphic. It was designed to be the modern alternative to the JPEG and GIF images. This file type offers a fully compatible, high-quality image. PNGs are ideal for logo files, as they preserve an image’s transparency.
This image file format is not supported by some web browsers and cannot be animated. Also, PNGs are a better alternative for small images, rather than large files.
Optimising Images for SEO
We all know Google image search has really improved recently in recognising what’s in an image and contextualising it. However, Google can’t do it all for you and it’s not a good idea to solely rely on the algorithm. Don’t leave your image’s story to chance. Make sure you provide context for every image and tell Google everything it needs to know.
Here are a few things to consider:
Text close to images helps search engines figure out what the image is about. This will benefit both user experience and SEO.
First thing first, captions should be relevant. In order to ensure that your images provide maximum impact, it’s important to make sure that the captions you choose are not only informative but also appealing.
The alternative text is the descriptive text for an image. It should briefly describe the image to search engines and users. The alt text appears in place of actual images when they cannot be displayed. It is a handy tool in making your site search engine and screen reader-friendly.
You should add alt text to all the images you publish on your website. It’s always a good idea to include keywords or phrases that are relevant to the page. Alt text should be written for humans and be as descriptive as possible.
This text will be shown when a user hovers over an image. The title tag is not a requirement and most people just copy the alt text. Others choose to ignore it altogether.
If you choose to write the title tag, make sure you describe the image in a concise and clear way and include relevant keywords.
Improve Image SEO with Site Maps
Google crawls the web constantly. If you want your images included in their search results, they need to be included in the Google index. One way you can fast-track Google’s process is by creating an image sitemap.
Sitemaps have been integrated into every modern website to aid search engines. The sitemap helps the crawlers get an overview of your content, so Google can index it. As the size of your website increases, make sure your content can be easily found by search engine crawlers.
A sitemap is an XML file you can use to tell search engines about pages on your site, and the complex links between them. This document also describes the internal links between your site’s pages and its video and images.
Pay Attention to the Loading Times
Slow-loading web pages can result in lowered ranking in search results, fewer sales, and fewer visitors. Users are getting more impatient with slow-loading pages so not improving your site’s speed can make you lose prospects and your ranking too.
Preparing your visual content properly is a key factor in speed and performance. With image optimisation, you can shave seconds off your page load time. But, it’s not enough to focus just on optimising the images you use in posts and pages. The images on your site’s home page, call-to-action banners, and other areas with visual content will also impact how visitors view your website.
Reducing the file size will help ensure that your website loads quickly, and can have a big impact on your SEO rankings.
Improving Page Speed
There are many things you can do beyond image optimisation if you want to improve page speed. Here are a few things to consider:
Use a Content Delivery Network
The CDN is a vast system of servers and data centres all over the world. This network acts as a buffer between your website and the user, speeding up your site and making it available no matter where in the world your readers are located. Serving your content through a CDN is beneficial to your users, as page speed will improve significantly.
Use Browser Caching
When you use browser caching, any images that are used across multiple pages of a website will be cached which means they will load faster. This is especially useful if you have an image in your site’s header or footer, for example. These images should be cached so that users can load your website faster.
Use Lazy Loading for Images
Optimising images for slow mobile networks, using progressive rendering techniques and lazy loading images can help to improve page load performance for your users.
Delay loading images until they’re in the viewport and rendered by the browser. This means that all images below the fold will start loading when the page is still visible to the user, and speed up the rendering of your page.
Your images will only start loading once they are needed. This means users start seeing content that they came for, much more clearly.
Tools to Help You Improve Your Site’s Performance
You can use tools to improve the performance of your website. These tools will analyse the images you’re currently using and give you strategies on how to make them faster. Most of the time, you will be able to decrease page load times by a few significant seconds.
Website Speed Test uses a variety of tools to analyse the images on your site and give you an overall grade of your image quality.
GTmetrix is a free and fast tool that analyses web page performance. Find out what to fix for fast web page loading speed and get more insights on critical factors affecting your website experience.
TinyPNG Analyzer displays the size of your images so you can view them before uploading. It also provides the optimal compression settings so your image will be as small as possible without losing quality.
In this article, we have shared a few image optimisation techniques with you in the hope that by the time you finish reading this, you’ll have a solid understanding of what optimising an image for search engine results pages means.
At Australian Internet Advertising, we understand that the improvement of search engine ranking is a complex and demanding task. For more than a decade, we have been building a reputable business, offering a wide range of SEO services to create an effective and beneficial presence. We’re passionate about what we do and driven to help our clients grow.
If you are looking for genuine, honest, hardworking SEO services in Sydney, you’ve come to the right place. With experienced consultants on the team, you can be sure that your strategy will be tailored to your business goals, that it will be effective, and that you’ll get the best results possible. Call us today for an SEO strategy that works.