If you know the expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” but haven’t given it much thought yet, now is the time to do so. The internet has made it easier for people to find almost any type of information they need, be it written content or visual.
But, while a lot of people focus primarily on their written content and try to optimise it as well as possible, not many businesses understand the benefits that image optimisation can bring.
So, let’s see what image SEO is, and how you can properly optimise your images.
What Does SEO Image Mean And Why Is It Important?
Image SEO is the optimisation method that refers to the use of the best techniques to make your images catalogued, displayed, and accessed in various search results for a more relevant result. People who spend a lot of time on websites are likely to get bored quickly, have less ability to concentrate than before, and risk leaving your site because of the monotony with which you present your content. One way to keep readers engaged is by including relevant images and infographics.
How Search By Image Works
Search by Image analyses the image and tries to find the most distinctive colours, lines, textures, and points to create a specific query. The query is sent to Google and compared to millions of other images, and Google’s algorithm will return similar images on the search page.
Tips For A Properly Optimised SEO Image
- Follow the Traffic Generated by the Images
You’ll be amazed at how many visitors you already have thanks to google images search. You can track your organic search traffic by using the Search Console Performance report. You can also use the Referral report from Google Analytics.Their image search traffic is separated from the rest of the search traffic. The bar in which you will find this information is the one with Medium “google organic images”.
- Create Qualitative and Original Visual Content
Search engines reward quality websites, both because of the written content and the content of the images used. Try as much as possible to create your own photos and graphics, but if you don’t succeed, at least try to improve them a bit with various filters, cropping, or text to make them as unique as possible. Don’t forget about copyright in case you use someone else’s photos as Google is very strict about this.
- Use Appropriate Images
Search engines rank the images that are on the site that will meet the searcher’s purpose. Create images that are relevant to the theme of the pages, whether it’s a diagram or a picture.
- Use the Appropriate File Format
For good image optimisation, you should use the image file format that the engines can catalog. Not only that the file format will influence your ranking, but it can also affect the image quality or download speed.
The most used formats are : PNG (for screenshots or images with text), JPEG (for most photos), and GIF (to create animations).
- Don’t Forget to Optimise the Image Size
For each image, you need to find the optimal balance between minimum image size and maximum image quality. Large files take longer to load and will not only influence the quality of the image but the user experience too. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the image is – if the user loses his patience while waiting for it to load and exits your page, then that’s a lost opportunity. Try to compress the images to reduce their size without affecting the quality.
- Always Create ALT Attributes
Accessibility to all users matters a lot, especially in this day and age when exclusivity can make or break your business. Alt text makes a description of the image for the visually disabled which use screen readers and gives search engines valuable information about the content of the page.
- Create a Caption for the Image
In the picture caption add additional context and indicate here the source of the images if needed.
- Name the File Correctly
The name of the file helps search engines to understand the content of the image. Make sure to name the file in a descriptive way, such as “rose-photo.jpg” rather than IMG0789.
- Implement Structured Data
Google Images supports structured data tagging for videos, recipes, or products. If you use any of these tags in your content they will rank higher. If you add structured data to the HTML of the page the image engagement results will increase.
- Analyse the Content That Frames the Image
Pay attention to the text surrounding the image and whether it says anything about the context of the image the reader is looking at.
- Pay Attention to Embedded Text
Some search engines fail to scan the text in an image, so it is preferable to put any important text directly on the page. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use text directly on an image at all. Google Image Search can read the text on images, although OCR can sometimes make mistakes.
For the best image SEO it’s good to include descriptive text wherever you can, but don’t put too important information right on the images.
- Optimise Page Metadata
In most cases, google displays important information about your website in the search results. So don’t forget the metadata of the page, including the title and meta description as they can help give more context to the reader as well as help crawlers understand your visual content better.
- Make Sure Images Load Quickly
As mentioned earlier, image loading speed can greatly influence the user experience. And, if your users bounce quickly, then that will affect your SEO ranking too. To make your pages load fast, keep image sizes as small as possible, make images responsive (i.e. adapt to the reader’s device).
- Make Sure the Images Are Uncovered
Make sure your images can be accessed by search engines. If they can’t be accessed most of the time it’s because of robots.txt. Use the “Inspect URL” function found in Google Search Console to see if maybe that’s a reason why your images are performing so poorly. Images have their own URLs that can be catalogued, so make sure you use a proper 301 redirect in case you ever need to change the image URL.
- Create a Sitemap for the Image
As an extra tip, you can create an image sitemap that lists the image files on your webpage. You can create an XML sitemap just for images, or you can include it in your regular sitemap file.
Over to You…
SEO takes a lot of work and effort and in their pursuit to make their content search engine friendly, a lot of business owners forget that their visual content matters too. At Australian Internet Advertising, we are taking a holistic approach to SEO, and consider all the aspects that can influence your success.
Whether it’s your images, your social media strategy or the design of your site, all these aspects can make a difference in how your website ranks. Our approach has proven to be successful as we’ve helped countless businesses so far boost their rankings, reach a wider audience, and increase their sales. Whether you are a small or big company, we are confident that you can benefit from our expertise.
Get in touch with us now if you want to learn more about how we can help you grow your business.