It may sound cliché, but a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.
We are living in an increasingly visual world where the human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than text.
Adding relevant images to your website is one of the best ways to make it stand out.
Recently I had a conversation with an SEO expert regarding the importance of image optimization. As I love blogging, I decided to lock in the treasure of some valuable SEO image optimization tips in writing.
Google Likes Content with Images.
It’s no secret that Google likes pages that have images as it increases viewer engagement. Due to multimedia such as images and videos, people are likely to interact with your page longer, resulting in better search engine rankings.
But just adding images to your website is not all. You can’t overlook the importance of image optimization.
Why Is Image Optimization Important?
If you are a beginner and looking to launch a new website, the images you use should be optimized for search engines.
There are various places to acquire images for your website or blog. Still, you must ensure that only relevant ones are used in your content.
Finding images is one thing, and optimizing them is another. Without proper image optimization, you will waste a valuable SEO asset.
When you download an image with high resolution, it is usually large-sized. Large images can slow down your webpage loading time, resulting in poor user experience.
For optimizing your images, you can decrease the file size. Remember that you have to optimize the image in a way that the image quality doesn’t get affected.
I have listed 6 valuable tips to help you optimize images for SEO.
Tip# 1: Optimize Image File Name
Choosing the right file name for your image is essential. It is the first indicator of what your image is about. Before uploading any image, give a proper name to the file.
To optimize the image correctly, include the target keywords in the image file name.
However, remember the file name should make sense for search engines and humans.
Here are some examples of correct and incorrect image filenames
- Puppy-Eating-Biscuit. jpg (Correct)
- Puppies_Pupps_Doggie_123. Jpg (Wrong)
- Woman-Having-A-Hair-Cut (Correct)
- Women-cut1234 (Wrong)
You can clearly understand the difference. In the first example, the wrong image name doesn’t clarify if the picture is of a dog, puppy, or several puppies.
In the second example, the wrong image name may give the impression that a woman is being cut.
Don’t use keywords excessively. If you want to separate your keywords, then you can do it with hyphens, as Google doesn’t recognize underscores.
Tip# 2: Choose Right Format of Image
Page load time is important for any website. It is the most critical ranking factor, according to Google.
You might be thinking, what is the link between images and load time?
Often the images are the most abundant element in the overall page size. When the size of the entire web page is large, then it can take ages to load.
There are three major types of image files; JPEG, PNG & GIF. Each of them uses different compression methods. JPEG has the smallest file size with almost the same quality as the other file types.
These image formats have their own strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes to loading time, JPEGs are considered to be the best format for photos.
Usually, when you compress an image or change it’s format online, it changes the resolution of the image. You don’t have to do it online; you can change the format with suitable image editing applications.
Tip# 3: Use “ALT-Text” to Describe the Image
Occasionally, when you open a website and see an image container, generally, there is an image that cannot be displayed. Alt-Text is the text that is shown inside the image container in such cases, describing what the image is about.
Alt-text can be an alternative to the image title. It is a big help for visually impaired people who use screen readers. Reading this text helps them to understand the image.
Alt-text is good for overall on-page SEO. You can also include the keywords in alt-text, but make sure they are not included just for the sake of it.
They help you achieve a higher rank on Google. As it provides instant information about the image, it is easy for Google crawlers to detect when there is a user search.
You have to make sure that the image description is not too long and fits within the image, and it should be relevant.
For SEO purposes, you can also use it as the anchor text of an internal link.
Tip# 4: Descriptive Captions
You may have come across an image on Instagram with a brief description of the picture. Descriptive captions are similar to that.
Google extracts the information about the image from its content. This includes captions and image titles.
Captions are a text that gives a brief insight into the image. It is one of the best practices of image optimization.
They are usually mentioned below the images explaining the picture. According to the study by Poynter, captions get up to 16% more readership than text.
For SEO purposes, you can also use the focus keyword in the caption, but you must ensure it looks natural.
Images don’t always require a caption, but a little support can add value to your content. Do an audit of your website, and find the missing captions or alt text and fill them in for better ranking.
Tip# 5: Image Site Map
A site map is a file that contains the list of the content of your webpages.
Site maps are essential for SEO because, through them, search engines can get a clear view of all pages of your website. It ensures that search engine crawlers notice each content of your website.
You can add details about your images such as URL location, Thumbnail URL, raw video URL, caption, location, etc. You can visit this link to learn more about image site maps.
If you have a website hosted by WordPress, then don’t worry. Yoast SEO will automatically add the visual content like images, videos, GIFS, memes, etc. to the site map.
Tip# 6: Reduce File Size of the Image
As discussed earlier, if you have large file sizes, then the load time of your webpages will increase. This can lead to high bounce rates.
Though it is true, the JPEG images have small file sizes, but it is not always the case. It is a general rule that you should keep your largest image up to 2000 pixels maximum for high image quality and less file size.
For the best results or responsive website, you can decrease the file size of the image.
You can always compress the images for decreased file size. However, doing it online may lead to reduced quality. It’s better to reduce the file size by using image editing applications like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.
Tip# 7: Responsive Images
Responsive images don’t mean only for DESKTOP. In the world of technology, where there are many gadgets to access the web, you have to be careful while designing a website or adding an image.
Suppose you upload a 720 px wide image on your website and a person visits your site via mobile phone let’s say 320 px wide. The browser will load the 720px image because it is instructed to do so. It will be a waste of bandwidth, resulting in reduced loading speed that is not good for SEO.
You can use an HTML code called “srcset” that can tell the browser to load images in different versions according to the screen resolution.
To sum up, image optimization is one of the key factors for better search engine results. It can be a little time-consuming but trust me, they are a big boost for on-page SEO.
Do you follow any of these tips? Or if you think there is an important tip I missed out on, please feel free to comment.
Author – Amos Struck