The best image SEO tips will help SEO-optimize your website in order to rank higher on search engines.
It is no longer a secret that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is behind the success of engaging, well-crafted, and fast-loading content over the Internet.
Many marketers familiar with its importance know how they can master Google rankings with its effective implementation. However, SEO is not limited to articles on the Internet; it also includes image SEO.
Image SEO is an integral component of a website’s search engine optimization. It is a process through which Internet users look up high-quality images with the right size, format, and resolution based on what they type in the search bar.
Images play a vital role in attracting and engaging an increased number of visitors from search engines. Fast-loading sites with SEO-friendly images improve web traffic and user experience, eventually leading to higher conversions and customer retention. It not only improves search engine rankings but also makes better use of storage space over the server.
Image search on Google makes up 22.6% of all searches. You can attract more traffic to your website if you pay close attention to how you optimize your images for search engines.
So, how can you create and insert SEO-friendly images in your content?
Optimizing images for search engines is a craft that gets better with time. Images are often disregarded in favor of content, as most website owners don’t use editing tools to optimize the original image.
It’s normal to see an article 800px wide that includes images 1200px wide. To optimize images for SEO, you must know where your image will be published (in content or sidebar?) and have a basic knowledge of image editing.
Below, I share 9 image SEO best practices you can follow to help your images show up in Google and other search engines. By learning how to optimize images for SEO, you’ll get a better chance of ranking higher on Google, and you won’t overload your web host with unnecessary file sizes.
1. Use Unique Images
Nothing can beat original content; the same is true for images.
If you want to make your website stand out, use original and unique images. You often see websites flooded with the same images from stock photos. This leads to unoriginality and can affect how search engines rank your website.
When your website features more original and high-quality images, it has more chances to rank higher on search engines and get better engagement.
If you’re selling your own products, for example, your product images will be unique and will make you stand out. However, don’t just upload your images as they are. Make sure the image has the right dimensions and file name. This brings us to the next image SEO optimization tip—image resizing.
Large images with high resolution usually take up more space on a website and thus make web pages slow and less responsive. This can increase your website’s bounce rate and decrease its rankings on the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Hence, work on image and file size to make them SEO-friendly. Effective image SEO retains the correct image size without losing quality and resolution.
The layout of your website decides the correct image size. For instance, full-size slide shows use larger images than blogs and galleries. Similarly, social media platforms also use different image sizes depending on the nature of the platform.
You can use several tools to identify the correct dimensions, such as browser extensions like page ruler, to avoid slowing down your website and uploading incorrect image dimensions.
Similarly, you can use Photoshop or Canva to resize images to the appropriate resolution and file size. When using WordPress, you can resize the image with the help of a plugin—be sure to enable the resize feature before uploading the image.
People have the best user experience when they see websites on their mobile with responsive images. Fortunately, most website hosting services automatically make sure your images are mobile-friendly. This means you don’t have to worry about resizing your images for mobile.
If the default responsiveness settings are still not to your liking or you would like to add extra image features, you might need to hire a WordPress website development expert.
3. Compress The Images
All the images on your site should be compressed, although it’s not easy to maintain the quality of an image, as you have to balance both file size and resolution simultaneously.
- A highly compressed image has a small size but poor quality.
- Contrarily, an image with a low compression rate has a huge file size and high quality.
Experimenting with your image gives you a perfect image compression ratio with the right quality.
There are many image editing software to compress your images for SEO. Other image optimization tools include Pixlr, Affinity Photo, JPEG Mini, Kraken, Trimage, and Paint.NET.
If your website or blog is built on WordPress, you can use plugins like Rank Math, WP Smush, and TinyPNG for image optimization. And if you are facing issues with these plugins, you may contact a professional SEO services provider.
You shouldn’t have any issue optimizing your images for search engines as long as you are aware of what you want to post and how it needs to appear on the web page you are optimizing.
There is no one answer for the right image format; it depends on several factors, such as where you want to use the image.
Here’s a list of the most popular image formats used in web applications:
- PNG works well when you want a transparent background in the image.
- JPEG is compressible to small sizes and is suitable for just about any platform, but it can destroy pixels.
- SVG is suitable for logos and icons.
- WebP compresses the image more than other formats and supports animated graphics without losing image quality and color.
Naming the image file properly is as important for SEO as picking the right image. Adding images on WordPress is as easy as drag and drop. However, you should ensure every image on your website has a file name with relevant keywords.
Here are some best practices to optimize your image file name:
- Insert your target keywords.
- There’s no need to separate them with hyphens, as WordPress automatically replaces spaces with hyphens.
- Don’t use underscores, as search engines cannot recognize them and thus can identify words individually.
Remember that file names must make sense to humans and computers, in this case, search engines. For instance, while using an image of a cat in the garden, don’t just use “cat” or “feline” for naming the file. Instead, use more descriptive words such as “cat-sitting-in-a–garden.jpg.” for naming the file.
While WordPress fetches the image file name and uses it for the image title, alt text is far more important in terms of SEO, as that’s the information a browser displays if it can’t show the image.
Alternative text, alt text, or alt tags is the description of an image. It lets Google understand what the image is all about.
Users may understand the image’s content after viewing it, but search engines need clues to identify it. At this step, alt text helps search engines accurately index images where they belong by providing the subject matter of the image.
Google can’t rank images on its search results without optimized alt tags. Optimized alt text also provides context to the images and allows visually impaired users to access the content. It also helps rank a website even when it faces technical glitches in loading or becomes unresponsive.
Describe an image with descriptive alt text and insert important keywords. Don’t stuff it with keywords—it would do more harm than benefit. Ensure your image alt text provides relevant details about the image you use. As a general rule, stick to the limit of 125 characters or 10 to 15 words for the alt text.
Captions enhance the user experience while staying visible on a site. When visitors easily understand what your content is all about with the help of comprehensible and clear captions, they stay on site for a long time. It lowers the bounce rate, and most users pay attention to the images and their captions to grab the meaning and feel without reading the entire content.
Image captions are especially useful if you have a complex image. By writing a caption that is relevant to the image, you are giving Google and your readers another point of reference so they understand what it is you’re trying to show with your image.
Captions may not directly influence image SEO like alt text, but they help maintain the site’s credibility. As a result, your website retains better rankings on SERPs.
Sitemaps are crucial as they let search engines crawl to every detail about your site, including videos, thumbnails, photos, memes, and infographics.
Simply said, a sitemap is an XML file showing a map of your site’s content. It enlists web pages of your website to let search engines know about the arrangement of your site content.
To create sitemap entries for images, enter the title, description, caption, URL location, and license information. In the case of WordPress websites, you can easily insert multimedia content into your sitemap through Rank Math. Fortunately, Rank Math creates a sitemap automatically, so you won’t have to worry about this little technical image SEO aspect.
Image sitemap information allows you to specify which photos on your website you want Google to crawl and index, which helps Google identify images that we might not otherwise find.
9. Get Backlinks Through Images
Images are embeddable, meaning you can use images in blogs and infographics to create backlinks to your website. This can help you increase your website’s ranking on SERPs.
Infographics make it easier to explain complex concepts and present informative content about things Internet users may be looking for.
But creating such high-quality infographics and generating backlinks requires expertise you or your in-house marketing team may not possess. Hence, it would make sense to get in touch with a professional link building service provider such as Link Building HQ to get the job done right.
Experts in link building and content creation will help you better utilize this strategy and make your visual content more SEO-friendly.
Optimizing images for your website is crucial if you want to rank higher on Google image searches. And if you want your images to appear in Google image search results, be sure to follow the image optimization tips in this article.
These best image SEO tips will help your website load faster and ensure the images appear among the top searches when users select the image filter on search engines.