Important Image SEO Tips You Need to Know
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Important Image SEO Tips You Need to Know
SEO (search engine optimization) involves a lot of different parts. For busy business owners that know SEO is important (you’ve undoubtedly heard it enough times), it can be tempting to skip some of the smaller steps involved in on-site SEO.
But every little thing you can do to strengthen your website’s SEO makes a difference — especially if it’s something other sites may be overlooking.
Taking time to optimize your images for SEO is a simple and vital step to making your website more competitive in search engines. Unfortunately, it’s the kind of little thing many businesses let slip through the cracks, which is precisely why doing it can give you a competitive advantage in snagging your target keywords in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
And as with many SEO best practices, most steps involved in image SEO also improve the visitor experience. So the work you put into it won’t just increase the chances people can find your site. It will also mean they like it more once they’re on it.
So much of how we understand SEO is all about text and keywords, but images have a role to play. For one thing, they’re a massive part of the user experience.
Think about it: if you found yourself on a webpage that looked like a Word doc with nothing but the text on a white background, you wouldn’t feel like the website was trustworthy or memorable.
Over the years, researchers have conducted studies that confirm visuals help people process information faster and remember it more effectively. That means images can make your website content more powerful and engaging.
Images are a big part of how we experience a web page. That matters for SEO because Google’s algorithm pays attention to behavioral metrics that reflect user experiences, like bounce rates and the amount of time visitors spend on a web page.
And images can also be optimized to more directly boost SEO as well. For example, where most visitors to your page will only see the image itself, search engine crawlers see the text behind the image that you can fill in to tell them what you want them to see.
Follow these tips to optimize the images on your website for search engines.
This is crucial for the user experience side of SEO. An image that’s unrelated to the content on the page will be confusing for the user, and one that’s blurry or badly cropped will make your page look bad and unprofessional. So make sure every image you use has a clear relationship to what’s on the page and looks good.
You have to be careful not to use any images that you don’t have the right to, but you can find lots of resources online that provide free photos businesses can use. And DIY design tools like Canva now make creating original graphics affordable, fast, and easy, even for non-designers.
Commit some time for each page you create and blog post you publish to figuring out at least one good image to include – bonus points if you can find a few.
This is one of those steps that’s so easy it’s amazing everyone doesn’t do it.
Before you add an image to your website, take time to customize the filename. Change it to something relevant to the image and, if possible, includes one of your target keywords for the page. For example, if your web page is about a backpack product you sell, the image could be named brand name-backpack.jpg.
Most visitors will never see the filename, but it gives you a way to provide the search engines a little more information about what’s on the page and the best keywords to associate with it.
This is another part of the webpage that most visitors won’t see, but search engine crawlers do. You can provide alt text for every image you add to your website that will show up in place of your image if a browser has trouble loading it or if a visitor uses a screen reader.
This text is one more part of the page that you can use to signal to search engines what the page is about. Continually update the alt text for your images. Include your primary keyword for the page and something descriptive of the image itself. If you use WordPress, there’s an alt text field you can fill in to do this.
Captions are yet another text field you have the option to include for each image on your website, but this time it is one that your visitors can see. When it makes sense, use the caption field to explain the image or provide further information about it to the viewer.
Image captions can potentially be one more opportunity to include your target keyword on the page, but don’t force it. Instead, only have a caption if there’s a natural way to do so that won’t take away from the visitor’s experience.
Adding captions is a good idea in general, but there’s no one clear rule for how best to use them. In some cases, captions can be an excellent opportunity to add a little personality or insert a joke. If that improves the user experience more than adding in your keyword would improve your SEO, it’s the better option. Use your best judgment here.
You do the hard work of finding or creating an image, and the next step is to load it to your site, right? Not quite yet.
Often, the file size of an image is much larger than it needs to be for the size it will show up on your website. Taking a few seconds before you load it to reduce the file size can ensure it won’t slow your website down. Site speed is an SEO ranking factor, so if your visitors have to wait a while for a page on your site to load, it isn’t good for the user experience and your SEO.
If you use a CMS like WordPress, resizing how an image appears on your website after you load it to the CMS is super easy – but it means that you still have the large file size that slows things down on the backend.
You can make your website faster while still displaying images at a high resolution by resizing your image files before loading them to your website. Often this is easy to do with programs that come standard on most computers, like Mac’s Preview program or Microsoft Paint. Or, if you have Adobe Photoshop, you can use the “Save for Web” command to help you find the smallest file size that still provides a good resolution.
Always use images
Images, when used correctly, will help readers better understand your article. The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” probably doesn’t apply to Google, but it’s certainly true when you need to spice up 1,000 dull words, illustrate what you mean in a chart or data flow diagram, or make your social media posts more enticing.
It’s a simple recommendation: add images to every article you write to make them more appealing. What’s more, since visual search is getting increasingly important — as seen in Google’s vision for the future of search — it could turn out to provide you with a nice bit of traffic. And if you have visual content, it makes sense to put image SEO a bit higher on your to-do list.
A while ago, Google Images got a brand-new interface with new filters, metadata, and even attribution. These cool new filters show that Google increasingly knows what’s in an image and how that image fits into the larger context.
It’s always better to use original images – photos you have taken yourself – than stock photos. Your team page needs pictures of your actual team, not this dude on the right or one of his stock photo friends. Off-topic: also, this dude needs a haircut.
Your article needs an image relevant to its subject. If you’re adding a random photo to get a green bullet in the Yoast SEO plugin’s content analysis, then you’re doing it wrong. The image should reflect the topic of the post or have illustrative purposes within the article. Also, try to place the image near the relevant text. If you have the main image or an image that you’re trying to rank, try to keep that near the top of the page if that’s possible without feeling forced.
There is a simple image SEO reason for all of this: an image with related text ranks better for its optimized keyword. But we’ll discuss image SEO later on in this article.
If you don’t have any original images you can use, there are other ways to find unique images and still avoid stock photos. Flickr.com is an excellent image source, for instance, as you can use Creative Commons images. Just remember to attribute the original photographer. We also like the pictures provided by sites like Unsplash. We have a blog post that gives you an excellent overview of where to get great images. Steer clear of the prominent stock photos, and if you are using stock photos, pick the ones that look (ok, just a bit) more genuine. But whatever you use, you’ll probably find that images with people in them always look like stock photos unless you took the images yourself, which (in our opinion) is always the best idea.
Image optimization tools
- Affinity Photo
- Pixlr (JPEG optimization)
- ImageOptim (Mac only)
- Kraken (bulk compression)
- JPEG Mini
- Yoast SEO
- EWWW Image Optimizer
- WP Smush
- Optimus Image Optimizer
After you’ve optimized your images, how do you know whether your website page loading times are quick enough? Use one of the following tools to test your site speed:
- Google PageSpeed Insights
As your website and content change frequently, it’s a good idea to keep checking your stats over time.
The process search engines use to analyze and rank web content is a complex process. 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).
As you optimize your content for the Internet, we hope you’ll also consider SEO for images. It’s a bit time-consuming, but the SEO benefits are worth the effort as you extend your reach and strengthen your reputation online.
If you still aren’t sure how to do SEO for your images or any other aspect of your site, we’re happy to help! So contact us today to start attracting more traffic and leads, or check out our complete guide to this area of SEO.
If you’re like many business owners, you may think that SEO only applies title tags, headers, and body content.
While these are some of the most critical places to do SEO, they aren’t the only ones. Search engines cannot process images the same way people can, and image SEO is the only way to make sure that they can understand.
Although the process of SEO image optimization takes a little know-how, it’s relatively straightforward to get your images ready for search engines.
Image SEO is another step toward improving your position in search engine results, and as a result, attracting more visitors to your site.
Should you need help in image optimization for your website, give RapidPage.ca a call today.
Article compiled by RapidPage.ca
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