Images play a crucial role in making sure that your content is easy to access, looks more appealing, and engages your audience well. However, apart from all these, there is one aspect where it plays an equally important role, i.e., SEO.
For the starters, images provide search engines with more important contextual information. Secondly, optimized images boost your website loading speed, which in turn improves audience engagement and search engine rankings.
To ensure that your brand succeeds with SEO, you need to understand the image optimization basics.
The creation and delivery of original, high-quality images in the ideal size, format, and resolution to boost user engagement is called image optimization. It also includes labeling your images correctly so that the search engine crawlers can find and read them and comprehend the page’s context.
Images carry quite a lot of your total web page’s weight because they consume more bytes than any other page component. Therefore, the size and complexity of your images influence your website’s performance heavily.
Reducing the images’ size without compromising with its quality can speed up your page loading time as well as improve the experience of your site visitors. Slow loading pages are abandoned by most people and lead to a significant drop in conversions.
Better user experience and interactions with your website positively impact its SERP rankings, which furthermore boosts customer engagement, conversions, and customer retention rates.
Moreover, website backup becomes quicker as optimized images consume less storage space on servers.
So let’s dive into the details and explore how to optimize your images in nine simple steps.
Resize your images
A lot of people confuse image size and file size being the same thing. The image size can be defined as the dimensions of the image. It is written in the width x height format like 1024 x 768 pixels. File size can be described as the total space required to store it on the server like 550 KB.
Images that have bigger dimensions and higher resolution can significantly slow down your page loading speed. While they work excellent for printing purposes, you need to resize them without compromising too much with the quality so that they work well on the website too.
Choose the right image format
JPG, PNG, GIF, and SVG are all popular image formats with their own benefits. For images with lots of colors, JPG is recommended, while PNG works best for simpler images.
Pick the right compression rate
Compressing an image too much sure reduces its size, but the quality becomes poor too. On the other hand, the quality is great at a low compression rate, but the size remains huge.
Ideally, experimenting with your image file types and compression rates is the best way to find out what works best for each of them. Most image editing tools come with a “save for the web” option, which automatically reduces the file size and optimizes the image quality.
Test optimization for speed
Once you have optimized your images, how do you know if your website loading time is quick enough? Well, you can find out by using one of the many site speed testing tools available online.
Tip: Since the content of your website keeps changing often, it is best to keep an eye on your statistics and site performance regularly.
Pick the right image file names
Choosing the right file names for your images is essential for SEO and ranking higher in image search results. Therefore, before publishing any photo, name the file with relevant and descriptive keywords to optimize it for SEO.
Add the target keywords at the starting and separate them using hyphens instead of underscores as search engines don’t acknowledge them and won’t be able to see the words separately.
Also, make sure that the image file names make sense to both search engines as well as humans. For example, by default, the file name of the image of a woman shopping will be “shopping123.jpg.” Replace it with a precise and descriptive title like “woman-shopping-in-mall.jpg.”
Utilize alt tags
Visitors might realize what the image is about, but the search engine crawlers still require more hints. It almost becomes next to impossible for the search engines to index your image content precisely without an alt text. Moreover, a good alternative text also provides context and assists visually impaired visitors.
Even if the images fail to load due to some technical issues, search engines can still access the alt tags to rank your page in your SERPs. You can also include brand-related words to boost your visibility. Whatever you do, just stay clear of keyword stuffing. Incorporate more information here than you did in the image file name. Although there is no definite number of words, aim for 10-15 words to describe your image.
Optimize image title
For people who use WordPress, the image title is usually taken from the file name itself, so you can let it be. However, if you use some other platform or the title does not describe the image appropriately, then replace the name or just copy-paste the file name (the optimized one including proper keywords).
Image titles are not much important for SEO, but they do add more context to your alt tag. They are useful for user engagement. You should consider including a descriptive CTA like “buy now” or “download now.”
Image captions do not directly impact your SEO, but unlike alt tags and file names, they are visible on your web page. This is why they can enhance your user experience.
Most of the visitors are drawn to the image captions to get an insight into the whole content. If the visitors can’t find it there, it might lead to increased bounce rates, which can damage your website’s credibility with the search engine.
Use unique images
When it comes to improving your search rankings, you should definitely avoid using stock images simply because other websites utilize them too! So, they are doing no favor to you. Just like it is essential to write and publish your own unique, original, and quality content, it is vital to do the same with your images too.
Make sure your text complements your images
The copy on your webpage can assist search engines in determining how relevant your image is. If you feel it does not include enough information about the image, then add more relevant and descriptive text to describe your image accurately.
Incorporate image structured data
Incorporating image structured data to your webpages can help the search engines to show your images as rich results. Google Images, as of now, supports structured data for product images, videos, and food recipes.
For instance, if you have added food recipes on your website, you can add image structured data to let Google add a badge to your images displaying that they belong to a recipe. You can use Google’s Structured Data General Guidelines to find out how you can add structured data to your web pages within its parameters.
Use site maps
Think of a site map as a file where you can list your website’s pages to let Google and other search engines know your site’s content organization. In a nutshell, it is a file containing a map of your website’s content.
Site maps are a crucial part of SEO because they tell search engines about each and every web page on your site. Use site maps to make sure that the search engine crawlers notice every image on your website – be it an infographic, video thumbnail, GIF, photos, and so on.
If you are facing issues in getting your content noticed, these nine steps will help you. Keeping these steps in mind, you will be able to improve the visibility as well as likability of your image content not by just search engines but also by your website visitors.
So, go ahead and implement these tactics before publishing any image on your website. For better results, use these strategies on the pictures you have already posted on your site to make sure they are optimized too.
Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for E Global Soft Solutions. E Global Soft Solutions is a SEO, SMO, PPC, digital marketing and web development company that comes with massive experiences. We specialize in digital marketing, web designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.