SEO or search engine optimization is a lot more than what meets the eyes. If you sit with an SEO expert while they optimize your website, you will be amazed at the kind of keyword opportunities they find on one single web page.
From finding a keyword-rich domain name on a new domain extension such as .tech, .store, .online, etc. to optimizing the headings (H1 H2 H3) in your content – you’ve probably done it all. Now, let’s find out what images can do for your website’s SEO and how to use image optimization to grow your website’s traffic.
Visuals form a crucial part of your brand’s identity. In fact, high-quality, well-styled photographs clicked by professional photographers have always been among the most effective ways for brands to express and market themselves.
However, publishing great images is one thing, and making sure people are finding them is quite another. We all know how compressing images is essential to maintain an acceptable website loading speed. But that’s not the only way to or reason for optimizing images.
Image searches work a little differently. Google will show more search results for an image search than a regular search. People tend to scan through more images than links because it takes less than a second to view an image. Moreover, for certain searches, Google will include image results on the main search page, for instance, when you search for a city or a celebrity.
In conjunction with your web pages, optimizing your image is a simple yet great opportunity to drive more relevant organic traffic to your website. If this isn’t something you have thought of before, now is a good time to start with these seven easy tips.
Tip 1: Think about the file name
Someone who isn’t well-versed with SEO may think that the name of your image file doesn’t matter. After all, no website visitor is ever going to be able to see it. So why spend time renaming it?
Well, search engines pay heed to how your files are named. When evaluating image search results, Google will match the name of your image file to the search query to determine its relevance. A default filename such as DSC3344.jpg or IMG9795.png communicates nothing about the image. But a descriptive and keyword-rich filename adds meaning to it.
Points to remember when coming up with a file name:
- Think about specific words that reflect the contents of the image. For instance, blue-jeans-white-shirt, sugar-free-icing, kayaking-lake-ontario.
- Consider the search results you want your image to show up in. For instance, italy-vacation-rome, exercise-yoga-mat.
Tip 2: Write descriptive alt text
Alt text is similar to the title but provides more room to be descriptive and target keywords. Alt text is meant to communicate what your image is about. You need to write it in a way that if someone cannot see a particular image, they can tell exactly what’s in it by reading the alt text.
For instance, instead of <img src=”party-outfit-1.jpg” alt=”party outfit”/>, the alt text could be <img src=”party-outfit-1.jpg” alt=”party outfit black dress”/>.
The more relevant and descriptive your alt text is, the better understanding search engines will have of your image.
These images also have the potential to rank higher in image searches and boosting your website’s overall SEO. However, you need to avoid alt text that is too long and stuffed with keywords as that can lead to your image getting flagged as spam.
Tip 3: Compress your images
Typically, the larger the image size, the better the quality. However, large images can take up a lot of storage space on your server and increase your website’s loading time. On average, images take up 21% of a web page’s weight and that can be detrimental to your online presence.
Does that mean we compromise on image quality and upload only small images? No.
Fortunately, there is a way around it. There are several tools like Photoshop, Skitch, Optimizilla, and TinyPNG that can compress your images in terms of file size but retain their quality.
If your website is experiencing a long loading time, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to determine if your images have anything to do with it.
Tip 4: Use original images
Sometimes, using stock images is inevitable, and that’s okay. But if you make a habit of using them, the look of your website is going to suffer.
Stock images are, by nature, generic. They are meant to be used by everyone, but that’s not what you want for your website.
For your brand, you need images that are classy and on-brand. Original images are not just imperative for a good online reputation, they also have several SEO benefits.
SEO benefits of original images:
- An improved user experience courtesy of unique, high-quality, and relevant images.
- Possibilities of backlinks and citations on reputable and authoritative websites.
- Higher SERP rankings because Google always prioritizes the original source of an image when it’s been used on a number of pages.
Tip 5: Incorporate LSI keywords
Just like the rest of your content, images too can have primary and secondary keywords. The primary keyword is what you include in the title and the alt text. The secondary keywords or the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are other words related to the primary subject matter of your image.
For instance, the title of a shoe image may be ‘sports shoes’ but you may also want your image to show up in search results for ‘running shoes’ and ‘sneakers’.
Essentially, LSI is the algorithmic process used by search engines to connect semantically related terms in order to churn out better search results. By using LSI keywords, you are signalling the relevance of your images for a variety of related searches and encouraging search engines to send more organic traffic to your website.
If you don’t know what related keywords to use for your images, you can use tools like Google Ads and the LSIGraph as well as Google’s related searches.
Tip 6: Try your hand at infographics
The human brain is able to process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. If you want to assimilate your entire story into a powerful and easy-to-consume visual, an infographic is the way to do so.
Infographics are self-sufficing content pieces as compared to traditional images that usually support a textual story.
SEO benefits of high-quality infographics:
- They are unique to the creator, which means lesser competition in search results.
- They add a rich aesthetic appeal to your content, helping it rank higher.
- They help attract more traffic in terms of people who prefer visuals over text.
- They simplify complex information, which also improves your content’s ranking.
- They help improve your backlink portfolio as they are often used by other websites to support their own content.
How to create valuable infographics that enhance your content and boost SEO:
- Think of a topic that can be easily explained through a visual. If your topic requires too much text, it might not look good in infographic.
- Use colors, typography, and other design elements that reflect your brand.
- Structure the information in a logical flow. Start with the problem, followed by the solution, and then a conclusion.
- Support your claims through statistics from reliable sources.
- Leave enough whitespace so that the design looks clean and can be read easily.
Tip 7: Add Schema markup
Schema markup helps your content rank as a rich snippet in search results and it can also be applied to images.
When you add schema markup to your images, Google shows them with a badge that provides valuable information about your content.
For now, Google Images provides schema markup for recipes, products, and videos. When these badges are attached to your image’s search result, they let users identify the content related to the image.
For instance, if you want to know what a creme brulee looks like, you will go to Google Images and search for creme brulee. If an image appears with a ‘Recipe’ tag, you will know that clicking on the image link will take you to a creme brulee recipe. In this manner, you can help users find more relevant content and drive higher-quality traffic.
Optimizing images is a rather straightforward process and works in a similar fashion to optimizing other content.
However, you need to remember that there is no substitute for quality. Even well-optimized images can turn traffic away if they are not meaningful and pleasing.
You need to focus on creating the best visuals and then apply these tips to get them more attention on search engines.