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If you have been involved in SEO or Search Engine Optimization for a while, you know how important it is to improve the content on a website. But did you know that it is super important to optimize the images on your website? In this blog article, I will explain,

  • What is Image SEO
  • Importance of Image SEO
  • How to optimize images for SEO
  • Image SEO best practices

What is Image SEO?

According to a study done by Optinmonster, online content that incorporates images attracts up to 94% more views than content without images. That proves how important it is to add images on your site to get more visibility for your content.

Just adding images will not give the results you expect from them. These images should contribute to your other SEO efforts as well. That’s where Image SEO comes to help you. 

Image SEO is all about optimizing the images on your website so search engines can easily understand and find them. Image SEO helps to improve the visibility and rankings of your content on Google and other search engines.

Even though many website owners overlook Image SEO, it is still a worthy SEO tactic. In fact, using image content in the wrong way can stop your web pages from getting a higher rank in search results.

The Importance of Image Optimization for SEO

If you are curious why you need to invest your time and effort in image SEO, the below reasons will answer your questions.

1.Help search engines to understand your content

When you optimize the images on your site, it helps search engines like Google to find and understand your images. Search engines love optimized pictures and show them for relevant search queries. It’s a great opportunity to increase the visibility of your web page.

2.Faster loading speeds

When you optimize the images on your site, they load faster. Faster loading is essential as it is one of the ranking factors of Google.

Images that are not optimized can slow down your website and negatively impact your search engine ranking. Plus, when your website takes forever to load, that doesn’t give a good impression to the website visitors. So, make sure to optimize your images to provide a positive user experience.

3.More relevant search results

Search engines started to index images on your site. That means, if you have well-optimized images, those can appear in search engine results pages alongside the text-based results. That way you can drive more traffic to your website.

4.Increased engagement

It’s in human nature to engage more with image content than text content. When your website visitors see high-quality images that are relevant to them, they are more likely to stay longer on your site.

This can lead to reduced bounce rates and potentially more conversions.

Effective image SEO not only helps search engines understand and index your images but also improves page load speeds and user engagement, all of which contribute to better search engine rankings and a more successful website.

Where do the images appear in search results?

A well-optimized image can appear in search engine results pages (SERP) and attract valuable clicks from potential customers. In fact, many people straightly go to the image section on Google to find what they need. Here is how the image section looks like,

What is image SEO

Plus, billions of people search using Google Lens every month and it provides results like this,

Google Lens

How to Optimize Images for SEO | Image SEO Best Practices

Now let’s see how to optimize images for SEO with these effective image SEO best practices.

1.Select the right image format

Google can index below image formats below,

  • PNG
  • JPEG
  • WebP
  • SVG
  • BMP
  • GIFs

Choosing the right image format is essential for effective SEO. Here’s a breakdown of the different formats:

JPEG: Ideal for screenshots, blog post images, and situations where fast loading times are crucial due to its compression capabilities.

PNG: Offers better quality and resolution than JPEG but results in larger file sizes, potentially slowing down page load times. Suitable if you prioritize image quality over speed.

WebP: Provides excellent compression without losing image quality. It’s perfect for optimizing page loading speeds and reducing bandwidth usage. WebP supports both animated GIF and PNG’s transparent backgrounds.

SVG: Best for icons and logos as it can scale to any size without losing quality.

The best format for you depends on your specific needs: the type of images on your site, your preference for speed versus quality, and the desired user experience. Each format has its strengths, so choose based on what aligns best with your goals.

2.Add descriptive file names for your images

Google uses image file names to understand the content and relevancy of images. So, it is better to use descriptive file names for the images you add to your website.

For example,

✅ beach-sunset.jpg

❌ beautiful-beach-sunset-with-orange-and-pink-clouds-and-reflecting-water.jpg

❌ IMG00353.jpg

Remember to keep image file names short and use hyphens to separate words, making them easier for Google to understand. Additionally, include keywords in your image titles to help your images appear in relevant search results.

3.Add descriptive alt text for your images

Alt text or alternative text is important because it helps Google and other search engines understand what your images are about since they can’t see them. It also helps screen readers describe images to visually impaired users. This makes your pages more accessible and improves the user experience.

Best Practices for Alt Text:

  • A good way to create effective alt text is to imagine someone reading it to you while your eyes are closed. If you can picture the image in your mind, the alt text is doing its job. 
  • Limit your alt text to a maximum of 125 characters.
  • Use specific and clear descriptions that convey the essence of the image.
  • Don’t use phrases like “image of” or “photo of”; it’s understood that alt text describes an image.

Examples of Good and Bad Alt Text

Good Alt Text:  

`”Golden retriever puppy playing with a red ball in the grass”`

Bad Alt Text:  

`”Image of a puppy” or “IMG1234.jpg”`

The good example provides a clear and concise description, helping users and search engines understand what the image is about. The bad example is too vague or uses an uninformative file name, offering little value to users or search engines.

4.Resize images/ Compress the images

Image size and file size are two different things. Image size refers to the width and height of an image (e.g., 1050 pixels by 1000 pixels), while file size is the amount of storage the image takes up (e.g., 250 KB).

Resizing images to smaller sizes helps to reduce loading time. Large images can slow down page loading because the browser must load the full image, even if it’s larger than the maximum width the site displays.

The smaller the image, the faster it downloads and displays on a user’s device. By compressing your images, you’re directly improving your website’s speed. You can do this using tools like Photoshop or TinyPNG.

TinyPNG tool for image compression

Or, if you use Canva to create your images, it gives an option to compress the images and download.

Canva image compression option

If you’re unsure how your images are affecting your page speed, I recommend using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Google Page Speed Insights

5.Use unique and original images

Do you also use stock photos on your website? Then, your website will not stand out from the rest of the websites that use stock images. Having unique images on your website makes you look better than other websites and provides a good user experience.

Use images that are highly relevant to your content and niche. While stock images might be well-optimized, they don’t provide the same impact or SEO benefits as unique and original high-quality images.

For eCommerce websites, avoid using stock photos for product images. Invest in a good photographer or take high-quality pictures yourself. Original product images can greatly enhance your site’s appeal and search engine rankings.

6.Create an image sitemap

Regular XML sitemaps help search engines find and index your web pages, acting as a roadmap to your site. Image sitemaps function similarly but focus on your site’s images.

An XML sitemap is a detailed list of every page on your website, including URLs for all types of content such as blogs, articles, and product pages. You can also add image URLs to an XML sitemap, helping Google to crawl and index them by including image sitemap tags. Check out Google’s Sitemap Guide for more information: Click here.

An image sitemap provides Google with a list of all the images on your site. This increases the chance of your images appearing in image-specific search results, like Google Image search, because Google can find and index them more effectively. This helps expand your reach to users who are specifically searching for visual content.

What does an image sitemap look like? Here’s an example provided by Google:

Image sitemap example

7.Use the Lazy Loading technique

Lazy loading is a technique where images are loaded only when they enter the user’s viewport (visible screen). This means that images further down the page load as the user scrolls, appearing within their view. Implementing lazy loading is helpful for most pages with images, especially those having multiple images.

The simplest way to implement lazy loading on your site is to use a WordPress plugin, which simplifies what can otherwise be a complex task.

If you’re using WordPress version 5.5 or later, the manual addition of lazy loading to your images is unnecessary. This is because WordPress from version 5.5 onwards includes native lazy loading, automatically applying the loading=”lazy” attribute to images.

8.Enable Browser Caching

Browser caching involves storing certain files, like images, in a visitor’s browser for a set period. This allows them to load more quickly if requested again.

Since image files are often large, caching them can significantly enhance page load times for returning visitors. The images are stored locally in the browser’s cache, reducing the need to reload them from the server and improving overall user experience.

To learn more about browser caching and how to implement it, you can refer to Google’s browser caching guide. For WordPress users, a recommended browser caching plugin is WP Rocket.

9.Add structured data

Structured data also known as schema markup helps Google to understand the content on your web page and show it in rich snippets.

When you add structured data, Google will show more details about the images such as the creator, credit details, and who can use the image. 

Rich snippets in Google search results

You can learn more about adding structured data to images using Google’s guide: Click here

10.Use a CDN for image delivery

A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, is a global network of servers that ensures images load in milliseconds on your user’s device, no matter their location. To further accelerate your site, you should use an image CDN.

An image CDN selects a cached version of your image from the server nearest to your geographical location. This enhances your website’s speed by reducing the number of internet hops required to fetch the image from your original server (your web hosting provider).

Image SEO is not something that you cannot learn. If you have a clear idea of What is image SEO and some image SEO best practices, you are good to go. When adding images to your site, ask yourself below questions,

  • Do these images enhance user experience and give value to them?
  • Is this the best image that I can use?
  • Will search engines understand this image?
  • Will this image load faster?

If you can answer these questions, you’re on the right path to optimizing your images for SEO.

Well, this is the end of our long blog article on What is image SEO. We hope you got a sound understanding of,

  • What is Image SEO
  • Image SEO best practices

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Our expert team provides:

SEO Content Writing: Crafting high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your audience and ranks well on search engines.

Keyword Research: Identifying the most effective keywords to target, ensuring your content reaches the right audience.

Content Optimization: Fine-tuning your existing content to improve its visibility and performance.

Link Building: Building a robust network of backlinks to enhance your site’s authority and search engine ranking.

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The best part? Your first consultation is absolutely free. Let us show you how we can transform your online presence and drive your business to new heights.

Contact DigiFix today and start your journey to SEO success!

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    Do you want more traffic?

    Hi, we are an Australian digital agency doing groundbreaking work to help a business like yours reach its full potential.  My only question is will you qualify for our services?