Everything You Need to Know About Image Optimization For SEO

Insight | June 30, 2022

SEO is not all just about text, content, codes, and keywords. The presence of good quality images that match your content’s voice plays a vital role.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Many people move straight to image search whenever they want to get a visual glimpse of a product, idea or brand.

Getting organic traffic on your website is an arduous task. It demands clever tactics along with an understanding of your audience. One way to achieve that is by adding visually attractive images on your articles and website that help you stand out and solidify your impact online.

Here are a few things you should remember before uploading an image on your website (whether it’s a product image or a header image for a blog):

1. Use Unique and Relevant Images

If you were to take just one tip to master your website SEO, take this one. 

Because with every waking day, Google is penalizing duplicate and generic content on the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

You can use simple images that voice your opinion. But remember to add an exclusive visual element that stands out on the internet. This acts as a differentiator among the competition and delivers a more refined and superior user experience. The search engines rank websites with better UX higher than any other on the SERPs.

2. Be Mindful of The Image Size, Quality and Format

Images are memory-heavy files than text. Also, they need a license or permission from the creator.

 So, before uploading an image on your website:

  • Check if there’s any copyright violation if you have directly downloaded it from Google Images (which is not the proper practice). Get your images from specific websites like Getty, Shutterstock, etc.
  • Ensure that the image size is not too big, as this will affect the page-loading time. This is one of the primary reasons for high bounce rates on websites. Compress the final image before uploading to keep the load times quicker.
  • Lastly, use the appropriate file format. JPEG is the most popular and favourable format due to its high quality and compressibility. Yet if you need moving or transparent visuals, GIFs or PNGs will also work respectively.

3. Don’t Leave the Captions Empty.

An image caption can go a long way in helping viewers understand the overall context and tone of the content on your website. 

 While some images are self-explanatory but others may use some help with on-point, punchy captions. People mostly read the captions than the body copy itself in an article. It helps them scan the whole page and get essential insights that the content is delivering quickly.

So, write detailed captions that narrate the story of the subject matter of the content concisely and memorably. You can also use relevant keywords that complement or define the image.

4. Place Keywords in The Name And Alt Text

This is where you can pour some keywords for added magic in your website’s image-SEO. 

The simple exercise of naming the image files can help your visibility online. Give a specific name to the image that describes it concisely.

For example, if your image is of a smartphone accessory. Insert the name, model, brand, type of the accessory. This helps the search engines to understand your image better and reach your audience faster.

Another point to consider is ‘Alt-text’. It’s simply an HTML version of an uploaded image.

The text that you see whenever an image fails to load on a web page is the alt-text. It further helps the search robots to track your website and its content.

So just like naming the image, insert a brief and descriptive alt-text along with the relevant keywords. As an added tip, put hyphens (-) in place of space as Google prefers it and ranks it higher on SERPs and image search.

5. Have A Good Mix Of Stock And Original Images?

If you have a small business with a snug product portfolio, you can use stock images on the start page of your website. 

Stock images are relevant, simple-to-understand and cost-effective or accessible most of the time. Some of the best places to get good-quality stock images are:

  • Unsplash
  • Freepik
  • Pexels
  • Shutterstock

Although overdoing it can decrease the authenticity of your brand and website, use it sparingly.

As stated in the first point, if your images are similar (or sadly the same) to your competition, your website will be pushed to the dark side by Google with the most negligible visibility and traffic. So, add a peculiar image that brings out your brand’s individuality and voice.

6. Create An Image Sitemap to Help Crawlers

Google and other prominent search engines have web crawlers or bots to index all the websites and web pages on the internet. Some images may not fall under the category which these crawlers can track.

So, it would help if you used image sitemaps as a developer to help Google catch the images uploaded on your website and include them on the SERPs & image search.

Generally, the crawlers miss images uploaded through JavaScript if the pictures aren’t defined in the webpage source code. You can solve this problem by submitting an image sitemap in the Google Search Console. List the proper location, tags, names and keywords related to the image in the sitemap to enable better SEO.

In Conclusion: Key Takeaways

Image SEO is fast evolving as Google is improving its algorithms and crawler efficiency. Also, with the rise of Voice Search, Google Lens, and other AI developments, image search is becoming more critical than ever. So, no web page can get away with sub-par visual content.

  • Ensure that your image and content as a whole convey an authentic voice to your audience.
  • To rank higher on the SERPs, you need a good mix of solid user experience, relevant content, algorithm-friendly sitemaps and codes, and an authentic brand personality.
  • Through proper image SEO, your website gets more visibility, organic traffic and prominence in the eyes of your audience.

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