Optimize Image for SEO: There’s no doubt about how important images are for your website’s or blog’s engagement. It promptly adds to the user experience by providing them with information in a visual format that seems way more attractive and easy-to-grasp than the chunk of text that takes hours to read. But alongside engagement and visual attraction, images are a vital part of SEO as well! Yes, you read it right. Images can boost your SEO in ways you can’t imagine. And that’s why we are here with the tips and tricks to optimize images for SEO.
Do you search for images on Google? Of course, you do. But have you ever wondered why the first image or the first 10 images are ranking higher than the rest? That’s because those site owners know how to optimize images for Google search! And if you don’t know it, you are losing tons of traffic that could have come to your site by clicking on the image on the search result!
So, without wasting a moment, you should start understanding how to do SEO for Google images. Guess what! We are here with this blog to help you understand the science behind image optimization for SEO.
How to Optimize Image for SEO?
Stop downloading images from stock image sites and uploading them to your website. There is a process you are missing in between. And that process comprises eight tricks, we are about to explain. So, let’s go.
- Add SEO Friendly Alt Tag
- Proper Image File Name
- Choose the Right Format
- Compress the Images
- Use Copyright-Free Images
- Use Unique Images
- Image File Structure
- Create Responsive Images
- Use image structured data
- Use image CDNs to optimize images
1. Add Alt Tag
This process comes first without any argument as it is the most important part of your image optimization for search engines.
In simple words, the ‘alt tag’ is the description of an image. Since Google cannot see an image as we do as humans, it needs the image to be described in words so that the Google bot can crawl it and understand what the image is all about. Also, the ‘alt tag’ will appear when it cannot be displayed for some reason, and it helps your visitors understand what the image is all about. An example is shown below.
When you do not add an alt tag, Google stays clueless about the image, which results in your image not being ranked on the SERP despite the outstanding quality. However, while adding the alt tag, many make the mistake of stuffing irrelevant keywords in the alt tag. But that is spamming! You need to describe the image in simple terms, and that will be enough to optimize images for Google image search.
Best Practices for SEO Friendly Image Alt Text
<img src="Boy.jpg" alt="A Little Boy"/>
<img src="A Little Boy.jpg" alt="A little boy in a blue denim pants at a couch"/>
✓ Best: Alt Tag should be relevant to image and text around it.
✓ For product and e-Commerce images, it is often good idea to add model number or any other specific product number in Alt Text.
✘ Avoid excessively long alt text
✘ Avoid keyword stuffing, don’t use unnecessary keyword in Alt Tag
✘ Don’t use “image of” or “photo of”
For more information about Alt Text, watch the following video:
2. Proper Image File Name
You need to focus on naming images for SEO as well. Mostly, site owners repeat the same mistake of naming the image file with something that makes no sense! File names like image.jpg, IMG_994579.jpg or AAAAAA.jpg or ABCDEF.jpg do not serve the purpose of ranking your image higher on Google image search results. An SEO-friendly image should also have a keyword-rich file name that describes the image properly. It helps the search engine understand the image and boosts your SEO.
For instance, if you are ranking the top 10 mobiles under 1,00,000 INR, you would surely have images of 10 mobiles listed on your content. If you name the images like mobile1, mobile2, and so on, that would simply make your SEO value low. But if you give a proper image name like “OnePlus-8-Pro-Black-12GB-RAM.jpg” the search engine would understand exactly what mobile you have listed. So, naming images for SEO is an important aspect that most people overlook.
Best Practices for SEO Friendly Image File Name
✓ Best: Use brief but descriptive filename
✓ Best: filename should be relevant to image and text around it.
✓ Best: OnePlus-8-Pro-Black-12GB-RAM.jpg
✓ Best: A-Little-Boy.jpg
✘ Avoid: IMG_994579.jpg or AAAAAA.jpg or ABCDEF.jpg or image.jpg or picture.jpg
✘ Avoid: excessively long filename
3. Choose the Right Format
If you want to optimize image for SEO, it’s better not to forget about the image format you are choosing.
Google supports images in the following formats:
Generally, PNG and JPG images are used on websites. While PNG images are clearer and have better quality, JPG images are slightly lower-quality. However, along with the quality, comes the burden of size. While PNG images have a larger size, JPG images are smaller. However, if you need to upload 2-3 images on one web page, PNG is the format to go with. If you need a lot of images to put on your web page or you have a large image to upload, you should choose JPG.
For blog websites, it is often good idea to use JPG format.
The WebP is the modern image format developed by Google. It is the best image format to create smaller or better looking images by employing both lossy and lossless compression as compared to JPEG, PNG. Use image compressor tools like ShortPixel Image Optimizer, Imagify etc. to convert your images into WebP.
SVG image format is best for logos and icons.
4. Compress the Images
Image size plays a pivotal role in your page loading time and eventually, SEO. The heavier your pages are; the more time they will take to load. And that discourages users from staying on your website, which results in increasing the bounce rate and weakening your SEO.
That’s the reason why you need to compress your website images as images often are the heaviest components of a web page (almost 21% of the total size on average). Once compressed, your images would take less time to load and your site would perform better in SEO. To compress images, you can take the help of online tools like TinyPNG or even a WordPress plugin for image compression.
If you use a WordPress image optimization plugin, you don’t have to compress images before uploading. The plugin will automatically compress all the images after uploading.
Best Practices for Image Size
✓ Best: For blog websites, it is often good idea to keep your image size within 100 KB. For stock photography images, you large size images, however, make sure page loading time is fast.
5. Use Copyright-Free Images
Certainly, you wouldn’t like to be penalized by someone just for using an image. So, don’t make the same mistakes repeated by a plethora of people – they search for images on Google and use the images on their website or blog posts. Those images are the property of some other website that holds the copyright of the image. As soon as you use those images on your site, you are risking your site to fall under Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for copyright violation! And as a result, your website can be taken down!
If you really want to know how to optimize images for SEO, it is highly suggested that you use such images that are copyright-free. For this, you can download images from free stock image platforms like Pexels, Pixabay, Freepik, etc. However, don’t forget to read their copyright policy before downloading.
6. Use Unique Images
As easy it is to download an image from the free stock image libraries, it doesn’t really add value to your website, user experience, and SEO since you are using the same image used by thousands of other websites as well. An image illustrates your unique idea, which is why it is preferred to use unique images. If you really want good SEO for Google images, creating custom pictures is the best solution. With a custom picture, users would certainly be more interested in it compared to the other image results that are familiar.
However, you need to calculate the time and effort invested in doing so. You don’t want to invest hours of your workforce in creating custom images for an average blog post.
7. Image File Structure
Unknown to many, image file structure is very real, and it is one of the most important SEO factors for your images. As per Google’s Image Guidelines released in 2018, it was clearly mentioned that they use file path and file names for ranking images.
If you still don’t get it, let us explain it a little. Suppose you have an e-commerce website where you have multiple products of the same type. For instance, if you are selling shirts, quite certainly, you will have a lot of shirts to list and a lot of different images of all the shirts. Instead of putting all the images on the general media folder, you should create folders by categories like Denim, Cotton, etc. By following this structure, your images have a better chance to be ranked on Google image search.
8. Create Responsive Images
SEO for Google images is still a tricky job for the search marketers, and this is one of those tricky parts where they make mistakes! We have a tendency to prioritize desktop over mobile but mobile has better potential to offer you conversion. So, your images should also be mobile-friendly.
If you have created and optimized images only for desktop, it will result in a higher bounce rate and lower conversion rate on mobile, which comprises loads of searches and potential customers. So, you should always make your images responsive to provide the best experience to users and enjoy better SEO results.
9. Use Image Structured Data
Use appropriate structure data for images so that Google can show your images as rich results. For adding appropriate structure data, follow guidelines or use SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, Rank Math, etc.
10. Use Image CDNs to Optimize Images
Image size plays a vital role in your page speed and, eventually, SEO. After compressing images by plugins (ShortPixel Image Optimizer, Imagify), if you find that the images are still affecting your page speed, you should consider using image CDN.
Images are one of the most important factors in SEO because they have the potential to grab attention and make sales! So, ignoring images is the biggest mistake you can make in the world of the web. We believe you have understood how to optimize images for SEO and get good results on Google image search. With these ten techniques, your SEO will flourish.
Learn More About Image Optimization:
- Optimize your images
- SEO for Google Images
- Improve Core Web Vitals by Optimizing Images
- Advanced Image SEO
If you have any other technique you follow, don’t forget to share it with us in the comment section below.