A thoughtful plan toward image SEO can increase your rankings and overall web performance. The tips you learn to make your photos more SEO friendly will help bring in organic search engine traffic, create better organization for your images, and be more social media friendly.
If you’re confused about what search engine optimization has to do with images, you’re not alone. Let’s break down how this works and how you can use this knowledge to improve your web performance.
What is Image SEO?
Search engines, like Google, want to show their users the best results for their search. This way, users continue choosing their search engine. They use many factors to determine what websites are best.
When evaluating a website, search engines will look at factors like:
- How quickly a web page loads.
- How many stay on the page as opposed to immediately returning to the results to look for something else. This is often known as “bounce rate”.
- Pages that link to this website, and pages this website links out to.
- The relevant keywords on the page, to determine what the content is about.
When experienced digital marketers want their page to rank on the search engines, they do their best to create a page that search engines will like. They optimize the web page so it is best for users, who will like it. At the same time, they make sure those optimization techniques will be recognized by search engines like Google.
A search engine isn’t necessarily going to be able to scan your picture and know what it is about.
So, what is image optimization in SEO?
It’s optimizing the picture file on the page to tell the search engines what this image is about. It’s the work of creating relevant image file names and good file sizes that load quickly.
Do Images Help SEO?
Yes, having pictures on your page will help your search engine optimization in many ways. It may seem like a small detail when you could add more text for content.
Consider this: search engines like pages users like. Users love content that is rich with relevant pictures. They keep users more engaged with the content. Users will often skim a page to check pictures and headings before deciding whether to read the content.
By using properly optimized pictures for your SEO, you can:
- Lower your bounce rate (keep people on your web page).
- Use rich keywords to show search engines what your content is about.
- Create content that encourages people to link to it, since users love pictures.
How Do I Add SEO to My Photos?
Don’t worry! A lot of people feel lost as to how to make images SEO friendly at first. It can help to keep a small checklist to go over before you publish a page. So, what do you need to do to your picture files to make them shine for the search engines?
The first tip is, of course, to use pictures. Always use pictures! Make sure they are engaging and relevant to the content.
Properly name your SEO image files. We’ll go over this in more depth below.
Size the picture file appropriately. If your picture is actually 3,000 by 3,000 pixels, but you’ve chosen to display it on the page at 200 by 200, the browser still has to take the time to load the larger file size. The picture is still the original large size, it’s just being scaled for the page. What this means is that your page is loading slower. A slow loading speed is bad for users, for SEO, and bad for your page ranking. Edit the image file, save it at a smaller size, and then reload it on the page.
Make sure your images work well for mobile. This means your pictures need to be responsive. If you are using WordPress for your website, then this is done automatically for you so you won’t have to worry about it. Never forget that a large number of your website visitors will be visiting on their mobile devices so you want your pictures to look just as great there as on a desktop.
Write great captions for your photos! This gives the search engines more information on the content of the picture. It also provides more words for users to scan when they’re deciding whether to read your content. While every picture on your page won’t need a caption, consider when it would be helpful to your site’s visitors and use them wisely. Is there something the viewer should know about this picture? Excellent. Can I also use a keyword phrase in the caption? Even better!
If your image file fails to load, the “Alt text” will show on the page. This “alt text” tells search engines and users what the picture is supposed to be. Every single picture you use on your page should have alt text attached to it. What should you write? Describe the photo, and attempt to use the keyword phrase in there.
How Do You Name Pictures for SEO?
The first step to any search engine optimization plan is to research your keywords. Do you know what your main keyword is for this page? If not, do that research before starting anything else.
Then, name your picture files using your relevant keyphrase describing the photograph. Let’s say you are building a webpage that is all about the best places to shop for pencils for the new school year. You have a section on characters popular for school supplies in that year. You then name your picture file “school-supplies-popular-characters-2020.jpg”.
With the right file name chosen, search engines now immediately know what the picture is about. They also have more information on what your web page itself is about, adding relevancy to your site. This will help your individual picture rank on image searches and your web page rank in the regular search results.
Great SEO Takes Time, Practice, and Know-How
Search marketing helps a business build trust with their customers. When your business shows up on Google, it adds some authority to your page. Learning all the SEO tips for images, content, linking, design, and more can be overwhelming for many businesses as the demands of digital marketing continue to grow.
At Blend Local Search Marketing, we focus on helping businesses rank their sites where they deserve to be. Are you ready to get seen on Google? Contact our team today to discuss SEO and what it can do for your business.
Image SEO – It’s Time to Focus on More Organic Traffic