We’re living in a progressive visual world. And in this digital world, the value of image optimization can’t be overlooked. Images make your webpages more interesting. More likely than not, there’s an image on every page of your website and now it is essential to give interactive look of each webpages. Without the proper optimization, however, you’re killing a valuable SEO asset. Plus, keep in mind that, the larger the file size, the longer it takes your page to load, and the upper your bounce rate will be.
Image optimization creates many rewards for your image assets, including better user experience, faster page load times, and additional ranking opportunities, both within the traditional and image search results (more productive visitors).
Although visual search technology has made enormous strides of late, search engine bots are unable to identify the content of an image; they rely on the text associated with the images to fully understand what the image is and how it relates to your content or the subject of your page.
But which factors are most significant to make certain your images are findable and don’t slow down your site?
Important Image SEO Tips You Need to Know
- Stock Images Won’t Help Your SEO
You desire your photos to pop on your site. If you fill your website with stock imagery, you’ll look unoriginal – like thousands of other sites that don’t stand out.
Too many websites are messy with the same nonspecific stock photos.
Think about a corporate website, a consulting firm, a business that prides itself on customer service. All these websites use virtually the same looking stock image of a business man smiling.
I’m confident you’ve seen one that looks like this:
While you may have your stock images entirely optimized, it won’t have the same blow or potential SEO benefits as an original, high-quality image.
- Use Original, High-Quality Images
The more original pictures you have, the superior practice for the user and the better your odds are of ranking on relevant searches.
Original images can be made by a designer at your company (e.g., data visualizations, infographics) or taken in-house using a quality camera.
Give your customers a peek of your company, or provide a premium product image that your visitors will respond to.
Many users disregard stock photos. High-quality original images permit you to stand out in the search results – so show your brand’s qualities and draw more people to your website.
- Have A Reason For Your Images
Images should assist a story or make simpler an idea or thing. Many people study visually. Images also can have a superior emotional impact than long blocks of text. Although you always desire to add some kind of image to your content, don’t force it.
Using screenshots is another way to add value, tell your story, and harmonize the material on your blogs, articles, and landing pages. Screenshots are an immense way to get your point across, especially if you’re discussing a complicated subject.
Ultimately, your reason for having an image is to match the content, break up the text, and help your audience understand a product or concept.
- Beware of Copyright
Regardless of the image files you choose to use, make certain there’s no copyright conflict. If free stock photos / images sites, or some other stock photo provider owns an image you use, and you don’t have a license to use it, then you’re risking an exclusive lawsuit.
You could be issued a notice if you have violated any copyright issues. If the owner of a piece of content sees their content on your website, they can issue a notice to take down image which you must comply with.
There are abundance of ways to find free images from the web, as well. Google’s images allows you to filter results based on those accessible for re-use. These images aren’t always the most proper, but can help you find an image for free.
- Improve Images With Tools
After you download images from free stocking sites, you can do more with them. Use a tool which lets you add personality, text, and exclusivity to your images, which can glorify its appeal.
Many hero images and apparently stock photos are enhanced and made more tempting with a personal touch using these tools. While on its own, it can be a customary stock image, the use of online tool gives you a chance to add a personal message.
With these available tools, you can generate a custom social media post or infographic from a template. Additional tools will help you to create gorgeous and eye-catching images to help your image stand out with few unique features.
- JPEG Best Practices
Know the file type you’re working with. For optimization points, you’ll classically be using a JPEG.
A JPEG image provides the best options for keeping a quality image when compressed or resized. They work with many colors, shadows, and patterns to exhibit a high-resolution image, and is the most admired photo type in the digital space.
Due to its capacity to be compressed considerably, the JPEG forms superiority images in small file sizes.
One downside of JPEGs: it uses lossy data compression. This means that the figure quality can suffer depending on your settings. There is also no support for translucent backgrounds like there is with GIF and PNG formats.
That said, using this format is valuable because it keeps file sizes small and it is supported collectively.
- PNG Best Practices
A PNG image is naturally used when editing or downloading files from Adobe Photoshop. PNG is known to knob transparency, and are often used for Logo Image assets as the image appears small, yet the resolution is high quality.
PNGs can be saved as a PNG-8 or a PNG-24. The PNG-8 file type is limited to a pallet of 256 colors, whereas the PNG-24 will distribute a much higher quality display, but result in a larger file size, which could disrupt the page’s routine. You’ll find that as you prolong to resave your images, PNGs won’t degrade.
- GIF Best Practices
Like a PNG, GIFs linger an option for small image sizes, and similar to the PNG-8, images only have 256 colors. For best practice, you should shun using GIFs for product photos.
GIF is a bitmap image format normally used for simple art and animations. It is the perfect format for company logos and other page elements of websites due to its small file size and support for apparent backgrounds.
However, this format / layout is not recommended for images and photographs.
- Use an Optimal File Size Without Losing Quality
Images are often the main cause of sluggish loading times. If your site’s speed needs enhancement, try reducing the file sizes of your images through resizing and compression. Check out ways that page speed benchmarks in fact impact your business.
The overall size of your image should not be much larger than you really need it to be (i.e. the width of your web page or blog post).
One of the best ways you can decrease the file size without pretentious quality is within Adobe Photoshop’s “Save for Web” functionality.
Images can be massive files, but that’s not cooperative when it comes to user experience. The huge file sizes can straight affect your ranking in SERPs and image searches.
Within Photoshop, you can resize the image before saving it, making the file size more suitable for user experience. Photoshop has presets for you to choose image quality, ranging from 1.38MB to 86k. Generally, somewhere in the middle will not affect resolution or amplify page load speed.
When not using Photoshop, there are online compression tools that make it easy to resize the image without affecting quality. Ultimately, it’s all about file size, image quality, and load time. Make sure the image doesn’t lose any pixels and become unclear as you compress the size of the file.
- Add Descriptive Captions
Adding captions to your images is an image optimization’s best practice.
The caption is the text that appears — usually in a gray box — below the image, illumination what you see in the picture. While the words in your editorial may not be read, chances are high that the text under your image will be read.
Captions are valuable because not all images are unspoken right away, and the function adds context for the image to provide more context for the search engines to understand (aside from your alt text).
Some images can stand alone, though extra value is added with a caption. Just bear in mind not to force the caption when none is needed.
- How to Name Images for SEO
When it comes to SEO, creating descriptive, keyword-rich file names is utterly crucial. Image file names alert Google and other search engine crawlers as to the subject matter of the image.
If you’re using an image you took yourself or downloaded from a camera, the file name will classically look like “IMG_722019” or something similar. Change the file name from the default to facilitate the search engines understand your image and improve your SEO value.
This involves a bit of work, depending on how widespread your media library is, but changing the default image name is always a good idea.
You’ll need to edit the HTML of the image yourself for each upload to ensure accuracy. Written in simple language, the file name should be a short, accurate, keyword-infused description of the subject your image represents.
- How to Write SEO-Friendly Alt Text
Alt tags are a text substitute to images when a browser can’t suitably render them. Similar to the title, the alt attribute is used to describe the contents of an image file.
When the image won’t load, you’ll get an image box with the alt tag present in the top left corner. Make sure they fit with the image and make the picture relevant.
Paying awareness to alt tags is also beneficial to the overall on-page SEO strategy. You desire to make sure that all other optimization areas are in place, but if the image fails to load for any reason, users will see what the image is supposed to be.
Plus, adding proper alt tags to the images on your website can help your website attain better rankings in the search engines by associating keywords with images. Even Google has remarked on the value of alt text in images:
It provides Google with functional information about the subject matter of the image. We use this information to assist resolve the best image to return for a user’s query.
Alt text is required under the American Disabilities Act for individuals who are unable to view images themselves. A descriptive “alt text” can alert users accurately what is in the photo. For example, say you have a picture of chocolate on your website. The alt text could read:
<img src=”chocolate-1.jpg” alt=”chocolate”/>
However, a better alternative text that describes the image would read:
<img src=”chocolate-1.jpg” alt=”dark chocolate coffee flavored bar”/>
Alt text is viewable in the cached text version of the page, aiding in its advantage to both users and the search engines. For further SEO value, the alt text can act as the anchor text of an internal link when the image links to a different page on the site.
- Create an Image Sitemap
Create and publish an image sitemap to house all of your images in one place. This gives Google and other search engines more capability to discover the images on your site, escalating the likelihood that your images will be displayed in Image Search results.
For WordPress sites, the creation and execution of image sitemaps is easy through the WordPress plugin, “Google XML Sitemap for Images,” which robotically creates the sitemap for images uploaded to your WordPress Media Library.
Help Google further index and fitting your images. An XML sitemap helps you do just that.
- Open Graph & Twitter Cards
If you’re providing priceless content and information to your audience, they will share the content on social media. From Facebook to Twitter, content is shared and links are distributed.
When you have the HTML code set up for Open Graph (OG) and Twitter Cards (found in the Yoast plugin in WordPress), you can pledge the image will appear on the social platforms each time your link is shared.
For OG tags, you can set the image you want within WordPress, but also create your own meta property in HTML. Add the tag to the <head> section of your page, so it looks like this:
Twitter cards play the same role when the URL is shared on Twitter, driving rendezvous and generating clicks. The markup for Twitter cards works likewise to Open Graph, and the Yoast plugin screenshot above shows the Twitter logo where you can effortlessly fill that information in using WordPress.
Setting up these aspects for your images helps them to draw attention in a crowded social marketplace.
Image Optimization Key Takeaways :Following these tips should increase interaction and engagement with your images, reduce page load speed, improve find-ability in image search results, and reinforce your keyword performance. The most vital thing is to make sure the image and alternative text are relevant to the page. Other key takeaways:
- Reduce file size for faster page load speed.
- JPEGs are generally the best option for website photos.
- Never use GIFs for large product images.
- Improve stock images with tools like Canva.
- Do not overstuff keywords in alt text, make sure it describes the photo.
- Make sure the image is relative to the page.
- For crawlability, create an image sitemap.
- Create OG and Twitter Cards for social shares.