What is Image SEO?
A website has different components. Some of them are visible to users and some are not. Out of which images play a vital role. Today, about 38% of Google’s SERPs show images, and that’s mostly going to increase. Here plays Image SEO, the most important role.
Images are major components of a website. A striking image with relevant content indulges the user to dig into the website. Visible and invisible parameters play an important role in image optimization. In e-commerce mainly, the quality and design of images have an influence on the purchasing behavior of customers. Image SEO is the process of optimizing the images on your website, so they are easy for search engines to “read” and “find”.
Image SEO is important in order to improve user experiences, visibility, and rankings of your content in Google. Along with the text, images are also major visible components of a website. Image SEO has various elements like image type, size, load time, usage, alt text which must be optimized, and keywords in image file names.
Here’s an image of a puppy with a descriptive alt tag:
Alt tag: “A cute black Labrador puppy”
Importance of Image SEO
Poor SEO can lead to various issues like losing to gain links, losing organic traffic, large and unoptimized images will slow down your website. The right image can help a user better understand and engage with the content. The images should communicate the story that you are trying to tell, because optimizing the images should be part of SEO strategy.
How does Image SEO work?
Following are some most effective and trusted image optimization tips:
The right format should be chosen: There are many image formats that you can choose from amongst which PNG and JPEG are most used.
PNG: It produces better quality images but comes in a larger size.
JPEG: It tends to be the best option; it can be adjusted to find a good balance.
WebP: Choose lossless or lossy compression using this. This is the only image format supported by both Chrome and Firefox.
SVG: It’s light and responsive.
GIF: It should be used only when you animate an image.
Compress your Images: Site speed is the most important aspect of image SEO. If images are not compressed it will affect site speed, less gain in traffic, and lower ability to rank. If the pages are slow, Google will not look upon them favorably. By reducing image size, the loading time of a page can be improved, allowing users to access the page quickly. For an image URL to be included in the index more quickly and easily by Googlebot, moderate web-optimized file sizes should be used.
Image size: A benchmark of a minimum of 300 pixels has been established for at least one side of the image.
Image format: Images that are displayed in landscape or exact 4:3 format are clicked more often.
There are many tools used to check site speed like PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, and GTmetrix.
Create unique Images and optimize your page titles, captions, and alt text: Unique and high-quality images should be present on your website. Adding original images can give a better user experience leading to an increase in traffic.
All on-page SEO factors like metadata, header tags, structured data affect Google ranking.
Image titles: Image titles are very important. It gives Google an idea about the image. The name of your image is one of the most important factors for image SEO.
Alt text: Alt text is very important especially when the image doesn’t load, it helps in understanding the image. Keyword stuffing should be avoided in Alt text.
Keyword stuffing will not help us rank, in fact, Google will penalize us.
The alt text should be in such a way that the right information should be passed in alt text. Stuffing keywords would obviously not help web crawlers. The alt text should be short but descriptive. In order to make it clear, don’t start alt text with “picture of..” or “Image of”. Only include your article’s target keyword.
For example, if your article’s head keyword is “how to generate leads,” you might use “lead generation” in your alt text, since “how to” might be difficult to include in alt text.
Below mentioned is the SEO-friendly image alt text.
The code used for alt text is :
<img src="cars.jpg" alt="Cars" class="responsive">
An image tag has a file name, a format, a location where the image can be found and attributes that provide context. The context should be added that relates to the topic of the page. Keep your alt text fewer than 125 characters.
Alt text provides a better user experience to users with disabilities-it provides a better UX to all users.
The breakdown of image properties are as follows:
- Image file name
- Image format
- Image URL path
- Image srcset attribute for serving responsive images
- Image alt attribute.
Captions: Google extracts information about the subject matter of the image from the content of the page. So, placing the image with relevant text is important. This is the opportunity to emphasize the keywords and your call to action.
This highlighted text shows the alt text of the image.
<img src="chocolatecakes.png" alt="Creamy chocolate cake with choco chips">
5. The authority of the page images: If you search for ‘cars in India’ in Google images, this is what you’ll see:
The top three results are:
As shown above, the results are shown according to the authority.
An image ranks according to the authority of the page too. It depends on what images you choose and what alt text you use for it.
6. Image Popularity: Image SEO also considers image popularity as an important factor. If an image is commonly used, it must be popular and therefore will rank high. Including related images about the same topic, with similar content in the images, also helps rank your images better. Doing this helps the page to be relevant and authoritative.
7. Copyright: Make sure your images aren’t copied. Unique images of high quality should be the target. If the images are copied you will get penalized, which can de-rank your website.
8. Image File structure: The file path and file name is a ranking factor. It indicates that instead of saving all files under generic folder, subfolders can be created related to topics and saved accordingly.
An example of file structure is shown below.
File structure: /images/top-cars-in-india.jpeg
9. Adding Images to Image Sitemap: Another important aspect is adding your images to image sitemaps, can help search engines crawl and index your images. This can help in more site traffic. It provides information to crawlers about the images that you have on your website. Image sitemaps can contain URLs from other domains, unlike regular sitemaps, which do not allow cross domain URLs. There are many tools used to generate sitemap like Screaming frog and Yoast, they make it super simple to create a sitemap.
10. Images should be mobile-friendly: Creating responsive images will scale with the size of the site whether the user is using desktop or mobile. According to the size of the device, it gets adjusted.
If images aren’t mobile friendly it will lead to a high bounce rate and low conversions. In order to avoid this, images should be made mobile friendly.
11. Open Graphs and Twitter Cards: By using Facebook’ s Open Graph and Twitter Cards on your site, you can ensure that your site’s content is more clickable, shareable and noticeable on social media.
If HTML code is added to your site for both Open Graph and Twitter Cards, images will appear on the social platforms each time your link is shared.
12. Structured Data: To make images stand out even more, another option is to add structured data. By adding structured data to your images, your images can be displayed as rich results. This would give users relevant information about your page, which could drive better traffic to your site.
Google Images supports structured data for Product, Video and Recipe
Image SEO is relatively simple if compared with other aspects of SEO. If you pay more attention to optimizing the images properly for both users and search engines, it will increase the traffic for the website.
In short, before uploading and adding images on your site, ensure that the image optimization tips are followed, and you follow the best practices.
Here are the key points for Image SEO best practices:
- Choose the right image format.
- Image compression
- Unique image creation and optimizing the images
- Authority of page images
- Image popularity
- Copyright shouldn’t be done, instead, high quality and relevant images should be added.
- Image file structure
- Adding images to the image sitemap, so that it helps search engines understand which images are present on your site.
- Images should be mobile-friendly.
- Open Graph and Twitter Cards should be implemented.
- Structured data to be implemented.