A single second delay in page speed can mean a seven percent drop in conversions. If you have a business that normally brings in about $100k a day, that could amount to more than $2 million a year. One of the main reasons for a drop in page load time is images that aren’t properly optimized. This is just one reason why optimizing images for SEO is just as important as any other part of your online engagement strategy. Here are some tips to get you started, and learn how to optimize image for SEO.
1. Opt for High-Quality, Original Photos
A big part of image SEO is the actual quality of the image itself. When coming across a bunch of images on a search engine results page, searchers naturally gravitate towards the one that look the best. Keep the focus on choosing quality images relevant to the related content.
How to create high-quality website images for SEO.
While stock images can be effective in some situations, they don’t pack the same punch as original images. Whenever possible, make an effort to get original, top-quality images, for your website design especially ones that will likely be on your website or blog for a long time.
Getting quality SEO optimized images in-house can be as simple as using a good digital camera to snap some pics and then adding captions that naturally include a few of your keywords. Another option is to hire a professional to take some top-notch shots. If you must resort to stock images, look for ones that are reflective your brand’s personality. There are also tools you can use to make edits and personalize your images.
2. Use Photoshop’s ‘Save for Web’ Feature
If you have a highly visual brand, investing in the latest edition of Photoshop can be a wise move, not to mention a smart way to do some quick edits so your images work better wherever they’re used. One particular tool you’ll want to pay attention to for image SEO purposes is the Save for Web feature.
It’s a handy feature that allows you to save your images as different file types. You’ll be able to see what each one will look like in each file type so you can decide which one is best for your image. You’ll also get an estimate of how long it will take your image to load. If don’t need to regularly prepare images for your content, there are free photo editors online with similar capabilities.
3. Use Alt Text and Optimized Captions
Optimizing images for SEO isn’t going to be possible without alt text. This is necessary because search engine crawlers can’t “read” images. Alt tags describe images so search engines can properly categorize them. Alternative text also allows users unable to view images to get a description with object recognition technology sometimes used by visually impaired searchers.
Captions help both crawlers and searchers get a better understanding your images. In fact, captions get nearly 20 percent more readership than text. However, some images can stand alone without any captions, so use your best judgment to determine what’s appropriate.
How to write seo friendly image captions.
When you do write captions for your images, keep in mind that the purpose is to clarify and inform the viewer while also offering a certain amount of intrigue. Go beyond simply stating the obvious and fill in the blanks for the viewer. For instance, it may be clear what a picture is but it may not be obvious why it’s connected to your business. You would then add that extra info to the caption.
You can also make your photo associated with a link back to your site if it’s going to be used within your blog or on your social media pages. So, you might have a caption that ends with “Click the photo to view more images like this on our website.”
How to write seo friendly alt text and tag your images for SEO.
As mentioned above, alt text helps search engines such as Google better understand what is contained within an image. Below are a few rules for creating seo friendly alt text and tags for website images.
- Alt Text Should Repeat Text in the Image: If your image contains text in it, you should add that text to the alt text of the image.
- Keep the Text Short: A good rule of thumb for alternative text is to keep it between 5 and 10 words.
- Using Your SEO Keywords in Alt Tags: A good rule of thumb is to use your search engine keywords where they fit with the description of the image.
- Keep Your Text Meaningful: Remember that the point of alt text is to define the images for your readers.
4. Compress Your Images
Without compression, whoever sees your image will have to download all of the data that goes with it. The good news is that a lot of the data associated with an image is redundant and able to be minimized without affecting quality. If visitors constantly leave your site because of images that slow things down, it will affect your ranking because of high bounce rates and your bottom line due to lack of conversions.
How to compress your website images for SEO speed.
There are many tools you can use to compress your images. If you plan to repurpose the same image for different uses, make sure it’s compressed appropriately for each intended use. For instance, social media images are typically compressed more than what would be necessary for the same image used on a website. Below are a few tools to compress images for SEO speed.
- Tiny PNG
- Convert Image
5. Use Responsive Images
With mobile use now surpassing desktop, it’s important to ensure your images will be able to be viewed on different sized screens. A simple solution is to make your images responsive so they will be viewed in the best form no matter what screen your website is being viewed on.
How to create responsive website images.
Simple scripting is one way to make images responsive, but this method can be problematic since some servers don’t allow scripting. A better way to achieve the same goal is with the srcset attribute, the sizes attribute, or the picture element. As long as you’re making things responsive, consider doing the same thing for your entire website, not just your images, to create a good user experience for mobile visitors.
6. Personalize Your Image File Names
Image SEO goes beyond optimizing for size and using keywords in captions and into the naming convention that is used. So how to name images for seo? The file name for your images can also be optimized to boost search engine visibility. If you’re using images you either downloaded from a digital camera or took yourself, you’ll likely get a file name that’s a jumble of characters and numbers.
How to name images for seo.
Choose a file name that’s reflective of what the image itself is while also throwing in a mention of your brand if there’s room (e.g., “Vera Wang wedding dress ABC Bridal). You can also customize file names if you’ve edited and re-saved stock images.
7. Use an Image Sitemap
The purpose of a sitemap is to make it easier for Google and other search engines to quickly see what’s on each of your website’s pages. With an image sitemap, you’ll be able to point out specific images on your site that may otherwise be overlooked by crawlers. If you happen to be using WordPress, there are plugins you can use to automatically create image sitemaps for images uploaded to your media library.
Finally, be sure to choose images that are likely to appeal to your target audience. Ideally, your SEO optimized images, whether they’re on your website, within your social or blog posts, or included with an infographic, should be relevant and impactful yet still in line with your brand’s image.