Optimizing images for search engines is as important as optimizing your text content. It is equally important for blog posts, articles or for any other kind of site. This is one area of search engine optimization which is ignored by most webmasters. Today we will understand what is Image optimization and learn 8 image SEO tips. we will also learn what does it mean and how to do it.
What is Image SEO
Like optimizing your content, image SEO also refers to optimizing your images so that search engines are easily able to find and index them. Sounds simple, isn’t it? Hmmm, yes it sounds simple and trusts me it is equally easy to optimize your images for search engines.
Another aspect of SEO image optimization is reducing your image sizes to as low as possible so that they load easily when someone visits your website. Let’s dive into the water and find out how deep it is.
If you are looking forward to building an audience for your blog, then you must pay due to attention to image search engine optimization as well.
Image SEO Tips
Since there isn’t much science involved in image optimization for search engines we will directly jump into the image optimization techniques. So let’s get the ball rolling and identify as many tips as possible.
Use Images in Your Posts
Gone are the dial-up days when it took minutes for images to be loaded, leading to the poor user experience. We are in an era of broadband and 4G internet and images load almost instantly. So, don’t think that adding images to your posts will make your pages load slower. On the contrary, visuals add an appeal to your articles and play a great role in attracting the eyeballs. People say don’t judge a book by its cover. This may be true in its own says but one cannot deny the fact that impulsive buying is at its peak, which reveals a human tendency to be attracted by visuals. So always try to use a featured image in your articles or blog post for achieving your image SEO goals. Additionally, adding images in the middle of the blog posts act like a crescent to the moon.
Images Must Be Relevant
It’s important to make sure that your images are relevant to your article or post. This does not have any algorithmic relevance but play a pivotal role in enhancing user experience. Irrelevant images make users feel cheated and they may refrain from visiting your site again.
Use SEO Tags and attributes
If you know how search engines operate you must also be aware that HTML tags are one of the most important images SEO factors. There are different tags that you must add to your images to make sure you get the best out of image SEO. Here are 4 different tags or attributes that you must have for all your images.
- Alt Tag – Alt Tag or Alt Text is the text that is displayed to the user in image placeholder if the image is taking too long to load. Search engines rely heavily on the text; they do not have the capability to read images. The alt tag serves two purposes. First of all, it tells the crawlers that there is an image in your post and secondly it tells the search engines, what your image is related to.If you’re using a third party CMS like WordPress then adding alt tags comes built in. If you’re using a custom CMS you must seek the help of your developers to get this going.
- Image Title – This is another image attribute that can be added to the image HTML tags. Image titles are displayed to the users as a tooltip when the user hovers his mouse over the image. It is up to you whether you want to keep the alt tag and the image title different or same. Just like alt tags the image title box also comes built-in with third-party CMS.
- Image Caption – Wondering what is image caption? These are few lines of text used to explain what your photo is all about. Such text is usually displayed under the image but it totally depends how you want to display it. If an image is being used in multiple posts you can have different captions for them. Try using these as well to give a cutting edge to your image optimization.
- Description – Descriptions are displayed on the attachment page of your images. These can be long and descriptive like a paragraph. You can even add links in the description field. Contextual descriptions will make the content even meatier for search engines for them to relish.
[ Also Read – 10 Tips to becoming a Successful Blogger ]
Once you have the right image it’s important to consider the file format as well. While there are many formats available, it’s recommended to stick to 3 most common formats that we know the internet loves. These are JPEG, GIF and PNG. While PNG can be used for great quality images, JPEG can be used to heavily reduce image size. Depending on your website’s needs you can choose either. GIF can be used as and when needed.
This is relevant for image SEO of sites that rely heavily on images, like an e-commerce site. Think about a time when you have waited more than 3 to 5 seconds on a webpage waiting for the image to load. You can optimize your image sizes by choosing the “Save for Web” option in Photoshop. Consider exploring the options in this command to suit your needs.
You can also make use of some image compression tools that reduce the image sizes without compromising much on quality. Do a Google search and you will find many of them. I use JPEG mini for JPEG and Tiny PNG for PNG.
Once again this is relevant for sites that rely heavily on images, like a photo gallery. Listing image locations in sitemaps help the crawlers identify your images easily. The addition of image sitemaps may not boost your SEO significantly but it is definitely worthwhile to implement it.
Now, what the heck is that? You must have heard of responsive website but what is a responsive image. While there is a more technical aspect to it, I will talk about a smarter way to do it.
If you have a responsive site just make sure that the images that you use have their subject in the center. Keeping enough space in either direction of the subject ensures that the main subject is not cropped across different devices. Images with poorly cut subject create a very bad mobile experience leading to high bounce rate.
Avoid Stock Images
If you have a team together that can create images for you it’s always advisable to avoid using stock photos. There will be a number of websites that use images from stock photos. This will not make your website stand out from the rest. Get your team geared to create their own images rather than playing beg, borrow, steal. It is a great idea to create a special theme for your images as well. Check out Cointelegraph for instance.
Like I said, this is no rocket science and can be achieved if done religiously. It’s all up to you how sincerely you follow these strategies.
If you have these in place then well and good, otherwise get into action as soon as possible. This may be a baby step but don’t forget that every child is the father of a man.