Optimise Images for SEO

How To Optimise Images for SEO

SEO Friendly Images

Most businesses overlook some of the smaller steps in practicing good on-site SEO. Every little thing you can do with the different parts of SEO can strengthen your website’s SEO ranking. This makes a difference especially if it is something other sites may be overlooking.

Optimising your images for SEO is a simple and an important step to make your website more competitive in the search engines.

It is this simple little thing that many businesses let slip through the cracks which makes it that much more worthwhile for you to do.

Why Images Are Essential for SEO?

Nearly everyone understands SEO is all about text and keywords but images also play an important part especially for user experience.

If you found a webpage that looked like a Word document with nothing but text on a white background you would not feel like the website was trustworthy or memorable.

In fact, research verifies that target audiences are 80% more likely to read content that includes an image and 64% more likely to remember it afterward.

Images are essential for SEO

Images are a big part of SEO because Google’s algorithm pays attention to behaviour metrics that reflect user experience like bounce rates and the amount of time users spend on a web page.

But images can be optimised to directly help with SEO.  Where the user to your page will only see the image itself, search engine crawlers see text behind the image that you can fill in to tell them what you want them to see. 

Tips to Improve Your SEO for Images

For every image you intend to use on your website ensure to follow these tips to optimise them for the search engines. 

This is essential for the user experience aspect of SEO. Unrelated images on the content page will confuse and distract target audiences.

Badly cropped or blurry images will make your page look bad and unprofessional. Make sure every image you use has a clear relationship to what is on the page. The image must look clear, good and high quality.

high quality relevant images

Be careful not to use any images that you do not have the rights to or infringe the copyright of those images. There are plenty of online resources where you can find royalty-free images so stick with reputable sites for those.

Commit some time for each page you create or blog post you publish to find at least one good image to include. As bonus point if you can find a few. 

This step is the easiest but it is amazing that not everyone is doing it.  

Before adding any images onto your website take the time to customise the filename. Change it to something that is relevant to the page and include one of your target keywords for the page.

customise your filename

If your web page is about luggage products you sell, the image could be named something like brand name-backpack.jpg or brand name-ladies orange handbag.jpg

Most users will never see the filename but it provides the search engines a little more information about what is on the page and the best keywords to associate with it. 

You can provide alt text for every image you add to your website that will show up in place of your image if a browser has trouble loading it. This text is one more part of the page that you can use to signal to search engines what the page is about.

Optimise alt text tag and Image title tag

Always update the alt text for your images. Include your primary keyword for the page and something descriptive of the image itself. In WordPress there is an alt text field you can fill in to do this.

The image title is another attribute that can be added to the image tag in HTML. The title attribute appears in a popup when a user takes the mouse over the image. This attribute provides extra information to the user giving a better user experience. 

This part is tricky because your images need to look really good without slowing down your website page loading time. Site speed is a SEO ranking factor so loading webpage time and good user experience  are essential in choosing the correct quality to size ratio.

Normally the file size of an image is much larger than it needs to be on your website. If you use a CMS like WordPress resizing an image after you load it is super easy but you still have the large file size that slows things down on the backend.

You can make your website faster while still displaying images at a high resolution by resizing your image files before you load them to your website.

correct quality-to-size ratio

This is easily done with programs that come standard on most computers like Mac’s Preview program or Microsoft Paint.

If you have Adobe Photoshop you can use the Save for Web command to help you find the smallest file size that still provides a good resolution.

A quick way to reduce image file size is by changing the resolution. Open your image in your preferred image editing software and change the resolution to something smaller.

Export it in a different file format and reduce a little bit of quality. Image editing software like Photoshop or Gimp will display file size before exporting thus making it easy to review before exporting. Keep in mind image quality before exporting.

Crop the image. Sometimes it is not necessary to have the entire image displayed on your website. File size can be significantly reduced by cropping unnecessary sections of the image.

change colour depth -mode

Change colour depth /mode for simple images like illustrations or icons. You do not need to use an image format that supports millions of colours. 

Use an image compression tool like Tiny PNG and JPEG mini to make this process easy. 

The pixel sizes in your images also need to be suitable for the platforms in which you want them to appear.

For E-commerce product images should be between 750 -1400 pixels size range while banners, sliders and other larger images should be in the 1200 – 1920 pixels range.

You may already know that there are four main image file types but you may not really understand the difference between each of them. Knowing the different file types can help you choose the best one for your needs:

JPG – Also known as JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is one of the most common file formats because it uses small file sizes and is widely supported. Image quality is not always as good as with PNG files and the format does not support transparent backgrounds so there are some cases where JPG would not work.

PNG – (Portable Network Graphics) is a file format for images that provides a high resolution and supports a text description of the image that is good for SEO.

The downside of PNG is that it requires larger file sizes than JPG and GIF. It is best used for special situations like logos, illustrations, icons and other types that require transparency.  

jpg vs png

GIF – (Graphics Interchange Format) does not support a wide colour range as the other two but it is a good choice for simpler images. It supports small file sizes and transparent backgrounds – widely used for animations.

SVG – (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a vector-based image that is created using points, lines, shapes and backgrounds. SVG images can be scaled and compressed to any size without losing quality.

One can use text editors to create and animate SVG images however drawing programs like Sketch or Inkscape are more suitable.

JPG often works well for photos. GIF and PNG are more common for design and graphic and if you need a higher quality version then PNG is the way to go. SVG is commonly used for computer generated graphics like logos, illustrations and icons.

Google encourages website owners to submit a sitemap to them to help them better crawl your pages and get them added to the index. It also allows you to include images in your sitemap or alternatively create a separate image sitemap to submit.

If you use WordPress there are plugins you can use to generate an image sitemap for you, such as Google XML Sitemap for Images. If you prefer to do it yourself Google provides information on creating an image sitemap here.

Google xml sitemaps

Giving Google clear information about the images on your website will increase the likelihood of them showing up in Google Image Search. This will help increase your website’s overall findability. 

Hosting your images on your website.

Hosting your image on a third-party website can save space but involves a real risk. Anytime those sites are overloaded with traffic your images could fail to load thus creating confusion on your website and making your brand look bad.

You will be better off hosting the images on your own website by using the advice provided above to make your image file size smaller so they do not slow down your web pages.

Best-Digital Marekting Services - web hosting

And when you go with a reliable hosting provider you will always know your images and your website will show up as they should for your target audiences.

Wrapping Up

Image SEO is quite easy to do. You just need a little extra time to find the right images and optimise them for search every time you add a page to your website or post a blog.

Alternatively you can hire the skilled SEO professionals at Best-Digital Marketing. We know how to implement all these SEO strategies and more to get your website to start showing up for your target keywords.

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How To Optimise Images for SEO