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6 Tips To Optimize Images For SEO

In the previous chapter – 25 Important Factors To Be Considered As Part Of Your SEO Efforts, we learned about all the important factors that when implemented on our website will boost our search engine rankings. In this chapter – 6 Tips To Optimize Images For SEO, we will learn more about optimizing website images that help in improving search result rankings – especially on the vertical search. We have to understand the fact that, images on our webpage are one of the very important on-page SEO elements. 

 

Tips To Optimize Images For SEO

 

First and foremost, we have to clearly understand the fact that, search engines are not clever enough to read content on an image or watch a video to understand its content. That is the reason, it requires the webmaster/website-owner to clearly indicate to the search engine what exactly is the image or video is all about through other means called – IMAGE OPTIMIZATION and VIDEO OPTIMIZATION.

Let us learn how to do it.

6 Tips to Optimize Images For SEO

Tip #1: Describe the image in the surrounding text

In order to make search engines sense [ or guess ] the meaning of the image with respect to your text content, make sure you describe the meaning of the image in the surrounding text.

For example, if your image on your webpage is about chicken biriyani, add terms related to it like “chicken biriyani recipe” or anything similar to that and it should seem natural to the search engines with respect to the image and the content.

A WARNING NOTE – Do not stuff keywords.

 

Tips To Optimize Website Images For SEO

Tip #2: Give meaningful names to images

Search Engines loves images with appropriate and meaningful names and considers it as a factor to rank websites/pages on the top of search engines.

Do not give random names to images. For example: “image-01.jpg”, “image-02.png”, or “pic-01.jpg” are considered as a bad SEO practice. The right SEO practice is to give meaningful names to images that convey the meaning of the image. The multiple words in the image name can be separated by a hyphen.

Try to name images on a page as closely as possible (using synonyms) to the keyword(s) for which you are trying to optimize that particular page. Do not go overboard and stuff keyword(s).

For example, if an image describes students who just graduated from college, you can name the image as “just-graduated-students.jpg” instead of “students-who-graduated-from-college-and-are-happily-jumping.jpg”.

just graduated students

 

Do not use long image names as it unnecessarily increases the URL of the image location. A brief descriptive name with a well written “alt attribute” and surrounding text content will help search engines understand the meaning of the images.

 

Tip #3: Add meaningful “Alt” attributes to images 

If your webpage has images as part of its content, it contains an “Alt” tag. “Alt” tag stands for Alternative tag. It specifies an alternate text for an image in case the image isn’t displayed appropriately by the browser for various reasons like slow internet connection, the problem with the image source etc.

Another use of text in the “Alt” tag is for people who are blind and have a disability in reading the page. Such users use screen readers to read contents on the page. But screen readers cannot see an image and “Alt” text tells them what the image is.

To check if your website images have an alt text associated with it in the “Alt” tag, then, just roll your mouse over the image. If an alt text is placed in the “Alt” tag, it would display the text.

As far as SEO is concerned, it is very important for your webpage images to have the primary keyword(s) as alt text in its “Alt” tag.  Google takes these keyword(s) into account while evaluating your website for organic rankings in SERPs.

If you have multiple images on the webpage, place each primary keyword(s) on each image. Understand only one keyword (s) per image. Do not stuff keyword(s). Place it naturally and strategically.

The text should also convey the real visual meaning of the image. Think of blind readers who are trying to understand the image. If you are optimizing for the keyword(s) “Digital Marketing Training” and have students in the picture, then, the alt text can be written as follows:

<img src=”students.gif” alt=“Students attending Digital Marketing Training”>

Also, another important note is that, keep your images’ “Alt” tag text in brief. A small image, say a photo of a writer next to his article, can have an “Alt” tag text containing only his name. If in case of a bigger image, you can add more text to the “Alt” Tag – preferably 10 – 12 is the maximum limit.

 

Tip #4: Optimize images for quick page load

Quick page load time is one of the most important factors that search engines consider as part of their algorithms to serve search engine results. Pages with very poor page load time will never be ranked on top of search engine result pages.

Images with heavy file size are always one of the biggest culprits in bringing down a webpages’ loading speed.

Consider the below points carefully:

  • On an e-commerce site, the maximum time a user waits for the site to load is 1-2 second.
  • Internal research by Amazon has found that, if the loading speed of their website reduces by even a second, they would lose more than a billion in revenues per year.

Therefore, it is very necessary for you as a website owner to make sure, your images are optimized for quick page load speeds. Reducing the dimension will not help, rather, reducing the file size, maintaining the quality of the image is a good bet to improve page speeds.

If you can decrease the size of the image files on your webpage and increase page load speed, will drastically reduce the number of people going away from your website.

There are several ways to reduce the image size. Among many, I would recommend the below two options.

  • Use HTML 5 <picture> element or use a JavaScript or web design techniques like “Image Compression”.
  • Another way is by using the “Save for Web” command in Adobe Photoshop. Make sure while adjusting the image to the lowest file size, you do not run out of quality.

 

Tip #5: Choose Right File Type For Your Need

There are three common file types that are used to post images to the web. They are JPEG, GIF, and PNG.

For storing images related to line drawings, text or iconic graphics, PNGs is always considered to be a good choice.

For storing photographs and realistic images, JPEG is always considered to be a good choice. Using JPEG, we can also store images related to line drawings, text or iconic images.

Though GIFs can do the same things as PNG, PNG is considered a better option compared to GIF.

Also, when it comes to PNG and JPEG, JPEG is the best because it is a lossy compressed format while PNG is a lossless compression format.

 

Tip #6: Use Image Sitemaps

One of the ways, to improve your images web presence is to inform search engines about your images through an image sitemap. Search engines cannot crawl images that are not specifically called out in the webpage source code.

Therefore, in order to let search engines know about images that are not indexed, you must list their location in an image sitemap.

To submit an image to Google, you can use Google Search Console.

Congratulations! You are done with the eleventh chapter on “6 Tips To Optimize Images For SEO”. Hope you enjoyed the reading.

Congratulations

All the best for your next chapter on “6 Tips To Optimize Videos For SEO”. In the next chapter, you will learn about those important factors that are to be considered by optimizing your website videos as part of your SEO effort.

Feel free to comment below if this blog post was useful or not. If yes, please do me a favor by sharing it with others who might benefit.

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Subhash.K.U is a Professional Programmer turned Digital Marketing Enthusiast. He is the most sought marketing consultants for small and medium scale businesses. He founded Subhash Digital Academy to teach professional digital marketing skills to students, entrepreneurs, and working professionals. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is an Oracle Certified Programmer. He also holds certificates of Google AdWords, Facebook Blueprint and Hubspot Marketing. He is the co-author of the best selling book – Cracking The C, C++ and Java Interview published by McGraw Hill. He is now penning another book on the subject of marketing and entrepreneurship.

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