When businesses do SEO, the focus is almost always on content: the text, the keywords, and the meta titles. “Content is king” remains the battle cry of many campaigns, so much so that they overlook other elements that could help boost rankings. Case in point: images often take the backseat because businesses think they don’t do much to improve rankings.
Photos, however, may just be the key to search engine success in the future. A 2017 study found that 26.79% of all queries are made on Google Images; 3% of clicks on the Google search results go to images. On top of that, Google made it easier to go to the webpage where a certain image comes from. About a year ago, Google added a “Visit [webpage]” button on the image results.
So, your website could get relevant traffic from images. As you fortify your site with keywords, optimize your images too. Then, they’d rank on Google Images and direct more traffic to your website.
Here are three tactics you can use to optimize images for search:
Use High-Quality, Original Images
Just as you publish excellent articles, you should include high-quality images in your webpages. As much as possible, use original photos (this is non-negotiable when we’re talking about product images).
Additionally, you can explore novel types of images, like infographics, 3D renders, and maps. Your audience may also have creative ideas for images. The next time you send them a software survey, include a few questions about the pictures they want to see.
Pay Attention to File Name, Format, and Size
Give your images optimized file names. Yes, even file names offer optimization opportunities. Ideally, insert keywords that the image could rank for. Exclude articles like a, the, and in, and instead of using spaces, separate the words with hyphens. A good example would be “blue-ceramic-mugs.jpeg”
Image formats are crucial, too. Choose the proper format from the following:
- JPEG – JPEGs are SEO-friendly. If you don’t need a transparent background, best go with JPEGs.
- PNG – Use this if you want to preserve background transparency.
- SVG – This is a vector-based format that works for logos, icons, and high-resolution images.
- GIF – This is ideal for simple animations that don’t need a lot of colors (GIFs are limited to 256 colors).
Before you publish, make sure that the images aren’t wider than the largest desktop screen resolutions, which are about 2,560 pixels wide. Remember, UX is extremely important for SEO. If the image is too large, your visitors have to wait a long loading time and zoom out to see the entire picture. Your viewers – and by extension, Google – won’t appreciate that.
Add an Alt Attribute and Structured Data
In case the reader can’t load the image, an alternative (alt) text ensures they still catch the information about the image. As much as possible, include the SEO catchphrases in the alt text.
Structured data also helps search engines interpret your images and, consequently, increases the chances of ranking. It can give you a fleshed out listing in the Image Search. This also enables Google to display detailed product information in Google Images and entice readers to go to your site.
While it’s not a popular technique, optimizing image search can give you an advantage SEO-wise. After all, the competition grows tougher each year. In 2020, go beyond traditional keywords and take advantage of image search optimization before your competitors do.