Image SEO Tips
Images are one of the elements of SEO that oftentimes get overlooked. While most people understand the importance of a visually appealing website, many forget that images constitute a significant source of search traffic. A picture can be worth a thousand words, but photos that are not optimized fall short of their potential for search engines and users.
The following outline will help you add an extra element of strength and visibility to your content.
1. Use Good-Quality Images that Add Context
I can’t tell you how many times I have read a blog that has a generic photo of random hands typing on a laptop. For some content, this type of imagery might make sense, but most of the time, it is obviously something that the author grabbed last-minute because they needed a hero image. Consider what your content is talking about and how an appropriate image can help illustrate those ideas.
2. Ensure Images are the Right Format
If an image file size is too large it can significantly reduce your page load speed. As a rule of thumb, keeping image file sizes under 100KB will help pages load within a reasonable time. The “right “ file format will change based on how you are using each image.
- JPEGs are easy to compress and are the best option if your images do not require a transparent background. This file type can display a high-resolution image with a wide array of colors.
- PNG is the format you will want to use for images that have transparent backgrounds like logos. The resolution for PNGs is high, meaning they can be enlarged to many different sizes while maintaining high quality. The downside to PNGs is that they create a larger image file size, which can slow page load speed.
- Gifs can be used for animations and simple art. Gifs can be both static, similar to photographs, or can contain motion.
3. Use Descriptive Image File Names
One of the most overlooked aspects of image optimization is the image file name. Google and other search engines use the file name as a clue for what the subject matter of an image. In order to give the best clues, use file names like “tacoma-narrows-bridge-night.jpg” instead of “IMG001.JPG.”
4. Use Alt Text
Alt text acts as the description for images and is used by screen readers, which is important for website accessibility. The general advice from Google on writing alt text is that it should be useful and information-rich. An easy to use format for creating image alt text is to simply finish this sentence:
“This is a(n) image/photo/drawing of _____.”
5. Use Captions (When Necessary)
Captions can help to give context to images, and search engines use them along with image titles to gain more information about the subject matter.
6. Don’t Rely on the Text on Images
It is important to remember that search engines and screen readers are not able to read the text that is contained in images such as an event poster. If you have text information on an image, remember to annotate that in the alt text.
Additional Resources on Image SEO
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