Websites use visual elements like images to add more interest to their content. Images make any piece of content appealing. They are also used to illustrate and break down complicated topics to assist a user in understanding them. Images are used all across a website including blogs. Marketers are already familiar that images can boost their SEO efforts. However, many overlook the power of image optimization.
When optimized, images can help improve your SEO. Image optimization will allow search engines to index your images for the right keywords, which can help improve your rankings. In addition, image optimization reduces the page load time and creates a better user experience.
In this article, we will discuss how you can optimize images on your website to improve your SEO.
What is image SEO?
Image SEO is the process of optimizing the quality, readability and indexability of images on a website to gain better rankings on web and image search. Images are an important part of website content and just like content needs optimization, so do images.
Here are some important image SEO strategies you need to know about.
Name the file appropriately
The first step to image SEO is naming the file appropriately. The search engines should identify what your image is about. Use a focus keyword or phrase when you name the file. Keep the name straightforward and relevant to your keyword and content. Using file names with random letters or numbers is a bad idea. Rename your file and ensure that the main subject is highlighted in your file name.
Choose the best format
The common file formats for images are JPEG, PNG and GIF. There is not one right format, it depends on how you want to use your images. For larger photos and good quality, you can use JPEG. JPEG also has a small size compared to the other formats that reduce page load time. These images are also flexible and can be edited and compressed easily. PNG can be used if you want a transparent background. They can show high color depths, but they are bigger in size. GIFs are moving images that can be used if you want to create web animation.
Although JPEG is a commonly used format, PNGs are good for graphics. These files can also be easily compressed to the desired file size.
Reduce file size
Page loading time is an important part of user experience which impacts SEO. When your site loads fast it creates a better experience for your users. Slow websites will often drive away users due to their loading speed. Image size impacts loading speed. Hence, it is a good practice to compress images before uploading them on the website. Tools like Photoshop or even WordPress plugins can help compress image size without taking away the quality. This ensures that your images are not affecting your site speed.
Scale images that go with your website
Along with image file size, also pay attention to the image dimensions. Scale your images appropriately to match your website format. This depends on your CMS and format of your web page. Your images should fit nicely with your content, not looking too big or too small. Sometimes your CMS automatically resizes the image. An image that is too big will have many pixels and can have an impact on your site speed. To ensure that you are using the correct size, find out your website’s optimal image size and then crop images before you upload them.
Use unique images
Stock photos are easy to work with in terms of sizing. Images downloaded from Adobe Stock or Shutterstock and other sites have sizes that are compatible with most websites. However, using stock photos all the time can make your website look unoriginal. Many websites use stock photos that end up looking similar. An original and high-quality image can have a positive impact on your SEO. Original images can help create a better user experience and help improve your rankings.
You can create images that display data or graphs about your industry or business. These images can help you tackle complicated topics by describing them to your users in an easy-to-understand format. Unique images can make your content more interesting and original to your users.
Add Alt text to images
Alt text, also known as alt descriptions or alt attributes are used in an HTML code to describe the image’s appearance and function on a web page. Using alt text on images creates a better user experience and can also improve your rankings. It is useful to readers who use screen readers or those who are not able to see the image due to server issues. Also, search crawlers can’t see the images on a website. Hence, it is best to provide accurate description of your images that will allow you to rank for relevant keywords and help improve your rankings.
With alt text you can include your target keyword in this image description. This gives you an opportunity to improve your SEO.
Include titles and captions
Like alt text, image titles and captions provide accurate description of your image. According to Google, titles and captions are ranking factors. According to Google, it takes information about a subject from the page content including image titles and captions. Hence, include accurate title and captions for your images to help Google identify your content.
Use an image sitemap
According to Google, images are an important source of information about the content on a website. When you provide information about images and URLs of your images it is easy to discover them. Hence, adding sitemap increases the chances of search engines to crawl and index your images. In WordPress and Yoast SEO, images are automatically added to your sitemap.
Create responsive images
It is important to optimize your images for mobile devices. Many users are going to access your website from mobile and other devices. Hence, you need to create a better user experience for people using these devices. So how to optimize images? Create responsive images. This helps your images scale with the size of the site whether a user is using a browser or mobile device. To specify responsive images use the <img srcset> attribute. This piece of HTML code shows the browser to load different versions of an image based on different screen resolutions.
Image SEO can give you opportunities to improve your rankings and this should not be ignored. So before you upload images to your website be sure to follow these optimization strategies.
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