For people surfing the web, attractive images are probably one of the first things that instantly grab their attention. Images not only enhance the visual appearance of a website but also increase the chances of more website traffic. A website without high-quality images would fail to engage your target audience. Likewise, unoptimised images on a website could affect your SEO campaign by making your website sluggish, hurting your rankings. Bad images also lead to a poor user experience. Let’s look at what Image SEO is and its importance through the latest statistics. Along the way, we will give you a few tips on how to optimise images for search engines.
A. What Is Image SEO?
Image SEO or Image Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimising images on your website to make it easy for search engines to read and find them whenever a related search query is made. Consequently, it works on improving the ranking and visibility of your content in search engines. It also has a great impact on your organic reach, which can greatly contribute to your SEO strategy
B. Why Image SEO Matters – Latest Statistics
- Google images account for approximately 22% of all search engine market share, i.e, the entire World Wide Web. (Contentking)
- Research claims that 63% of the clicks made on images will turn into site traffic, attracting more users or potential customers. (Brightedge)
- SEO for images is highly valued as 65-85% of people prefer to describe themselves as visual learners. (TrendReports)
- Online content with attractive images gets 94% views in comparison to those without images. (MDGAdverstising)
- Pinterest is a powerful visual discovery engine that has 459 million active users globally every month as of January 2021. (HubSpot)
- Photos and imagery posts are the most-used content type across social channels to increase audience engagement. (HubSpot)
- Images on Facebook receive 20% more engagement compared to videos and 352% more engagement compared to links. (MDGAdverstising)
- 67% of customers rely on the quality of the product image while selecting and purchasing the product, deeming it as important. (MDGAdverstising)
- 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business if local search results can provide an image of the same. It ensures authenticity. (MDGAdvertising)
C. Tips To Optimising Images for Search Engines
1. Pick the right file format
Choosing the correct image format is the first and basic step to ensure your images load swiftly with proper resolution. There are different types of image formats available, the most popular being PNG, JPEG, and GIF.
- JPEG is the best image format for images with lots of colours, large photos, or illustrations
- PNG is suitable for simple images like graphics, screenshots, or images that require transparent backgrounds
- GIF is for moving graphics or animations
2. Resize Your Images and Image Compression Rate
The size of the image and the file size are not the same.
- The image size is the dimension of an image, measured in pixels.
- File size, on the other hand, is the amount of space needed to store the image on the server, usually in kilobytes.
Images with higher resolution and larger dimensions slow the page load time, hence the need for resizing the image. You can use the Resize Image After Upload plugin to resize all website images (WordPress.) This plugin also helps compress images.
Consider the image compression rate once you have finalised the image format. Too much compression can ruin the image quality, while very little compression will increase the file size. Ensure to select the right compression rate for your image to create SEO-friendly images.
3. Pick the right image dimensions
Images with the right dimensions ensure they don’t negatively impact the page loading speed and user-friendliness. An oversized image is a waste of bandwidth and bloats your database, which may hamper website speed. Hence, use an image SEO tool such as Specify Missing Image Dimensions plugin that helps add missing attributes (width and height) to images.
4. Add the right filename
Naming images for SEO is essential as it helps search engines to understand the subject of the image (what is it about). When naming images, use the focus keyword as the image filename.
For example, if you are using an image showing a visual of the nighttime lighting in Paris, your image filename shouldn’t be random numbers or alphabets like DBS578.jpg. An appropriate filename for the same would be the-eiffel-tower-nightlights-paris.jpg.
This ensures the main subject of the photo is at the beginning of the filename and descriptive.
5. Use Descriptive ALT text and Add Captions
An ALT text describes an image, which is important for accurate indexing as it makes it easier for search engine robots to understand the context in which they are placed. An ALT text (alt attribute) is also displayed when the browser can’t render images due to slow internet speed, thereby helping enhance the user experience.
- Choose a relevant and descriptive ALT text and include keyword
- Avoid using too many keywords, as it is considered spammy
Image captions are the words found directly beneath the images. They may or may not have a direct impact on SEO. But are added to improve user experience. It can help reduce bounce rate, having a positive impact on rankings.
6. Use high-quality images
If you are trying to improve ranking, using Google images won’t help. For better results, you need to use high-quality images that reflect professionalism. Using unique images or real-life images is also a better alternative to stock images as they help drive engagement. Plus, using high-quality, optimised product images is essential for eCommerce websites.
7. Use lazy loading
Lazy loading is when the browser delays image loading or any other objects like videos or gifs until the user scrolls down the screen. To implement lazy loading on your website, use the Lazy Load plugin. This plugin can help improve your site’s load time, ensuring the images load as and when needed. Apart from offering a good customer experience, it makes your website faster, leading to a better ranking.
8. Make your images mobile-friendly
Most sites are accessed via mobile phones today, accounting for over 50% of all web traffic. This makes it all the more important to ensure the images on your site are mobile-friendly. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check whether or not your images are mobile-friendly. This tool also suggests tips on how to optimise images.
Further reading: How To Install, Activate And Setup Yoast SEO For WordPress
9. Use image sitemaps
An image sitemap is an XML sitemap that lists all image URLs on a site, essentially acting as a blueprint that helps search engine robots crawl and index a website accurately. Once you create a sitemap, submit it through Google Search Console. WordPress also offers various plugins to create an image sitemap such as Simple Image XML Sitemap.
10. Utilize schema markup
Schema markup helps search engines understand the contents of your site better, improving the brand’s presence. It not only works great for your site’s content, but is also relevant for optimising images for SEO. Google shows relevant badges on thumbnails when searched on mobile as image search results. So, if your site contains images, using appropriate structured data on your page can help users determine the type of content associated with that specific image. This helps users find relevant content quickly, attracting a greater target audience.
Optimising images is a great way to improve your website’s performance. It helps speed up website speed, improves user experience, reduces bounce rate, leading to better website ranking and more organic traffic. Go ahead and make the most of these tips and begin with optimising your site’s images today. Contact us if you need help or want to know more about our seo services surrey.