Our 8 part guide on all aspects of SEO, from how search engines work to the effects of UI and UX.
There are numerous factors that contribute to good SEO, such as having quality content and relevant backlinks etc. Another important factor is to ensure any images are optimized to make sure you benefit from the features offered. Along with a boost in your organic results optimizing images for SEO has other benefits.
For example, Google now shows some images directly on their search results, and images on search results help to boost click-through rates (CTR). Such benefits, and more, help make it a no-brainer to rank your images on Google.
But how can you ensure your images rank on Google? This article looks at the answers.
What is SEO for Images?
SEO for images involves optimizing your images to make it easier for Google and the other search engines to understand what the content is about. Once Google knows this information, it has the information it needs to rank your image and your website accordingly.
Why Are Images Important?
As mentioned, images are great for ranking and CTR, but that’s not the only reason to use them.
For example, people become notoriously impatient when browsing online and want to spend as little effort as possible to find what they need. Images can help in this regard because they give visitors information visually that they can mentally digest in just a moment. This can then encourage the visitor to stay and read on, hopefully resulting in more conversions.
How Google Uses Images to Enhance its Service
Google uses images in two main ways to enhance the service it provides to its users. These are presenting images according to their accompanying context, or a reverse image search.
How Google Uses Context When Using Images
Google uses numerous metrics to determine the context of images, helping them show the right images to the right people. Some of the metrics include the following:
· Site Authority
Google will know which topics a website is an authority in, and they want to present their users with authority sites on a given topic. As such, your images will need to be related to the topic you’re an authority on in order to rank highly.
· File Name
When using images online, search engines will also be able to read the file name. Unfortunately, many people don’t do this, missing an opportunity to help them (search engines) understand what your image is about. For example, instead of using a generic file name – 012333102551CPM04485.jpeg, use something descriptive – Companylogo.jpeg
· Image Quality
Poor-quality images can give users a poor impression of Google. As such, it makes sense they will want their users to see the best possible image quality, such as those that are not pixelated. Hence, quality images are more likely to rank and help make your company look professional.
· Use Structured Data
Structured data helps give Google even more context about your content, including images. Using structured data can also make it more likely your images will appear on search result pages, potentially boosting your visibility and CTR. To check if you are using structured data on your page, use this tool.
· Image Placement
Google places emphasis on where your images are located on your page, with those towards the top given priority. Hence, it’s best to have relevant images located toward the top of your content.
· Mobile Friendliness
Most people will use a mobile device to browse online, making mobile friendliness important. Mobile friendliness means ensuring your website loads quickly on a mobile device, and this includes using small image sizes.
How Google Ranks Images in Reverse Image Search
Google’s reverse image search tool lets users search using an image rather than by text and other data. The platform then uses algorithms to identify shapes, colours, and other identifying information to compare the image provided with other images found online.
For example, if you see an ornament you like but have no information about it, Google reverse search can help you find that information. To do this, it analyses images closely and returns results of ornaments that are identical or at least similar. In theory, the results should show stores selling the ornament or reveal other helpful information about them.
A reverse image search is also very easy to perform and can be done in three ways.
- Drag and drop: If you have an image available on your device, just drag and drop it into the search bar and Google will do the rest
- Upload file: Google lets you upload a file by telling the search engine where it is located on your device
- Search by link: If you have a link to an image online, you can ask Google to perform a reverse image search using the URL
How to Optimize Images on Your Website for Great SEO
Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to optimize images for SEO. Here’s a brief look at some of the simplest and most effective methods.
· Use Alt Text
Alt text lets you provide a description of your images, giving Google more information to help you rank. Ensure your Alt text is descriptive and relevant to the image and the rest of the content on the page.
· Use the Right Keywords
Keywords remain an essential component of SEO. After all, how else will Google know you have what people are looking for? As such, make sure to do your keyword research and, where possible, incorporate those keywords in image descriptions.
· Use Small Image File Sizes
Ensure your images are not too large in terms of file size. File size can have a profound effect on your SEO ranking because Google doesn’t like web pages that take too long to load. And remember that many people don’t have access to fast internet, so what’s fast on your machine may not be on others.
· Use Contextual Images for Product Pages
Use relevant images strategically placed on your product pages, and other places where appropriate. It’s best to have them located toward the top of the page. Doing this can help improve your CTR while it can also help your product might also appear on some reverse image searches.
Image SEO can be just as essential as all other SEO services. Not only can optimized images help boost your SEO rankings, but they can also help improve your CTR. Using optimized images will also help make your products and website more visible to reverse image searches.
Optimizing images is also straightforward and mostly involves properly labelling them using appropriate search terms and descriptions. Remember that image placement is also important,= and that you should keep your image file sizes to a minimum. With the right optimization practices, your images can become a powerful digital marketing tool for your business.