Optimizing your website or blog images for SEO is one of the significant factors in on-page optimization. A blog post without an image is like a bank without cash. An image can convey the idea about the post to readers ever before reading it. On the other hand, if you use an image without sufficient attention, it will impact your web page badly.
A carefully selected and optimized image can increase the time readers spend on an article or post and drive a huge amount of traffic from Google image search and other search engines.
There are some bloggers who don’t pay attention to optimize the image, without knowing it can drive traffic to the blog. If you’re one of them, then the guide below will help you make up for that problem.
Image Optimization For SEO Techniques
#1 Add Relevant Image
As I mentioned above, you have to pay attention to properly select an image related to the web page content. From the image itself, the visitor gets an idea about the webpage and they feel it like a professional website, which helps you to earn a good user experience.
Using images on your blog, you have to be vigilant. You are not allowed to use any copyright protected images from Google image search. You can face troubles later on, when the owner of the image find it out and he can take a legal action as well. But you don’t need to worry about it, as you can get royalty free images from the following sites –
You can get many online graphics tools like Stencil which help you to create awesome images as per your requirement.
#2 Use Suitable Image File Name
Before you upload an image to your server, the first thing to do is rename that image to a descriptive name that includes keywords you want the image to rank for.
A filename is a good place to hide a keyword, since only the search engines can see it. Having your keywords in your image helps tell the search engines what your image is about.
This is especially important for images you download from the internet and that you are using out of context. If you leave your image without a relevant image name, you are leaving an opportunity for one more use of your keyword on the table.
By default, an image file name will be like this image645.jpg. Web crawlers and bots identify everything if it is text-based.
From the reader’s viewpoint, a proper image filename may not create a huge difference. But from a search engine viewpoint, it makes their work easier to know about the page content.
#4 Write ALT Text
It is the short form of Alternative text. In short, it tells a description of what an image is about.
This is another way of emphasizing your keyword without making your post unreadable. Like the filename, the alt text is typically unseen by your readers unless the image is unavailable.
An image without an Alt text cannot be read by the search engines. If you enter a relevant Alt text, search engines are able to understand the image details like where the position is and what the image is about which in turn good for your site’s SEO.
These scenarios demonstrate when an alt text is used:
- A linked image is taken down, so the alt text appears in its place.
- A visually impaired user is using a screen reader to read your post and cannot read non-text content.
- A search engine spider is indexing your image, and since it cannot see the context of the image, need the alt text to describe it.
In this post we are focusing on scenario number three which has search engine optimization implications.
If you would like to use HTML, add alt=”enter alt text” in the image tag. Check the below example –
<img src=”speak-english-fluently.jpg” alt=”how to speak English fluently”/>
For a WordPress website, you can use SEO Friendly Images plugin to add an Alt tag to your images.
Here are some best practices for using alt tag:
- Naturally describe your keywords. Don’t just stuff them.
- Make it as keyword rich as possible.
- It should be brief and to the point.
#3: Add Long descriptions
Like an image alt tag, long descriptions (longdesc) provide contextual information about an image.
If you have an image of a child crying, there may be a lot more to say about the crying child than ‘child crying’ which you may have added to the alt tag.
You may want to add why the child is crying, who is with the child in the picture, where they are and so on. All those details may struggle to fit into an alt tag, but would naturally fit into a longdesc.
To add the image long description to an image, you have to use the longdesc tag and add the url of the page that describes the image in details.
alt=”crying child” longdesc=”This is a sample text” />
#5 The Format of Image
Usually, we use four image formats – JPEG, PNG, WebP and GIF. Each format have different features, let’s check out what the differences are –
JPEG (JPG) – JPEG is one of the extensively used image formats and it compresses an image to a smaller size. Even though we don’t feel any loss in the image quality but it does lose a little bit. Since it takes less time to load, most bloggers use this format.
PNG – PNG provides high-resolution images even after compression. But in terms of file size, it has larger than GIF and JPG. PNG format is the best choice for those who look for a high-quality image or the images with transparent background.
GIF – GIF format is widely used for small size images. It supports animation and transparent background. Due to the limited range of colors, it cannot be suitable for big images.
So we can conclude that JPG format can be used for photo purposes. If you want high resolution and web graphics images, then you can go to PNG and GIF.
#6 Image Size
The loading speed of your site is a vital factor for search engine ranking. Adding large size images on your blog post will slow down the page loading speed which will make a negative impact on SEO and reader experience.
Make your images as small as you can without affecting the quality of the image.
Another important tip is that you should not allow a browser do image resizing for you.
When you add a smaller height and width size that makes an image look smaller than its actual size, the large image is loaded first, before the browser applies the resize.
CMS like WordPress has the option to resize the image using the post editor even after uploading the original image. But still the original image is saved in the WordPress that will slow down your site’s speed.
There is no specific size to optimise your images for search engines. But always try using small images in a photo editor like Photoshop before adding an image to your blog post and for WordPress users, you can use the Smush.it or Shortpixels plugin to reduce the size of the image without losing its quality. Online tools like PicMonkey help you re-size images.
#7 Submit Images to Your Sitemap
We all know that sitemap makes it easy for the search engine spiders to crawl your web pages and get indexed quickly. So that we generate a sitemap for our blog and submit to different search engine’s webmaster tools account.
Since images play a key role in driving traffic to your blog, you need to make sure all images are getting indexed. You can use Undira All Image Sitemap plugin to create a sitemap for images and submit it to various search engines is also a best practice to image SEO optimization.
#8 Add Captions
Captions are the text descriptions that can be seen just under the images in your blog post. Even though you don’t get any SEO improvement, but a compelling caption can get your reader’s attention and increases readers engagement.
Opportunities to optimize that image starts from the title of the page, headings used in the page and text used above and below your image. The more relevant your content is to the image, the easier it is for the image to rank.
Don’t get excited and spam your content with keywords all over the place.
If you are writing the relevant content just to please the search engines, then you are doing it wrong.
Let’s Wrap It Up
In order to gain the maximum SEO benefits and drive traffic to your blog, not only focus on optimizing articles but proper image SEO optimization is very crucial. In the beginning stage, you may feel overwhelmed by all the above-mentioned steps. But gradually it becomes simple and you will see a positive outcome.