What is Image SEO? Optimizing an image by size, filename, alt tags, title tags and quality to improve keyword ranking for a website by search engines. You might be asking, why would images help website traffic, they want to buy products or services. The answer to that is, in a mobile world, images and video stand out much more than text for marketing. If you sell a product, having relevant, new images will matter more than just talking about the product. Images help sell a message, without such users aren’t going to remember much from their experience. Image SEO is an on page SEO ranking factor, since websites have control over optimization.
When users do a search, especially a product based search, they are greeted with a slider of images from stores selling the searched keyword if available. Content relevancy plays a big part in image SEO, if a keyword research plan isn’t setup, then mistakes can be made, like over optimization. If a website doesn’t optimize their images, there is no chance that website can rank for a keyword via images, against competitors who have crossed every ” t ” and dotted every ” i “. Maybe in niches with no competition, but then, SEO isn’t too much of a concern for such for now, but that will change.
Images can 404, so make sure to use 301 redirects when possible, so keyword ranking for any lost images aren’t lost themselves. No niche is safe, and eventually competition will force every website to adhere to a strict set of SEO factors to compete for keyword rankings.
Image SEO consists of:
- Alt Tags – act like a label that searchbots will use to help judge relevancy for user keyword searchs.
- Title Tags – can help rank a webpage for keywords used, case studies have been done to show Google indexes title tags.
- File Naming – helps searchbots understand keyword relevancy.
- File Size – helps decrease load speed which is a ranking factor.
- Content Around Image – helps users and searchbots define contextual relevancy to further aide in understanding what keywords to relate to user searches.
- Image Captions – helps users and searchbots understand content relevancy.
- Structured Data – helps searchbots display data to be displayed for the many featured snippets and knowledge panel segments search engines have added over the years.
- Image Sitemap – will help images on a website be crawled and indexed by searchbots easier, sometimes it’s the only method, having one will increase the speed of image indexing.
- Image Relevancy – will further help with keyword relevancy.
- Image Functionality – will determine if search bots and users can even see the image, if not and the image 404’d, then the above doesn’t matter, and any gained keyword ranking and backlinks for said image will be lost. Always 301 redirect 404 image urls.
Keyword Naming Improves Image SEO
Keywords are important for images just as much as they are for webpages. Everything from the naming to the file, to the text around the image on the webpage, the alt tags and title tags. All play a huge part of keyword relevancy and without focusing on such, can harm website SEO in general. Since there are hundreds of SEO factors to consider, competitors who have done their image SEO will leave rivals in the keyword dust. The visibility alone builds trust over time, to the point that a brand is established over companies who may have been around longer but just never put much visual information out online.
In a digital world, if your brand isn’t seen, it doesn’t exist. Adwords can only help so much and for many becomes a crutch, bleeding them dry. Not every adwords click, results in a purchase, so unless product or service pricing increases, that can become a pretty costly alternative to doing good SEO. When good image SEO is done, keywords relate with image relevance, users can find the website through all the same keywords via images as they can for webpages. These images are shared, memed, engaged with in general, which sends further signals via backlinks and social media engagement to rank the image higher for various keywords engaged with.
The Image Quality Matters For Image SEO
If images are too large in file size, they can cause a webpage to load very slowly, which can affect crawling. Always use clear and crisp images that have been compressed by an image optimizer. There are plenty online, just do a search for ” web image optimizer ” and upload the image and click a button for non tech savvy. There are also plugins for various CMS platforms as well for those who aren’t able to use such websites or don’t want too. This can cause all sorts of problems, from higher bounce rates to decreased goals and lowered keyword ranking.
If image is blurry users will maybe use it for a background, but that’s about it. The same goes for images that are too small or large in dimension ( the way the image appears to users ).When images take up too much space, content is ignored and users get lost, then back buttons are hit and the cycle of bad metrics and possible keyword loss begins.
User optimization is important when considering image optimization, visual appearance makes that 1st impression, so stand out among the crowd with an original, clean and crisp image. And less is more, consider using CSS for website styling instead of images, this will keep the images to web content and not only improve website load speed but help searchbot understand context better.