For most people, when you mention Search Engine Optimization, keywords are what come to mind. But there’s more to SEO than keywords, content pillars and cluster topics.
First, let’s take a broad look at SEO
There are three types of SEO, all of which work together to improve a website's ranking. I like to look at them as the three main organs of a body. When one isn't working optimally, it’ll affect the others.
I thought so!
Off-page or Off-site SEO refers to the actions performed outside your website to help it rank on the search engine results page(SERPs)
As the name suggests, On-page SEO refers to measures taken directly within the website to improve its position in SERPs.
Technical SEO refers to server and website optimizations that make it easier for search engine spiders to effectively crawl and index your website to help improve organic ranking.
As you can see, there’s a whole lot that goes into SEO, but in this article, we’ll take a deeper look at Image optimization.
Simply put, image SEO is optimizing images on your site using contextual information so that both bots and humans can understand them.
Why is image SEO crucial?
Because images are an essential part of your website’s design and user experience. When correctly optimized, they significantly impact your website’s performance, helping it rank higher in SERPs.
According to data from Jumpshot, over 20% of all U.S. web searches happen on Google Images.
That’s huge! And Without properly optimizing images, you are wasting a valuable SEO asset.
According to Google’s Gary Illyes, video and image search are often overlooked, and SEOs ought to be paying more attention.
“We simply know that media search is way too ignored for what it’s capable of doing for publishers so we’re throwing more engineers at it as well as more outreach.”
Optimized high-quality graphics, for example, stand a better chance of appearing in image searches. This consequently drives more traffic to your website. Image SEO also lowers bounce rates, improves UX, improves load time and increases engagement.
Image from Witty Content Writers
All high-performing websites you’ve come across have taken effort and time to optimize their images.
There are various ways you can optimize images such as:
Using High-Quality ImagesAdding Alt TextCustomizing Image File NamesInserting Title TextUsing Captions and the <figcaption> TagCreating Unique ImagesEnsuring Surrounding Text Matches Your ImagesAvoiding Keyword StuffingUsing Accurate Names and TextCreating an Image SitemapServe Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Images
Let’s look at four great actionable practices for Image SEO.
Choosing the right size and format for images is one of the ways to significantly impact image SEO. WebP, JPEG, SVG, and PNG formats offer different advantages depending on your website's needs.
WebP images have small image sizes optimized for the web and lossless compression. For less complex images like logos, SVG images provide good quality for such small file sizes.
Although they tend to be smaller, JPEGs are of low quality. In contrast, PNG files have higher image quality and larger file sizes. As such, they’re best suited for highly visual websites.
Displaying images at their full size isn’t necessary for most websites. Overly large images increase load time and take up unnecessarily more server space. That’s why you need to compress and resize images before you upload them to your site.
You can do this by:
Alternate text is a brief description of the content of an image. When the graphic can’t be displayed on a site, the alt text is what’s visible. It also helps those who are visually impaired understand visual content using screen readers.
Search engines use alt metadata to determine what type of content is in the image and page. That’s why including keywords in alt text enhances your image SEO. Just be sure to use keywords that match the content of your images.
An image sitemap is a document carrying all graphic elements on your site. It helps search engines rank your content faster and more effectively.
Google's guide on image sitemaps shows you how to add image sitemaps to your site. It’s possible to integrate an image sitemap into a normal sitemap or have it completely separate.
Image from Image Maps
An image on an isolated page may be overlooked in place of more accessible or popular content. But by using a sitemap, all your valuable visual content get’s accounted for. It also helps search engines discover it.
With common WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast and Rank Math, you can include images in your sitemaps without worrying about code.
According to Statista, as of June 2022, mobile device traffic worldwide was at 58.99%. This goes to show just how essential mobile-friendly responsive images are. They adapt easily to different mobile devices, allowing users to easily interact with them.
Offering various versions of an image helps web visitors’ browsers select the most appropriate graphic size for them, avoiding any odd placements.
Optimizing images is no joke. Advancements in voice search technology have made media increasingly important and optimizing images is a great way to reap the benefits of this very often overlooked way to improve your content and help rank higher in SERPs.