8 Tips to Optimise Images for Better Search Engine Ranking
There are Several Techniques You Can augment Images for SEO Rankings
It is a given. Images enhance a website thus enriching the visitor’s experience.
The human brain accepts and processes imagery a whole lot faster than it does text which is highly likely the statistics are correct when they explain why articles with pictures are favoured more than those that don’t have them.
When you introduce relevant graphics within your content, you’re assisting your reader to understand your products while building a trusting relationship with you.
Images are worth their weight in gold.
You’re improving your visitor’s experience. This alone is crucial when you’re chasing Search Engine Optimisation.
But that is only the beginning. You’ve got to have relevant images, and it’s essential you get the recipe right.
We’ve dedicated this article to sharing several techniques you can use to augment images for those search engine rankings.
1. Using the Right Images
As mentioned above, it is vital your images are applicable to the content you want to convey. Imagery that doesn’t compliment and support your content is apt only to confuse your reader. On the other hand, when your pictures reinforce your pertinent text you’re upping the ante on your ranking.
Avoid being drawn to use ‘pretty’ pictures that do nothing but clutter valuable space and frustrate opportunities to add SEO value.
There is no excuse for failing to find the right image when the choice is expanding daily. We’ve found some popular options where you can source your pictures.
- Better than anything else are the photographs you’ve taken with your camera or smartphone which provide high-quality images, and it’s perfectly legal.
- Stock images can be located on Pixabay and Unsplash who offer free CC0 licensed images, or you can source thousands from premium sites like Shutterstock and iStock.
- GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) images are entertaining and are often used for concise animated clips on social media. They can assist to add interest to your message. GIPHY is one site where you’re bound to find something to fit your requirements.
And if you’re interested in creating your own clip, there’s an app for doing just that. You might also enjoy exploring ScreenToGif and GIFMaker.
- You also have tools on sites like Canva, Stencil and PicMonkey all of whom offer loads of options so that you can create and experiment with illustrations and text overlays.
2. Keywords and Image Filenames
Most stock image websites and other sources where you can find your pictures have only applied generic filenames. These labels do not assist search engines to interpret the image because they do not have the ability to ‘see’ images.
That’s why every image you provide must have a line of descriptive text under it so that the search engine can ascertain what it is. Another tip you need to adhere to is to rename your chosen images.
If you have an image of a Lamborghini and its file name is Image by Photographer vehicle / shutterstock.com the search engine will not be able to decipher what the image is unless it has a file name that suggests it is a Lamborghini which will be easily optimised.
Providing an appropriate filename assists search engines while also taking advantage of using keywords. However, think about your filename carefully because there are some things you shouldn’t do.
So long as you make your filename readable and relevant, search engines will work well for you.
3. ‘Alt’ Text
Alternative text (alt) text is used by search engines to clarify the image file and to establish the image or images most suitable for a response to a search query.
It will offer a description of the subject matter together with the relevance of the page on which it appears. But with low bandwidth connections, some images can’t be displayed so in its place you might be faced with a message, not an image.
If you’re using alternative text, then it makes sense to optimise it as well. However, remain vigilant. Google frowns upon keyword stuffing. And bear in mind all of your alternative text should be grammatically correct and flow intelligibly.
Adding alternative text to your WordPress website or blog is very easy. Navigate to your Media Library, select the image of your choice, enter a logical description in the Alternative Text box and then click save.
4. Image and Captions
As discussed earlier, captions assist search engine ranking, but also your content flows easily when corresponding text is added under the image. Both the picture and the filename remain separate to the body of content, giving it deserved space.
Captions are scanned by readers first which equates to 300% more of the actual content but to offer more than captions, is to accurately describe the picture in your surrounding text.
As earlier mentioned, captions with images that are in close proximity to your content are favoured by search engines. With your filenames that are closely descriptive, adding keywords often assist as well.
5. Correct File Types
There are different image files, and they’re applicable to different uses. We’ve covered GIF’s, but there are two more formats we need to cover.
- Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)
- Portable Network Graphics (PNG)
The leading difference between JPEG’s, PNG’s and GIF’s is size, corresponding quality and load times.
JPEG files have the ability to be compressed without losing image quality until they have been saved and edited multiple times. That’s when quality is compromised.
PNG files are different. Their quality doesn’t degenerate when they’ve been saved several times. PNG’s can be very large, but they’re able to be compressed into very small files and are suitable for brands and logos.
GIF’s don’t degrade at all, but they do not support the multiple colour choices as PNG’s and JPEG’s so are mostly used as icons, line drawings and text and of course small animations.
There will be times when image conversion to a different format is required, and there is a host of tools you can use, like Online Convert, Covert My Image and CoolUtils.
6. Reducing File Sizes
Images store a load of information which makes them larger than you need them to be so reducing the size will optimise page load time. SEO favours that too. Image reduction saves you some bandwidth and occupies less storage space on your server. And with all that, image quality remains pretty much the same.
Using an online converter like CompressJPEG makes the job easier. You can select some .jpg or .jpeg images, drag and drop them, wait for compression then download or archive them in a Zip file.
Some others you might prefer are Image Optimizer, Microsoft Office, TinyPNG and Reduce Images Online and also WordPress has plugin options.
7. Image Sitemaps
Sitemaps are the feeding grounds for search engines. Typically, a sitemap will contain HTML in structure and organisation and will be included behind the curtains of your webpages. Google offers the opportunity to add extensions to sitemaps, so that information about any videos, images and content makes it easier for the engines to crawl and index your selections.
Sitemaps do a job themselves. They help search engines discover images they may have missed or not otherwise found.
If you haven’t got an image sitemap, Google has instructions on how to create your own. Also, if you’ve got Divi, it makes it an easier task to place all your optimised images on your page or article and if you desire, will optimise your image further.
Wrapping It up
Images make a website or article, and they have the power, provided they’re the right ones for your content to pump up your search engine ranking.
By taking into account the relevancy, the format and adding carefully thought out captions, you’re in the running for an experience that will also, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, that of your visitor. And when it’s all said and one, it’s about them isn’t it?