If you aren’t already, here are a few ways that you can use images to enhance your SEO results.
Content creators and marketers know just how important images can be. Not only do they bring your content to life but they can enhance your SEO efforts too.
Taking the time to optimise your images and use them more strategically can make a difference to your search engine rankings. Here are a few tips will help you get the most out of your online images.
If there is a way to incorporate an image into your content, do it. Images will help tell your story and give readers a better understanding of what your content’s all about. Google has also recently revamped its image search interface, making image optimisation even more important if you want to stand out from competitors.
First prize is if you can use an image that you’ve taken or created yourself. Want to include a photo on your About Us page? Rather take a photo of your actual team instead of finding something generic on a stock website. The images you use should always be highly relevant to the content on that page. If you don’t necessarily have the time to take or create your own photos and images, try to source photos from alternative sources instead of the usual stock photo sites. You could even try a completely different type of image to really change things up, GIFs being a good example.
Google should know exactly what an image is about without having to view it, which is where the file name comes in. Make sure that you are using a keyword in your file name and that it clearly describes the photo. Placing the key phrase at the beginning of the file name is ideal.
There is no ideal format when you’re optimising your images but if you know that your target audience uses very specific devices or browsers, you may want to stick to specific formats. For example, PNG is ideal for preserving background transparency while JPEG is generally used for larger images.
Since speed is such an important aspect in SEO, it’s essential that your images aren’t slowing your site down. Reducing image file sizes will help speed up your site and there are a number of tools that can help you do this, JPEGmini and ImageOptim being two of them.
Using responsive images ensures that users can view the entire image on any size screen. If you’re running your site on WordPress, your images will automatically be responsive.
Image captions can’t be used with all images but if it makes sense to add one, it will definitely enhance your user experience. Most people will scan a web page, which is when headers, bold and highlighted text, as well as captions, really make a difference. According to Poynter Research, captions are read 16% more than text.
Alt tags offer a brief description of an image and are beneficial in situations where a reader has turned off images in their web browser. An alt tag should be added to every image that you use and should include at least one keyword. Both search engines and readers should be able to make sense of the description.
While adding structured data to your images won’t necessarily help you to rank better, your Google image search listing will definitely look far more appealing. Along with the image attribute being required, the images that you’re optimising should also be indexable and crawlable.
If you want to provide Google with more information about the images on your site, it’s recommended that you create an XML image sitemap. Not only will it allow Google to discover new images but it will also tell Google which images should be crawled and indexed. Tools such as XML-Sitemaps.com can help you do this.
Optimising your images may seem like a lot of extra effort but once you have a set formula and a solid collection of images that you add to on a regular basis, you will quickly see how beneficial image optimisation can really be.