SEO in images: 11 steps to optimise your photos
Nowadays, visual content is very important at a communicative level. Images or infographics are much more effective, achieve a greater impact and improve the user experience. Therefore, SEO optimisation in images has become a key point to improve the positioning of your website. And not only that, you have to take into account the Google Images search engine. If we manage to appear in the first positions with our photos, we could increase the number of visits to our website.
But, what are the most important factors for images to position better and help improve the positioning of your website? Here are 11 tips.
1. Choose the right image format
Before uploading an image to your site, you should make sure that you have chosen the best file type. Although there are many image formats, PNG and JPEG are the most common for the web.
- PNG: It produces better quality images, but has a larger file size.
- JPEG: You may lose image quality, but it allows you to adjust the quality level of the file.
2. Compress your images
You should compress the images before uploading them but be careful not to over compress. You also have to decide, depending on the place or importance, if the image needs more or less quality. It is not the same an image placed in an important place of your website like the home page than an image in a post.
One thing is clear, the lighter the photos are, the better the loading speed will be. You will be better valued by search engines and you will improve the user experience. There is no specific file size, in the past it was advised not to exceed 100 Kb, I personally upload images up to 150Kb. To compress them there are tools such as:
- WP Smush (plugin of WordPress)
To check the loading speed of your page and see how much the file size affects it, you can use the Google tool PageSpeed Insights.
3. Use original images
If you only upload images from free photobanks, you will not stand out from hundreds of other sites that use free photobanks. If you really want to make your business stand out from the competition, you need to think about buying images from paid image banks or uploading photos you have taken yourself. The more original images you have, the better the user experience will be.
You must ensure that there is no copyright conflict. If you don’t have a licence for an image, you risk being sued for millions of dollars. Therefore, before uploading a new file, make 100% sure that you have all permissions and licenses.
5. Optimised file name
When it comes to SEO for images, the file name is a key point. If you upload a file called “IMG_2341” you will be missing an optimisation opportunity. File names should be descriptive and contain, as much as possible, the keywords you want to rank for. This will help search engines understand what your image is and will improve your ranking.
Let’s say you are writing a post about “types of coffee”. When naming the files, you should describe the image and try to introduce some of the keywords for which you want to position your post. An example of a file name would be “cafe-latte” or “kinds-coffee-capuccino”. As you can see, there are no spaces, but words are separated by hyphens (-); neither empty words nor strange characters such as “ñ” or the use of accents.
6. Alternative text or ALT Text
ALT Text tags or alternative text are useful for images to be interpreted in terms of accessibility (for blind people the ALT text is translated into speech) and also for usability, since if the image does not load, the alternative text will appear instead. In this sense, we must pay close attention to ALT tags in our SEO strategy for images. The latest updates of Google’s algorithm (BERT) seek to quickly discover the search intentions of users and the ALT text provides Google with useful information about the topic we are dealing with on that page.
For example, let’s go back to the “types of coffee” post. The alternative text for a Café Latte image would be:
<img src=”cafe-latte.jpg” alt=”cafe latte of Italian origin”/>
This alternative text will help both users and search engines.
7. In line with the text
The first thing to consider is where to place the image in our text. We must know very well what the content is about in order to place images that add value and complement the information in the text. If you place images that do not have much to do with the content, this will worsen the user experience and, therefore, indirectly, the positioning of your website.
8. SEO-On page affects on Google Images
In relation to the Google Images search engine, Google revealed that everything related to on-page SEO influences the algorithm for image search. In other words, all basic SEO factors, such as metadata, header tags (H1, H2, H3…), structured data, etc., affect how Google ranks your images.
9. Use always the same dimensions
It is advisable to define certain dimensions in terms of width and height; and apply it to all images. This will give your website more proportionality and improve the user experience. On the other hand, if you use AMP or PWAs on your website, the dimensions of your photos and images are set by HTML code.
10. Images must be mobile-friendly
In case you didn’t know, Google uses the mobile version of your website to index the contents and classify them in the SERP, this is known as Mobile-first. So we have to be very aware that the images are perfectly adapted to our mobile version. Normally there are usually no problems and the images fit perfectly to the size of mobile devices, but it is always good to check both the loading time and the size of the images.
11. You should include them in the Sitemap
Our last SEO tip for images has to do with the Sitemap. If we want to make sure that our images are found in the search engine, they should be in our Sitemap. If not, some of the images you upload to your website may not appear in Google Images. If you are a Wordpress user, the Yoast SEO plugin has an option to enter images in your Sitemap.
Before uploading an image to your website you should go step by step, starting with the format, the size, the file name… The most important thing is to make sure that the image and Alt Text are relevant to the place on the page where you place it. SEO optimisation of images is a factor that can help you to considerably increase traffic to your website. So keep this in mind.