Image SEO is not just optimizing or using alt tags for images. There are a lot of things to optimize images for to get a higher ranking on search engines.
So today, I will let you know all the things that need to optimize images for better SEO and more organic traffic.
First, let’s see what is Image SEO exactly.
What is image SEO?
Image SEO is the process of optimizing any graphics on a webpage for indexing and ranking on search engines. By optimizing images, the search engine can able to know about the image and helps in ranking the content.
Image SEO is very important if you want to make your content more engaging and want a higher ranking on Google image search results.
Now the main question is, how to optimize images effectively for SEO?
There are a few important image optimization tips that I have mentioned here for you so that you can start image optimization for your website now.
You can also watch below the complete tutorial on image SEO from John Mueller who is a search advocate at Google.
12 Tips to Optimize Images for SEO in 2023
Below are all the necessary tips to optimize images for better search engine rankings.
1. Use Images in Content
The presence of images in content makes the content more appealing. It adds value to the content and hence better search engine ranking. Also, users like the content that is explained using images as it becomes easy for them to understand it.
So always use at least one image in the content for better user experience and engagement.
2. Use Unique and High-quality Images
There are a lot of websites that are using the same free stock photos. And thus they don’t stand out and don’t rank well on search engine ranking. If possible, use unique, original, and high-quality images in the content. It will make your content stand out and increase the user experience.
According to Google, if you are using large images in the content then it must be at least 1200 px wide as large images are easily featured in Google Discover.
3. Give Proper Name of Your Image Files Before Uploading
If you are uploading images captured from your mobile or camera or uploading free downloaded images then the file names will be like this, “IMG0000658.JPG” or “photo-152977.jpg”.
Can you guess what the image is about using its name? If you can’t then how can any other user or search engine will know about the image.
So before uploading the image, rename it. You can use keywords in the image file name.
For ex: if I am uploading an image of a cat then I will name the image file as “White Cat”, “Cat”, “Cute Cat”, etc. You can use the name according to the content.
See the following image for reference.
4. Use SEO Friendly Alt Tags and Title Tags
A human can know what the image is about by directly seeing it but search engine spiders can’t. Here’s the alt text that plays a major role. If you use the proper alt tag to the image then search engine spiders and visually impaired users become able to know what the image is about.
Even if your image doesn’t load the search engine will be able to find the image information using the alt tag provided to it. This will help the content to rank better.
You can do keyword research and use the right keywords as alt tags but make sure you are not over optimizing the images as it will create a bad impression on Google.
Same as alt tags, you can use title tags. Though it is not more important for SEO it helps in better user experience.
5. Compress Image File Size
If you are uploading images without compressing them then the page load time will be very high and thus the bounce rate will increase.
As you know that speed is a very important factor for search engine optimization. So always upload compressed images for faster page loading. The ideal size of a compressed image is 100 KB.
There are a few recommended image optimization plugins that will help you in optimizing image file size.
After optimizing images, you can check the speed test of your webpage using the following tools,
To know more about image compression, a detailed guide is provided here.
Read also, How to Load Website Faster in 2023
6. Use The Right Image File Type
You can use JPEG, PNG, or GIF image types in your content. It all depends on the content requirements so it is not mandatory to use only one image format in the content.
- JPEG: It is best for high resolution and high colored images.
- PNG: It is best for line drawings, text, or iconic graphics.
- GIF: It is best for showing any moving object.
To know more differences between the above image formats, you can read this article.
For fast web page loading, you can convert images to the latest and advanced WebP format.
7. Define Image Dimensions
Always define your image’s width and height attributes for a better user experience. The image dimensions are very important for Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). By defining the image dimensions, you will notice an improvement in CLS.
You can learn more about image dimensions here.
8. Use Lazy Loading for Images
Lazy loading means images load only when they are required to show on a display. Lazy loading will help you in improving the page speed.
For ex, if you have an image below the half content and a user sees the top portion of the content only and leaves the page then the image won’t load and hence the page will load quickly.
Also, Google recommends lazy loading for faster page speed.
“Lazy loading can significantly speed up loading on long pages that include many images below the fold by loading them either as needed or when the primary content has finished loading and rendering.”Google
You can see the lazy loading of images in the following video.
You can implement lazy loading on your website using WordPress plugins. There are many plugins for this but not all are performing very well. So I recommend WP Rocket which has built-in lazy load features and also works very well.
9. Leverage Browser Caching
By enabling browser caching, a web page loads faster than before for a repeated user. That means, if a user visits this content, the whole content will be loaded and it will be stored in the user’s browser and when that user visits this content again in the future then this content will be loaded from the user’s browser cache. So there is no need to download the whole content to read it only if browser caching is enabled.
“HTTP caching can speed up your page load time on repeat visits.”Google
10. Add Structured Data for Images
If you implement the structured data to your pages then it will help Google to display images as a rich result and hence increase the organic click-through rate.
For ex, if you have written about a recipe and used structured data for that recipe then Google will add a badge to the content’s image showing that it belongs to the recipe.
Google Images supports the following types of structured data,
- Product Images
You can learn more about how to add schema markup or structured data to your page on Google’s Structured Data Guidelines.
11. Use Image CDN
If you are not using image CDN then all your website data will be served from a single location. And hence your website will load quickly to only those users who are near to your server location. Other users will have to wait longer to see your website content.
For ex, if your website server is located in the USA then your website will load faster to USA users only. But other country users will have to wait for more than USA users as the website data (images) have to travel longer due to the long distance.
If you use an image CDN then whenever a user visits your website, the website data will load from the nearest server to the user.
You can use one of the following best CDN for your website.
12. Create Image Sitemap
Creating an image sitemap will help you in the faster indexing of your website images. You can add your website images to the existing sitemap or create a separate image sitemap.
Following are the different tags that you can use in your image sitemap.
FAQs on Image SEO Optimization
How do images help SEO?
Images add value to the content and increase the user experience and thus it helps in better ranking in SERPs.
Which is the best Image File Format for SEO?
It depends on the content requirements. But still, I recommend the PNG file format. It is the best image format for SEO and outputs better results even after compressing the image.
What is the best image size for SEO?
An image of less than 100 Kb size after compression will be the best for SEO.
How to name images for SEO?
You can provide a well-descriptive text for the image name. You can also include keywords in it but don’t overuse them for all images.
As images are very important for better SEO, they must be optimized well from the starting level (renaming images before uploading).
From any point of view, I recommend using original, unique, and high-quality compressed images in your content for better user engagement and search engine rankings.