If you own a website, you’d know how useful images are when it comes to maximizing user engagement.
Apart from making your written content more readable, using images also improves your posts’ shareability on social media and the audience’s ability to retain information.
With the right approach, images may also help boost your website’s SEO. On top of the higher on-page engagement, more social media shares will also increase your content’s visibility to other users and potential influencers — thus, giving it more chances of naturally earning relevant backlinks.
This begs the question: “How exactly do you make images more SEO-friendly?”
If you’re wondering the same thing, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll talk about seven proven SEO strategies for your website’s images.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Develop Original Images
New bloggers, solopreneurs, and underfunded startups often rely on stock images to supplement their content.
While they can definitely grab your target audience’s attention, overusing stock images on your website will make it difficult for your brand to stand out. More importantly, it can make your selling points less convincing to prospects who’ve never heard of you before.
The good news is, you don’t need to hire a graphic designer to create unique images for your content. With a simple tool like Canva, you can whip up professional-looking blog featured images, infographics, and social media graphics within minutes.
In addition to the pre-made templates that will help you save time, Canva also features an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that makes image creation a breeze.
2. Choose an Appropriate Filename
The thing about image optimisation is that search engines don’t understand what they are by looking at them. Instead, they look at the accompanying bits of text that are used to describe what the image is all about — starting, of course, with the image’s filename.
A lot of website owners tend to use images without modifying the original filename assigned by the camera. Unfortunately, file names like IMG_2442.jpg or 201801415_12994.jpg are nowhere near effective in describing what’s on the image.
What you need to do is to insert keywords into your images’ filenames to make sure search engines can make sense of them when they’re loaded. For example, if you have an image of a bluetooth speaker, consider a filename like “wireless-bluetooth-speaker.jpg” instead of “IMG_0022.jpg.”
3. Optimise the Alt Text Tag
Short for alternative text, the image alt text tag is just as important as filenames as far as SEO is concerned. But aside from helping search engines get more context about your image, the alt text tag can also help users in certain situations.
Remember, the alt text only shows if the image fails to load properly on a user’s web browser. This could be due to internet connectivity issues or specific browser settings that disable the rendering of images.
Although editing an image’s alt text isn’t as straightforward as changing it’s filename, the process should only take less than a minute to complete. For example, if you use WordPress, you can easily change an image’s alt text tag by heading to your media library, locating the image, and modifying the “Alt Text” field.
You can also manually insert an alt text tag into an image via HTML.
Suppose the code for your image is as follows:
You can add an alt text by adding the following:
<img src="http://msite.com/uploads/cute-cat.png" alt="Cute white cat in box">
Here are a few tips you need to remember when writing an alt text for your images:
- Include your focus keyword at least once
For an entire blog post, see to it that at least one of your images contains your focus keyword in the alt text.
- Be descriptive
For the rest of the images on a single post, try to be as descriptive as possible when assigning alt text tags. “Buy now” buttons, for example, may have an alt text of “buy button for product ABC.”
- Avoid spamming keywords
Rather than stuffing all your keywords into image alt text tags, prioritise adding as many relevant images as possible.
4. Use the Right Format
At this point, you’re probably already familiar with the different image file formats used all over the web: JPEG, GIF, and PNG.
You may think that these formats, particularly JPEG and PNG, can be used interchangeably for different kinds of images. However, choosing the right format will actually imperative in maximising your content’s quality and your website’s performance.
To help you determine which image format better suits your needs, here’s a quick rundown of their key differences:
- PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
Out of all the most common image formats being used online, the PNG is the most superior in terms of quality. Apart from having a high color range, it also supports image transparency and automatic gamma correction — perfect for creating high-resolution logos, background images, and infographics.
- JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
The JPEG image format is the most popular file type for photographs on the web. Despite being widely compatible and compact, JPEG images use lossy data compression, which can noticeably reduce image compression.
- GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)
Finally, the GIF image format is pretty much unusable for photography and high-quality graphics because it only supports 256 colors. It is, however, the only file type that can be used for simple animations found on social media, online message boards, and chat applications.
5. Optimise Your Images for Loading Speed
For on-page SEO, your website’s loading speed is one of the elements you need to pay attention to.
Not only is it a well-recognised ranking factor, loading speed also directly affects other performance metrics that are tied to a website’s profitability, including conversion rate, page dwell time, and bounce rate.
Statistics show that a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load would lose roughly 40 percent of its traffic on the spot. That’s nearly half of your potential leads gone before they even get to see your content.
Since high-quality images may require a lot of bandwidth to load, you need to perform the necessary optimisation strategies to keep your site running buttery smooth. One of which is to use the right compression tool to quickly reduce the file size of your images while minimizing any changes in image quality.
Compressor.io, for example, supports both lossless and lossy compression methods for PNG, JPEG, and GIF images. All you need to do is upload your image, wait for the tool to finish the selected compression method, and download the new file.
If you own a website that relies heavily on images, such as a photography blog or an online store, you can leverage a CDN for a significant performance boost. Put simply, a CDN is a network of proxy servers that work together to store, manage, and distribute cached website content to users.
6. Submit an Image Sitemap
Although creating your own sitemap might seem intimidating, it actually follows a very simple coding process that even beginners can accomplish by themselves.
Here is a template provided by Google that you can use to create your own image sitemap from scratch:
You already know that high-quality visuals enable content to reach further, engage more people, and earn more natural links through social media. To get the ball rolling, make sure you integrate social sharing that allows visitors to share your images straight from your page.
SumoMe’s Image Sharer is perhaps the best tool you can use to get the job done. It lets you add an overlay to your images — containing sharing buttons for Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter without needing a single line of code.
SumoMe can also integrate a floating sidebar into your website that allows visitors to share any page or post. This makes it a true, all-around tool for those who need to enable social sharing on their website.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a blogger, an online entrepreneur, or just a website owner in general — SEO is a puzzle that can be quite confusing to piece together. Everything on your website, from your keyword targets to your internal link structure, can have an impact on your search engine rankings.
With the instructions above, optimising your images for higher search engine rankings should be a breeze. Just remember to take one step at a time and be patient — none of these strategies are designed to produce overnight results. Cheers!