While images make your content more attractive and engaging to the users, they are important for SEO too. Hence, you also need to optimize images for search engines. 

With SEO for images, you can help search engines understand your website and content better. When done correctly, you can get more exposure in the image search results too. This can help heighten people’s interest in your products and services.  

What is image SEO? 

Image SEO is the practice of optimizing your website images so that search engines can easily read and find them. Consequently, this will improve your content’s rankings and visibility across search engines, aid in faster page load times, and enhance user experience. 

Image SEO includes elements such as image type, size and load time, alt text in image file names, and usage and optimization of keywords. 

Despite its numerous benefits, image SEO is one of the overlooked elements of on-page SEO   which shouldn’t be the case, as it is a valuable asset in a website. Poor image SEO can lead to your page’s difficulty to gain links and rise in the index. 

Now, the question is: how to optimize images? We’ll take you through some of the image SEO best practices: 

1. Compress images for improved load times 

Compressing images is an important element of any good web optimisation strategy. Because it helps your web pages load faster, it provides a better user experience and helps boost the search engine ranking of your website. To compress your images effectively, you can use tools like Compress JPEG or Squoosh. Take note, however, that in compressing your images, make sure that image quality is not compromised. 

Website speed does not only impact the ability of a user to move from one page to another (along your conversion path), but it is also an active ranking factor. If your web pages are slow, Google would most likely prioritise them. To add, improperly sized images are usually the primary inhibitor of page speed.  

Here’s a tip: You can use PageSpeed Insights to check your website speed. It is very easy to use!

Simply enter your website’s URL, and Google will give you an in-depth assessment of the elements hindering the speed of that page.

2. Create original image content 

Stock photos are easy to resize. Most images you download from Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, or other vendors come in sizes that are compatible with most websites. However, stock photos are not always as effective as branded, original images.  

Curated graphs based on in-house data or high-quality, original shots of your product in action are the kinds of images that are shared on social media and are searched for in reverse image searches. 

Essentially, compelling and unique images are important to make your web pages original and valuable for your users. 

3. Use titles, captions, and alt text liberally 

Titles: There has been debate over whether image titles are important when alt text is being used. The answer is YES. Titles are ranking factors, and Google uses them in determining the order of the images provided in image search. 

Captions: Google extracts information about the image’s subject matter from the page’s content, including image title and the caption. Therefore, placing an image near relevant text will help Google in determining what type of image it is. Using captions is a bulletproof way to ensure that your image has context and is described adequately.  

Alt text: It is a written copy describing an image. Alt text plays two essential roles in SEO: 

  • First, alt text, also known as alt description or alt tag helps search engine crawlers index your website effectively. This has been proven to have a positive effect on search results. 
  • Second, alt text improves the user experience as it helps when a reader cannot load or see the image properly on their device. It can even describe the image to a visually impaired reader. 

 4. Use responsive images 

Responsive images are critical to ensure that your readers can see your images properly on any type of device. With the increasing use of mobile devices, it is important to optimise your pages for mobile to improve search engine rankings and user experience. 

If your images are not responsive, the page wouldn’t appear properly on mobile as it does on the desktop – this negatively affects SEO and gives your reader a bad perception about your brand. 

Fortunately, some web hosting service providers automatically ensure that the images are responsive.  

5. Leverage images as a backlinking opportunity 

Creating unique, original, high-quality images is not just good for your own website but is also a great opportunity to earn backlinks when other sites use your image for their website. Ultimately, images can have a direct impact on website traffic, leading customers who click on your images to your business through your marketing efforts.  

6. Try lazy loading 

Lazy loading can go a long way in increasing page speed. It is an optimisation technique for online content be it for web app or the actual website. Instead of loading the entire web page and rendering it to the user in one go (as in bulk loading), lazy loading only loads the clicked section and delays the remaining, until it is required by the user. This helps in improving website performance and speed while saving system resources. 

If you are a WordPress user, you can check out a few widely preferred lazy-loading plugins like Lazy Load by WP Rocket, A3 Lazy Load, Smush and Autoptimize. You can even check out Google’s guidelines on the subject. 

Read: The Complete Guide to Off-Page and On-Page SEO  

 Don’t skimp on image SEO 

We have listed some of the low-hanging image SEO action items to implement on your website. Keep in mind that you do not use all of these, but you can definitely use as many of them as you can, as long as you apply them correctly. You just need to prioritise, select what’s the most feasible for your strategy, and then you can take it up from there.  

You can even outsource your SEO services to experts like Bigrock. Our professionals offer best-in-class managed SEO services to help you get your website ranked across top search engines through keyword research, tracking, analysis, and more.