Even though SEO may seem complicated to the uninitiated in the beginning, getting a grip on it becomes easier once you appreciate that everything present on the world wide web is either a piece of content or a link between multiple pieces of content. In conventional terms, content that has the maximum number of inbound links is considered to be more valuable and is ranked better by search engines like Google. While the number and quality of inbound links are considered as off-page SEO, there are also a large number of factors that are included in on-page SEO. Among them is image SEO, which is one of the most ignored SEO topics for ranking.
The process of optimizing the images present on the website to enable search engines to easily find and understand their context so that they can assist in the task of boosting the online visibility and page rankings. There are multiple factors involved in image SEO such as the type of the image, size of the image, the loading time, as well as the use of keywords and alt text in the file names of the images. Despite being very important for SEO, it is, unfortunately, one of the most overlook aspects and at the end of the day, poor image SEO can lead to the loss of valuable organic traffic and the opportunity to gain leads and effect conversions. The good news is that making the necessary tweaks for effective image SEO is not difficult at all. Some of the most effective image SEO tips discussed:
Reduce Image Sizes
The size of the images uploaded on the website has a direct link with the speed of the page loading and since the website loading speed is one of the biggest factors considered by Google, it assumes critical importance in the ability of a page to rank well and attract traffic. When the web pages load slowly, Google tends to penalize them by driving their ranks down. This is what makes image compression such a vital thing. Running the PageSpeed Insights tool can be very useful in obtaining a detailed assessment of the components responsible for slowing down the page loading. There is no dearth of image compression tools available online that can do the job very effectively and allow you to boost your page loading speed substantially.
Use Next-Gen Image Formats
The PageSpeed Insights report usually recommends users to “Serve images in next-gen formats.” Most people are accustomed to using JPFG or PNG images for uploading to the website and while these file formats are still dominant, encoding the images in the new-gen file formats like JPEG 2000, JPG XR, and WebP ensures faster loading times and less mobile data usage. This is something that users are very sensitive to considering more than half of all web traffic now emanates from mobile devices.
Create Original Images
Using stock photos is the easy way out taken by many content creators as not only do you get all the subjects you want very easily but also in sizes that are appropriate for uploading on to the web. However, stock photos are far less effective than original and branded shots, especially if they show your products in action or are curated graphs and charts based on data generated in-house. Original image content has more chance of being shared on social media and is also more frequently searched using reverse image searches. More importantly, original images contribute a lot to making your page appear original and more valuable to users, which is a very strong signal to Google and other search engines for a rankings boost. According to https://www.searchenginejournal.com, original high-quality images have a far larger impact on SEO than stock images.
Make Liberal Use
Despite Google become smarter with each passing day, it still has a relatively limited amount of information when it comes to determining the image to be returned in response to a user query. This makes it very important for content managers to try to provide Google as much information as possible in the allotted spaces. The three primary spaces available are alt text, title, and caption. Alt-text is normally invisible to the user unless the image does not load properly when it can be read by users on the screen, however, search engines always have access to it. Alt text represents the primary method by which Google can understand the meaning and context of the image, so in terms of SEO, it has huge importance.
Including the main target keyword as well as other keywords that apply to the image is recommended. While there has been a fair amount of debate regarding the use of image titles where alt text is being already used, however, it is evident that Google considers them in its image search algorithm. Captions, according to Google are a source of information about the image’s subject matter drawn from the content in the proximity of the image on the webpage. Using image captions are a good way of making sure that your images are described appropriately and in their proper context.
Social Media Sharing
Since social media is ubiquitous, it is also important to make certain that the images on your website are displayed properly when someone shares them on his social media account. This becomes important in the context of social media becoming increasingly important in generating organic traffic and sending strong social signals to the search engines. Verifying the source code for the elements and mock posting your webpage on Facebook or Twitter can be a good way of checking how your page displays on them. Depending on your CMS, you can implement Open Graph tags or if you are using WordPress, using Yoast can be useful for ensuring social media share-ability.
All the tips described earlier are very useful for ensuring that the images on your website are SEO-friendly and are empowered to drive traffic to your website and get you the desired boost in search rankings. You should make an effort to implement as many of them as possible to get the best results.