You must already be using images in your blog to grab user attention and make your content more engaging. But do you optimize images for SEO? Are your images helping drive more traffic to your blog?
Why Optimize Images?
On our other blog, Super Dev Resources, image searches drive around 5.49% of total search traffic as seen in below screenshot. This is because along with on-page SEO, we also focused on optimizing our images for better search engine rankings. And in the process, we made mistakes, learned from them and applied these learnings to create better search engine optimized images.
In this post, I am happy to share with you the techniques and strategies that I have used, learned and you can also apply to create search engine friendly images and generate more traffic for your site.
Optimize Images for SEO
1. Use High Quality Images
High quality, beautiful images appeal to users over unclear, blurry images. When users do Google image search, images are displayed as thumbnails. Clear, sharp images are more likely to be clicked by users and drive traffic to your site. Therefore create and use high quality images for your site.
Read my post to know where to find free high quality images. You can use images from these sites to create visuals in image editors like Photoshop. Or, you can use online tools like Canva and Pixlr to create beautiful images for your blog.
2. Choose the correct Image File Type
The most commonly used image file formats on the web are, JPG and PNG. If you need to include animation in your blog, you can use GIFs since they support animation and can help with user engagement and retention. Use these standard file image file formats in your post that people are searching for.
3. Give Images Informative File Names
The image filename helps search engines understand the context of an image and display them in search result. Think from the perspective of Google, if you use non-descriptive file names like ‘DSC01887.JPG’, is it possible for it to decipher what this image is about from its name? No, right. Try to create short, keyword rich file names for your images.
4. Provide Descriptive alt Tag
In addition to providing relevant file names, use alt tags to describe your image. Image alt attribute provides information regarding the subject of image to search engines. The text that you use in alt tag is displayed when images fail to load for users. Thus by including alt tag in your image, you are not only boosting your image search engine ranking but also delivering a better user experience when your images don’t load. And Google gives higher rank to sites that provide great user experience.
If you are using WordPress blogging platform, you can easily insert alternative text as seen in below screenshot.
5. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
While it is important to give descriptive file names and alt attributes to your images, do not overstuff them with keywords. It is recommended to use short 3-4 word keyword-rich descriptions. Avoid filling them with unnecessary keywords, as it may hamper your site ranking.
6. Reduce Image Size
If your image files are huge and are slowing down your site, you need to address it. Otherwise users will abandon your site, it can lead to high bounce rate thereby hampering your Google search ranking.
Before uploading an image to your site, it is efficient to resize it according to your site’s content width. Else the images will be resized by browser. This resized image will be smaller than the original (in resolution), but its file size will be same as the full size image and will slow down your site’s load speed. There are also many online tools that you can use to further decrease image file size after resizing.
In some cases like infographics, it’s good to include optimized image in the post with link to its full resolution version. When users click on the image, they can see all the details that can be missed at lower size. This will help reduce image file size in your post and deliver better user experience as well.
7. Provide Context to Image
To help search engines understand the subject matter of your image, it is important that images are placed near relevant content. It is advised not to place your images before page title, nor use themes that encourage this. In case you are using such themes, try including image in your post as well. And wherever possible, try to provide good, descriptive captions to your images.
8. Protect your Images
Finally you also need to protect your blog images. Since images can be copied and used by others, it can result in multiple copies of the same image online. You can prevent unauthorized use of your images by adding watermark or copyright text to your images.
Over to You
How about you? Do you optimize your images for SEO? Share your experience and learnings with our readers in the comments below.
I have shared these techniques on creating search friendly images based on my blogging experience on Super Dev. Hopefully these techniques will help you generate more traffic from your images as well.