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Optimizing Images for Search Engines

Images drive more than 25% of online traffic. Optimizing images for Search Engines can increase your organic traffic by allowing your images to rank higher in Search Engine image results.

Search Engines like Google cannot process images the same way humans do, so they instead process an images data to understand what
the image is about, such as the caption, landing page content, and image attributes. With SEO for images, you can help Google
understand your image content better, your site will rank higher in Google image results, and you attain an additional source of free
organic website traffic.

Read on to understand how to optimize your images for Search Engines, and how image optimization fits in as part of your overall SEO strategy.

5 Tips to Optimize Images for SEO

#1: Make sure your images can be found 

Search Engines need to successfully crawl your images in order to index them and display them on the image results page. 

This means before you can begin to optimize, you must ensure nothing is preventing your images from being accessed by Search Engines. Make sure your images can be found by including them in your XML sitemap, and by correctly configuring your robots.txt file. 

If you are using a CMS, there are plugins available to generate an image sitemap – for example, on WordPress, you can use Yoast, All-in-one SEO, or RankMaths. 

#2: Customize the Image Name & URL

It may be tempting to upload a picture with a generic name like image123.png. Much the same way Search Engines analyze page titles from websites, these image names will be indexed. They will be more likely to rank higher on the image results page if a specific name is used to describe the files, and follows the tips from our article on how to do SEO research

Using the “How to Improve Page Loading Speed with Campaign Sherpa” image below as an example, this is a poor URL path: /wp-content/uploads/2022/03/1646977796257004_1712707454-1.png

An SEO-optimized version would be: /images/how-to-improve-page-loading-speed.png

how to improve page loading speed

#3: Choose The Right Image Size and File Type

Site speed is an SEO ranking factor, and you should work to improve website speed where you can. The larger the image size, the longer it takes for the website to load, so it is recommended to keep the size of images smaller by compressing them without compromising the quality. For tips on how to do this, see our article on How to Improve Page Loading Speed with Campaign Sherpa Also, when it comes to Image SEO you want to make sure you choose the appropriate file type. Aligning with our article, in general WebP produces high-quality pictures with smaller sizes, but you should choose the right format for your image.

#4: Add and Optimize Image Attributes

The image tag <img> is the HTML tag used to display or add an image in a webpage. The image tag creates a space for the referenced image on the page. The tag has two required attributes: The src, which specifies the path to the image; and the alt, which specifies an alternate text for the image if it cannot be displayed,

  • The All-important ALT text
    Image ALT is an invisible tag that visitors cannot see but Search Engine crawlers can. The ALT text helps to provide a signal to Search Engines on what your content is about, so it is best to incorporate primary keywords that you also target in your SEO strategy. ALT is also used for website accessibility in situations where images can not be viewed. If a visitor uses a screen reader or your pictures are not loading, your ALT text will appear as an alternative.
  • Image Captions
    Image captions describe the image to your visitors. They accompany your images and provide context. Keywords should also be naturally incorporated into captions for best results.
  • Img srcset attribute
    You should use a combination of the imgsrc, and srcset, with width descriptors for the browser. You can find information regarding the img srcset in our Page Loading Speed article. We discuss how you should create multiple image versions of the image (minimum of 3) and tell the browser how large the images are in the code.

    The image source set has a large impact on SEO and user experience as well, because it impacts how images appear on different devices such as mobile phones. Google also uses a mobile user-agent to crawl websites, so it will pick up the mobile friendliness.

    With this attribute, you can serve multiple image sizes to users, with each device receiving a specific image size from the batch you upload.

    Example <img> tag
image sizes to users

#5: Last But Not Least – Page Authority

The highest ranking Images are those from high authority pages. This is the key reason why image optimization is a complement to the overall Search Engine Optimization Strategy. Page titles, meta descriptions and optimized content from the pages adds relevance to your images, and are a key factor in ranking high for both search and image results.

If you can make time for the tips explained above, and incorporate them into your overall SEO strategy, you will give your website a competitive edge on Search Engines.

If you do not have the resources or time for SEO, Contact us now