SEO & Digital Marketing
Optimizing Website Imagery for SEO
An effective SEO approach leverages much more than just effective copywriting on a website.
A comprehensive SEO campaign includes a strategic plan for curating images that resonate with your audience while remaining relevant to your content. Google shares the importance of imagery as well as helpful tips on image optimization on their guidelines for image publishing. In combination with these resources, consider the following when optimizing imagery for SEO on your website.
Understanding Image Optimization
Using High-Quality, Relevant Images
Slow load times are a key factor in SEO success, so proper implementation is important to driving visibility and conversion. Note that an image that’s unrelated to the content on the page may be confusing for the user, and one that’s blurry or badly cropped will make your page look unprofessional or not credible. It is a must to incorporate images that represent the overall objective of the page and at the same time, can be viewed and understood easily by the user.
Avoiding Copyrighted Images
Be mindful of using copyrighted images. If original photos are not in your wheelhouse, it is better to stick to free stock photos that are found on a lot of resources online that provide free images. Additionally, traditional stock photo libraries can provide a database of effective imagery to help support text content on your website.
Appropriate Naming Conventions
Before uploading images to your webpages, take time to customize the filename properly to something that’s relevant to the page and includes one of your target keywords for the website. Most visitors will never see the filename, but it gives you a way to provide search engines a little more information about what’s on the page and the best keywords to associate with it.
Utilizing Alt Tags
Provide alternative text for every image you add to your website that will show up in place of your image if a browser has trouble loading it. This text is one more part of the page that you can use to signal to search engines what the page contains. Include your primary keyword for the page and something descriptive of the image itself.
Finding the Right Quality-to-Size Ratio
Site speed is an SEO ranking factor, so if your visitors have to wait a while for a page on your site to load, it's terrible for the user experience and your performance. Avoid using pictures that are too big for your website to load. You can make your website faster while still displaying images at a high resolution by resizing your image files before you load them to your site.
Selecting Proper File Types
For basic websites, JPEG is the most suitable file type to use because GIFs and PNGs are likely to degrade in quality to remain at the same low file size. However, PNGs can be an excellent alternative to both JPEGs and GIFS as well. Be sure that your content management system, or CMS, is built to support the intended file types throughout your website.
Adding Images to Your Sitemap
Google encourages websites to submit a sitemap to crawl pages and get them added to the index. By giving Google clear information about the images on your website, you increase the likelihood of them showing up in Google Image Search, improving your overall web presence and increasing traffic, engagement, and conversion.
Hosting Images on Your Website
The easiest route is to host the images on your website on a third party website to save space. However, with this approach, there is a risk of if your website becomes overloaded with traffic; the images can take much longer to load, or worse, fail to even load. Instead, it’s better to host the images on your website and incorporate other ways of optimization.
Including images on your website can significantly improve SEO performance as well as the overall user experience for your visitors. However, it’s important to consider the best practices above in order to increase visibility, and in turn, the likelihood of customer conversion.