We explain how to make your images SEO-friendly, allowing your website or page to rank higher than your competitors.
Images are not just visual elements to complement the text. While they make the content more understandable to the reader, they also play a critical role in your search engine optimization or SEO strategy.
However, images can also break your SEO efforts. For instance, an image file size that is too big can result in a slow-loading, unresponsive website, which has a detrimental effect on user experience and Google ranking.
Leading SEO and digital marketing expert LOJO Marketing explains the simple hacks to make your images SEO-friendly.
The Image Should Reflect The Content
Your images should complement the content, helping your reader better understand the overall message. Also, make sure that you place them near the relevant text, and position the most important one (the photo that you are trying to rank) near the top of the page–provided that it doesn’t look forced.
Resize The Images
Image size refers to its dimension, e.g., 1280 x 1024 pixels. By contrast, file size pertains to the space needed to store it on the server, e.g., 70 kilobytes.
While images with higher resolutions have a crispier detail, they can slow down the web page loading time. A good rule of thumb is to use the lowest resolution without affecting the user experience or making the website appear like an amateur project.
Most small web graphics and images can be 300 kb or less. But for e-commerce images, the best practice suggests that it should be below 70 kb since online shoppers are less forgiving when it comes to the loading speed.
If you have the option, always click the “save for web” (Photoshop has this feature) when saving your images; this ensures that your visual elements are stored in a web-friendly resolution.
Choose The Correct File Format That Has A Smaller File Size
A good rule of thumb is to use JPEG for images with lots of colors and PNG for simpler visual elements. Other web-friendly formats include GIF AND SVG, which all use lossless compression, meaning some of the details are lost but not to the point that they result in low-quality images.
These are the other quick-fix solutions to reduce the file size of web images: Kraken.io, jpeg.io, JPEGmini, ImageOptim, and EXIF data removal.
Despite the popularity of animated GIFs, they come with two major downsides: they bog down your web page and distract your reader’s attention.
Use Descriptive Alt Texts
Google and other search engines cannot “read” and rank images, graphics, and videos unless you write a descriptive alt text, which is also called alt tags and alt description.
Having a descriptive alt text not just makes your web page SEO-friendly, it also makes it accessible to visually impaired readers using screen-reading tools.
Be very specific when writing your alt text. For example, a photo of a girl playing basketball should have an alt text that says, “girl playing basketball.”
Other things to keep in mind when writing for an SEO-friendly alt text:
- Don’t start with “image of” or “picture of.”
- Avoid keyword stuffing.
- Every word should have a purpose in describing the image.
- Don’t add alt text to decorative images and graphics.
Use Descriptive Captions
Captions are a few lines of text that explain an image. Similar to your alt text, make sure that you are also descriptive and concise with your captions.
Descriptive captions not only allow your content to be “crawlable” and “rankable” by Google bots, but they also help your readers understand your content better. People often use captions to scan the articles, especially those pressed for time.
Not every image needs a caption. Remember, only add captions when you think they can help your readers–not because you want to be SEO-friendly. After all, website traffic comes from people, not from search engines like Google.
Add images To Your Sitemap
A sitemap is a list of pages within a website (and a domain); its goal is to “tell” the search engines about your site’s content, allowing their bots to crawl, index, and rank you based on your relevance, authority, and other factors.
If you are a WordPress web developer, Yoast offers a sitemap solution.
Use image extensions for sitemaps to give the search engine giant more information about the images posted on your web pages.
Since May 2021, Google Ads has started allowing all advertisers to use image extension, a feature that was initially available only to select users.
Final Thoughts About How to Make Your Images SEO-Friendly
To recap, SEO-friendly images have these features:
- “Supportive” of the content
- Reduced image size and file size without affecting the overall quality
- Web-friendly formats such as JPEG, PNG, SVG, and GIF
- Descriptive alt text
- Descriptive caption (only when necessary)
- Inclusion on the sitemap
Once you have optimized your images, use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest.org, Pingdom, or Lighthouse. Remember, studies show that most users expect a loading time of less than 2 seconds, although the ideal goal is to make it under a half-second.
To learn more about making SEO-friendly images and content, contact LOJO Marketing at (916) 303-4080. We are a team of web developers, SEO and digital marketing specialists, and content creators focused on helping small- and medium-sized companies and solo entrepreneurs grow their businesses through online platforms.