Image Optimization SEO, Your Guide to More Image Search Clicks:

Images are a game-changer for all brands with an online presence.

Whether you’re designing a new page on your site or writing an article for your audience, using pictures is a must. Imagery helps you communicate your message more effectively and connect with your audience.

But…

Before you can reap the benefits, you must stick to a set of SEO guidelines. Images need to be optimized to load fast and provide clear context to crawling spiders.

In today’s piece:

You’ll learn how to optimize your images for SEO and why that’s important. We’ll share with you the best image SEO tips to maximize your organic traffic.

Let’s dive in.

What is Image Optimization in SEO?

Image SEO is the process of optimizing web images to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). That includes practices such as resizing, compression, using alt tags, and more.

Images are an essential on-page SEO factor because they can help drive more traffic to your site. They also ensure faster indexation by crawling spiders and a better user experience for your visitors.

Why Is Image Optimization Important for SEO?

Images are one of the most popular types of content on the internet today. Big brands all over the world use imagery to evoke emotions, enhance credibility, and bond with their prospects.

Adding an image to a web page makes it more attractive and visually appealing. A single picture can leave a positive impact on the visitor and make them trust your brand quickly.

Also:

Pictures generate higher engagement rates and better click-through rates on social media. For instance, image posts on Facebook receive 2.3X engagement than text posts.

Image Optimization SEO
People vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Google saw the significant impact pictures can make on the web. Which explains why they’ve been an evergreen SEO ranking factor.

But how is optimizing images better for your organic growth?

1- Increase Loading Speed

Loading speed is becoming one of the most important SEO factors for Google. A website that takes too long to load will never stand a chance against quick loading sites.

How does that relate to image SEO?

According to HTTP Archive, images make up 21% of the total web page size on average, coming second to only video. Thus, unoptimized images are often one of the biggest reasons for bad loading speed.

Compressing your images while maintaining their quality makes your pages load a lot faster. That’s key to keeping both Google and happy with your site’s performance.

2- Improve Dwell-Time

Just think about it…

An attractive website keeps visitors around for longer because it gives them something to look at. Relevant, high-quality visuals are one of the best ways to do that.

Be creative in how you use images on your site and test out different layouts to see which one works best.

On top of that:

You can use images in your blog articles to break down long paragraphs and give readers quick breaks to rest their eyes. That also allows you to add more context to the page and provide better explanations for each part.

3- Save Bandwidth and Storage

Pictures eat up most of the storage and bandwidth on the web due to their larger size. Yet, they’re often necessary to reflect a professional brand image and engaging customers.

The solution to that is simple…

Compressing and resizing your images often reduces their file size by 60% to 90%. Which is a lot if you multiply that by the total number of images you have on your site.

Image SEO helps you save bandwidth and storage on your hosting plan, which keep your costs low in the long run.

What Is The Best Image Size For SEO?

You should aim to make any page on your site load within 1-3 seconds as recommended by Google. Reducing your image file sizes is one of the best ways to achieve that.

But here’s the deal:

Serving low-quality pictures can backfire on your brand and make it look unprofessional. You don’t want to sacrifice quality for speed by serving low-resolution images anywhere on your site.

Therefore…

An image file size between 60KB and 100KB is ideal for web images. It minimizes the load time for your pages while keeping your pictures clearly visible.

How to Optimize Your Images for SEO

1- File Name and Format

The filename of your image is essential for crawling spiders to understand what your page is about. Properly naming your files increases relevance and provides more context.

Here’s how to name your image files for SEO:

Include keywords that are relevant to the content of the page as well as the image. Then separate them using hyphens to help Google bots read them correctly.

Also, be sure to keep those file names short and descriptive.

For example:

  • best-plumbing-tools.jpg
  • healthy-cow-food.jpg
  • 2021-cheeseburger-recipe.jpg

As to the format of your pictures:

PNG is a lossless compression format often used to save high-quality images, which explains the larger file sizes it produces. Unless your image needs to be transparent, this format may not be the best option for the web.

JPG is a web-friendly, lossy format that stores images and photographs in the smallest file size possible. That makes it a better choice for improving page load time and reducing bandwidth/storage costs.

GIF is another lossless format often used for animation and short looping graphics. It’s often a lot larger in size compared to the previous formats.

2- Compression

Compression remains one of the easiest, most effective ways to reduce image file sizes without losing quality. There are lots of free online platforms you can use to compress your pictures within seconds.

The best image compression tools are:

Upload your images to one of these tools and wait for a few seconds… Once the compression is complete, download the photos and upload them to your site.

Image Compression for SEO
People vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Do you use WordPress to run your website?

There are plugins you can install and use to compress images once uploaded.

The most popular ones are:

Plugins are the fastest way to compress images in bulk, especially if you have dozens of images to upload for each page or article you publish.

3- Resizing Images for SEO

It’s possible to resize your images using HTML and CSS once they’re uploaded. But the problem with this approach is that the picture will take too long to fully load only to be resized again.

Besides…

Rescaling your pictures with HTML saves you no storage or bandwidth on your hosting plan.

A better way to serve SEO-friendly images is to resize them before the upload. Thankfully, there are many editing tools such as MSPaint and Photoshop — that you can use to do that.

If you’re using WordPress, you can edit pictures to fit a certain size and save your website storage.

Here’s how to do that in a few simple steps:

From the Admin Dashboard, go to Media > Library.

Resize Image SEO

Choose the image you want to resize, and click Edit Image.

Scale Image SEO

Enter the new dimensions for your image, click Scale, then Save.

Optimize Image SEO

And you’re done!

An even easier way to automate this process is by using free image resizing plugins. The best free ones you can download are:

These plugins will automatically resize images that are above certain dimensions. Which saves you time and keeps all your pictures optimized for SEO.

4- Caching

Caching is a technique that browsers use to store files and images for faster viewing in the future. It allows visitors to reuse pictures they’ve already viewed without having to download them again.

To leverage browser caching on your website:

You can do modify the .htaccess file manually in your hosting control panel by adding a code.

We wouldn’t recommend this approach, especially if you have no coding experience. Simply because a small mistake in the code can mess up your whole site.

An easier way to enable browser caching is by using WordPress plugins such as WP Fastest Cache or W3 Total Cache.

Image Caching SEO

Simply install and activate one of the plugins to start caching your web pages and images.

5- Descriptive Alt Tags

While humans can see pictures and grasp their meaning, Google bots will need more clues to get there. That’s what makes alt tags and captions a crucial part of image SEO optimization.

To help crawling spiders understand images:

You need to write short, descriptive alt texts that contain your keyword while giving the right amount of information.

For example:

The detailed alternative text along with the filename will provide enough context to search engine bots about how the image relates to the page. Adding a caption to your picture may enhance the user experience and drive more attention to your images.

Be careful:

Keyword stuffing is the easiest way to lose rankings and get your website marked as spam. So, be sure to avoid that at all costs.

6- Schema Markup

Schema markup is a code that helps Google crawlers return rich results and display them in the SERPs. That, in turn, will boost your CTR and drive more quality traffic to your site.

You can use schema markup to provide search users with attractive, relevant details about their search and encourages them to visit your site.

Optimize Image SEO

Google supports rich snippets for images, recipes, products, and videos. So your options for displaying rich results are endless for each web page you publish.

Wrapping It Up

High-quality images are key to building brand awareness, boosting traffic, and increasing conversions.

Thankfully…

The image optimization process doesn’t have to be too complicated. All you need to do is follow the best practices and image SEO tips we shared in this guide to get you started.

Ready to grow your business with highly targeted SEO traffic?

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Contact us or give us a call at 773-789-8636, and we’ll be happy to discuss your project needs.

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About the Author: Bill Dolan

Bill is an award winning designer with more than 25 years in graphic and professional website design. He has experience in almost every area of creating art from his early days as a keyline paste-up artist to POS design to GRAMMY nominated album art.