Search Engine Optimization is a critical part of designing a website. With a great SEO strategy, your website will attract organic traffic and position well on the search engine rankings.
But do you know that there is more to a stellar SEO strategy than just working on the content? While they are often ignored, images also play an essential role in creating a sound SEO strategy. And leveraging the power of images and other visual content while designing your website’s SEO strategy will help you stay ahead of the competition.
This article talks about some excellent image optimization suggestions that you can use to increase your website’s speed and searchability.
Let’s get started!
- Resize Your Images
Image size refers to the resolution and dimensions of the images. The greater the resolution and the bigger the dimensions, the slower your page’s loading speed will be. And we already know that Google considers page speed while deciding SEO rankings.
Here are some ways to ensure your images are the right size and don’t weigh your website down:
Choose The Correct Format!
Images are presumably the heaviest content on a page and add the most load to a website. Ultimately, this can lead to an increase in bounce rates and lower SEO rankings. By choosing the right format of images for different purposes on your website, you can achieve optimal loading speed.
There are three primary formats for digital pictures: JPEG, PNG, and GIF. Each type uses a distinct compression method, which means the file size for these three types can differ astronomically.
So, which type to use? Well, there is no one answer for this.
For example, JPEGs take the least space and are great for photographic images. In contrast, PNGs are a good option for illustrations, screenshots, images with textual information, etc. One downside to PNGs is they are heavier in size, compared to JPEG. As for GIFs, they are suitable for animated images.
Decide Your Compression Rate
Compressing too much can lower the file size, but it will also impact your image quality. Whereas not compressing enough, your image file size will remain big.
One of the best ways to compress a picture is through Photoshop. Select the ‘Save for Web’ option for a copy that is the ideal size and color for web use. TinyPnG, JPEG Optimizer, and many WordPress plugins are also helpful for this purpose.
- Never Use Sloppy Filenames For Your Images!
When it comes to image optimization, filenames are not to be taken lightly.
Google has integrated a machine-learning image identification tool into its platform that can identify the content of the media file. But understanding an image is not always so easy.
For example, if you have uploaded an image of a basketball-inspired birthday cake and simply named it “Image_101.jpeg“, chances are Google may identify it as a basketball only.
This is because Google is still a machine, and you have to help it as much as you can to comprehend what your image is all about.
For starters, use a more descriptive filename. In this case, a better and more helpful name would be “basketball-birthday-cake.jpeg.” This name will help Google identify your image and rank it among birthday cakes and not basketballs.
- Don’t Underestimate The Power of a Good Alt Tag
Alt tags appear when the picture is unable to load on the browser for some reason. Search engine algorithms look for alternative tags to comprehend the image’s content and show them in place of the photo.
The alt tags also allow people with visual difficulty better understand the picture when they are reading through a screen reader.
Add precise alt tags along with your pictures. Aim to be as descriptive as possible by integrating relevant keywords in the alt tags. However, avoid keyword stuffing as Google can figure ‘over optimization’ and penalize your page for trying to trick their algorithms.
Again, take the example of a basketball-inspired birthday cake and see what a lousy alt tag looks like and how you can make it better.
<img src= “basketball-birthday-cake.jpeg” alt= “basketball birthday cake birthday cakes happy birthday cake“/>
The above alt tag is an example of keyword stuffing. It also fails to explain what the image is actually about.
To make the alt tag more readable, you should try something like:
<img src= “basketball-birthday-cake.jpeg” alt= “basketball-inspired birthday cake“/>
- Pick Unique Images For Your Website
Whether you choose to acquire images from an online source or click original ones, they mustn’t appear to be cliche. Just as textual content is supposed to be unique and not plagiarized for good SEO rankings, your visual content must also be novel.
However, uniqueness can be an issue when using stock photos because they are readily available to almost everyone. What you can do to minimize the problem is add a hint of your own creativeness to them before you put them up on your website.
Stock pictures are open for modification, so you are free to edit, crop, and even change the background to incorporate that tinge of uniqueness into the images.
- Come up With Great Image Captions
Image captions don’t directly contribute to great SEO rankings, but they definitely improve the user experience on your website. Image captions are the writings that appear underneath your visual content. Unlike alt tags or image names, they are visible to the readers on your website.
Putting a creative caption under your images gives users a complete feeling about the visual content. It tells them the purpose of the image, which they might not comprehend without the caption. Good image captions decrease your website’s bounce rate and boost your online reputation.
- Make an Image Site Map
According to Google, a sitemap is “a database where you give information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site and their relationships.”
While most webmasters add every textual information of their website on the site map, it is important to mention every visual asset on your website too. From the smallest thumbnail to the largest video – every element of your website should be part of the sitemap.
It will help SEO spiders consider all the content on your website while deciding the rankings.
Search Engine Optimization is the present and the future of online marketing. And as said before, your SEO strategy will be incomplete without an excellent image optimization plan.
Give these tips a try. We are sure they will increase your online credibility and rate you high in the SEO rankings. Good Luck!
Ivy Attie is a content manager, researcher, and author in various media-oriented publications. She is a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Her background is in communication and journalism, and she also loves literature and performing arts.