How to optimize images for SEO and rank better
Whether you are site owner or a blogger, whether your site is photographs oriented or not, at least you will add some images to your pages to make it attractive and enhance User Experience. So the first question in mind comes about what image optimization is for?
- Image search
Images on your pages are important to get traffic from images based searching like from Google Image search. Sometimes images could make a major improvements in average or monthly traffic. Since images doesn’t has any text which can be traced by search engines, we need to provide some alternate ways for image SEO. We will discuss it below.
- Image load time
Sometimes due to low bandwidth or other network issues, user’s browser may fail to download the images of a page. By default it will show blank spaces across the page where images were supposed to be. This will affect the user experience and sometimes user may feel weird due to change in overall look of the page.
- Overall site speed
Images are obviously bigger in size when compared with text content. So, just couple of unoptimized images can increase the load time of your site.
While visiting, it may take several seconds to load the page, again not good for good User experience.
How to optimize your site images
1. Choose smart image name
When it comes to SEO, image file name is also considered for ranking it on search engines. Search engines crawl texts as well as keywords within images file names.
For an instance, you upload an image of Taj Mahal to your web page. The image was taken from your camera and was having default name something like “DSC00158745.jpg“.
Now when user searches Taj mahal images in search engine, your image will not get indexed. For this, you need to hint web crawlers that your image is of Taj mahal and can be considered in SERP (Search engine result pages).
Now for instance, I changed my image name to “Beautiful-Taj-Mahal.jpg“. Now when user searches any of the given phrases like
- taj mahal or
- mahal taj or
- beautiful taj mahal, etc
your image is most likely to appear in search results. If your image is relative, then only you will end with organic traffic from that image.
2. Choose smart Alt Tags
how to write seo-friendly alt-text for your images?
Alt tags (alternative text tag attribute) are alternative text for an image when browser is not able to render the image while loading a web page. This alternative text also adds up for SEO. By mixing appropriate keywords to the image, websites can improve rankings in Search engines.
What to do?
1. “In case, if the alt tag is missing and the page didn’t loaded correctly, the user browser will show blank spaces for not loaded images.”
These alternative text will fill those spaces so that user experience doesn’t gets disturbed.
2. “The texts around the images in you page should be relative to keyword used in alt tags.”
It ensures the image is relevant to content, and should be considered while indexing in SERP.”
3. “Also add captions and Title to your images. Title and image file name are visible when user selects an image, which can be used to show the image relevancy to the user.”
NOTE: Be aware of the fact that search engines may penalize you for using too many keywords in image alt tags (over optimization). Below I have discussed about how to add alt tags for images. Keep reading.
3. Reduce file size of your images
- Amazon said that, if their page load time decrease by 1 second, they may loose $1.6 billion a year.
- Most user wait 2-3 seconds on their devices for a site to show up.
- Google has started measuring site speed as a factor for ranking sites. (I have already discussed in my previous posts how to improve website Google rank)
For better user experience, site should contains relevant texts as well as images, and that to with faster loading speed. So to achieve a good SEO, always upload compressed optimized images on your site.
What to do?
1. Try to use online tools for image compression.
2. Always follow a low and uniform image scale for all your images.
3. Don’t shrink the image size via source code. If you do so, then also full image with original size will load but look shrunk. Instead, make it smaller in dimension and you can provide zoom capability for images, if necessary.
4. Always use compressed jpg images over gif and png format. If not found, then use png. Keep gif formats as last option. (Because jpg images can be compressed to greater extent without losing quality when compared with png and gif)
4. XML Image Sitemap
To ensure that Google consider our images to be indexed, we need to submit our blog image sitemap to Google. The process of submitting the image sitemap to Google is same as submitting general sitemap to Google.
“You can have a look on Google’s own image publishing guidelines.”
For bloggers, who are using WordPress as blogging platform, image optimization becomes somewhat convenient. I found Yoast plugin the best, which always reminds you if you have not added an image to your post or an alt tag to your image.
The Yoast plugin indicates on page SEO regarding images which is very useful while writing any blog page or post. This functionality is not premium and can be used in free usage too.
Now continuing to the topic, below are the ways of updating alternative text of your images.
- At the time of uploading an image, we can set the title and alt tag of an image.
- For already posted images, open the post and click on image for which you wish to change the alt tag or title. Some symbols will appear on top of that image. Click on the Edit icon.
- Now you can enter image title, alternative text (alt tag), captions, etc for that image.
- Upon completion, click Update.
How to create image Sitemap
Since everyone is using WordPress these days, so we will go with plugins which are easy for generating image sitemap. After generating sitemap, submit the sitemap in the same way of submitting general sitemap.
There are many plugins. After some analysis, I found Udinra All Image Sitemap plugin as a good one, for generating image sitemap.
This plugin is good for any WordPress site whether having 1 image or 1000 images.
- Download the plugin.
- Click Activate.
- Go to Settings -> Udinra Image sitemap
- Select all settings and click Create Sitemap manually.
It might take few seconds and will generate image sitemap. To see your Image sitemap, browse yourdomain.com/sitemap-image.xml
Now the next step is to submit this sitemap to Google Search Console. I hope that you know this step but let me recall it for you once more.
- Login to Google Search Console.
- Select the domain name for which you wish to submit image sitemap.
- Go to Crawl -> Sitemaps.
- Click on ADD/TEST SITEMAP.
- Enter the URL and click Submit.
Now Google will crawl and index your site images.
That’s all. This article ensures you to add some organic traffic from Google just through images. Let me know if this article was helpful. Keep blogging.