Image SEO – How to be the Image SEO King and optimize your images for Search
By Chris Giles – the Image SEO King himself
Always make use of images
Images, when used correctly, can help readers understand your content. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” may not apply to Google, but it certainly applies when you need to liven up 1,000 dull words, explain what you mean in a chart or data flow diagram, or simply make your social media postings more appealing.
It's a simple suggestion: utilize images in all of your articles to make them more interesting. Furthermore, because visual search is becoming increasingly important, as demonstrated by Google's vision for the future of search, it may provide you with some traffic. Furthermore, if you have visual content, it makes sense to prioritize image SEO. More information on alternative SEO strategies can be found here.
Google Images recently received a new interface, complete with additional filters, information, and even credit. These incredible new filters show that Google is getting more aware of what is in a photograph and how that photograph fits into the larger context.
Choosing the Right Image
Using genuine photographs – photos you took yourself – rather than commercial photos is usually preferred. Your team's website should have photographs of your actual squad, not some random man like the one on the left or one of his stock photo buddies.
It is necessary to provide a photograph relating to the topic of your essay. If you're uploading a random photo simply to get a green bullet in the Yoast SEO plugin's content analysis, you're doing it incorrectly. The image should either correspond to the topic of the post or act as an illustration inside the text. Also, try to place the image next to the relevant text. If you're seeking to rank an important image or photo, strive to keep it near the top of the page if at all possible.
All of this serves a simple image SEO purpose: a picture with related text ranks higher for the term for which it is optimized. However, we shall go over image SEO in more detail later in this article.
If you don’t have any original photographs, there are various approaches to get unique images while avoiding stock photos. Pinterest can be a great source. Flickr.com, for example, is a wonderful photo source because it allows you to use Creative Commons images. Just remember to acknowledge the original photographer. We also like the photos from sites like Unsplash. We have a blog post that provides a great overview of where to locate great photos. Avoid using obvious stock photos, and if you must, use ones that appear (just a little) more authentic. However, regardless of what you use, images with people in them will almost always appear to be stock shots. Unless, of course, you took the photos yourself, which is always the best option in our opinion.
Graphs and sketches, which we use at CGain Image SEO King, are clear substitutes for images. If you're interested, our resident illustrator Chris Jnr wrote a wonderful piece about the process of drawing on our developer's blog. An honorable mention should also be made to animated GIFs, which are becoming increasingly popular these days.
These days, animated GIFs are popular in image SEO.
GIF animations are fantastic, but they take a long time to load.
Even if animated GIFs are popular, don't overdo it. Because the movement of the image will divert your readers' attention, it will make your material more difficult to read. They have the ability to slow down the loading of your page.
Why use blog post images and where to obtain them?
Getting ready to utilize photos in your post
Once you've found the right image — whether it's a photo, illustration, or chart — you'll need to optimize it for use on your website. So, before you submit your image, keep the following points in mind:
Select a suitable file name.
The first step in picture SEO is to change the file name. If you want Google to know what the image is about without ever looking at it, use your focus key in the file name. It's simple: if you're writing an article about Notre Dame and want to utilize a photograph of a sunrise over Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the file name should not be DSC4536.jpg. A good file name would be notre-dame-paris-sunrise.jpg, with the main subject of the photo (and your post) at the front.
Choose a suitable format.
There is no such thing as the correct format for photographs; it is defined by the sort of image and how it will be utilized. In a nutshell, we recommend that you:
Choose JPEG for larger photos or illustrations since it provides good color and clarity with a small file size; use PNG if you want to keep your image's background transparent, or use WebP instead of JPEG and PNG. It will provide high-quality outcomes while minimizing file sizes. You can use tools like Squoosh to convert your image to WebP.
If you know a significant section of your audience uses specific browsers or devices, check CanIuse.com to verify if your preferred format is supported by those browsers.
After you've chosen the ideal name and format for your image, it's time to resize and optimize it!
Scaling tips from Image SEO King
Both UX and SEO rely heavily on loading speeds. The faster a site loads, the easier it is for visitors and search engines to view (and index) a page. Images can have a substantial impact on loading times, especially when you upload a huge image in order to display it in a small size – for example, a 2500 × 1500 pixel image displayed at 250 x 150 pixel size – because the entire image must still be loaded. So, modify the image to look the way you want it to. When you upload a picture to WordPress, it will automatically display it in many sizes. Unfortunately, this does not suggest that the file size has been optimized; rather, it refers to the size of the image display. So, before you upload your photos, consider their size!
Utilize responsive images.
This is also vital for SEO, and if you're using WordPress, you've already done it because it's been included by default since version 4.4. Images should include the srcset element, which enables you to serve a different image based on the width of the screen — this is especially crucial for mobile devices.
The size of the file should be lowered.
The next step in image SEO should be to guarantee that your scaled image is compressed so that it may be delivered in the smallest file size possible.
Of course, you could simply export the image and experiment with other quality percentages, but given the predominance of the retina and similar screens these days, we prefer to use the highest quality photographs available.
JPEGmini, for example, has the potential to dramatically reduce image file sizes while eliminating artifacts.
You can still reduce the file size of these images by eliminating the EXIF data, for example. ImageOptim or websites like Squoosh, JPEGmini, jpeg.io, or Kraken.io are recommended.
After you've optimized your images, you can test your page with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, WebPageTest.org, or Pingdom.
Including the image in your article
While Google's ability to grasp what's in an image is increasing, you shouldn't rely fully on it just yet. It ultimately boils down to you filling in the context for that image, so give it you're all! We'll go over how to do that below.
Your image is complete, but don't just slap it wherever in your message. As previously said, it is really useful to place it alongside related textual content. It guarantees that the information is as relevant to the image as the image is to the text, which users and Google appreciate.
The image caption is the text that displays alongside the image on the page – in this article, it's the text in the grey box below each image. What role do photo captions have in image SEO? Because they are utilized when scanning a product. People tend to skim the headers, images, and subtitles when browsing a web page. Back in 1997, Jakob Nielsen wrote:
Elements that improve scanning include headings, large type, bold text, highlighted text, bulleted lists, graphics, captions, theme phrases, and tables of contents.
KissMetrics took it a step further in 2012, stating:
“On average, captions beneath photographs are read 300 percent more than body content, so not using them, or using them badly, means missing out on a large number of potential readers.”
Is it required to include captions for each image? No, because photographs can be used for other purposes as well. Consider whether you want to use yours for SEO as well. Keeping in mind the need to avoid over-optimization, we propose including captions only when it makes sense for the visitor to have one. Consider the visitor first, and don't provide a caption solely for the sake of image SEO.
alt text and title text
The alt text (or alt tag) of an image is used to offer descriptive text if the image cannot be displayed to the visitor for whatever reason. We'll say it no better than Wikipedia:
“Alternate text ensures that no information or functionality is lost when the reader does not have access to the picture, such as when they have disabled images in their web browser or are using a screen reader due to a visual disability.”
Make sure that every image you use has alt text, and that the alt text includes the SEO key for that page (if appropriate). Most importantly, specify what's in the image so that it can be understood by both search engines and humans. The more relevant the information around an image, the more important this image is regarded by search engines.
When you hover over a picture, certain browsers display the title text as a ‘tooltip.' Chrome displays the title text exactly as it should. The alt text and title text for photographs are similar, and many people who use titles simply copy the alt text, however, a growing number of individuals leave it off entirely. What is the reason for this? Mozilla's stance is as follows:
“title has a lot of accessibility concerns, largely because screen reader support is erratic and most browsers won't show it unless you hover with a mouse (hence, for example, no access to keyboard users).”
Such supplemental information should be included in the main article text rather than as an attachment to the image.
Continue reading to learn more about optimizing alt and title tags.
Include organized image data.
Search engines will be able to provide your photographs with rich results if you include structured data on your pages. While Google argues that structured data does not help you rank higher, it does aid in the creation of a more fleshed-out image search listing. But wait, there's more. For example, if you have recipes on your site and provide structured data to your images, Google can add a badge indicating that the image belongs to a recipe. Google Images supports structured data for the following types:
When you search Google Images for Yoast SEO Premium, you'll see the product label for our plugin's product page.
If you want your photos to appear rich in image searches, you must adhere to a number of Google guidelines. When declaring an image as a structured data attribute, for example, ensure that the image truly belongs to that type's instance. In addition, your image should contain the image attribute and be crawlable and indexable. All of them are covered in Google's Structured Data General Guidelines.
Yoast SEO provides structured data to a range of photos on your site, such as your logo or images you add to how-to articles generated using our blocks. The plugin always finds at least one suitable image to add to the structured data graph on each page. Yoast SEO can therefore provide search engines with an appropriate description of your page. Would you like to learn more about structured data? Sign up for our free Structured data training course to learn how to add structured data to your pages!
Yoast SEO and Rank Math Pro are both excellent tools for assisting you in becoming the Image SEO King.
OpenGraph and Twitter Cards
We already addressed using photos for social sharing. If you add the following image tag to the head> portion of your website, it will look like this:
og:image meta content=”http://example.com/link-to-image.jpg” /> og:image meta property=”example.com/link-to-image.jpg” content=”http://example.com/link-to-image.jpg” />
This ensures that the image appears in your Facebook share (and OpenGraph is also used for Pinterest, for instance).
Yoast SEO features a Social section where you can configure and even preview your Facebook and Twitter postings (in the Premium edition). Premium users have access to the Zapier connector, which may be used to automate social media publications. Use a high-quality image, such as the one you used in the initial post because social networks prefer higher-quality/larger photographs. If you've done everything right and the photo still isn't showing up, try flushing Facebook's cache in the URL Debugger. Twitter Cards do the same thing for Twitter and are also generated by this plugin.
You may be interested in XML image sitemaps if you are a web developer. In XML sitemaps, I'd prefer to call these photos. On this topic, Google is unequivocal:
People ask us about XML image sitemaps from time to time. We do not generate them in our plugin, but rather put them in the page or post sitemaps, as Google suggests. Simply scroll down in our article sitemap to see that we have included photos to all of our most current articles (there is a column just for that). Adding images to your XML sitemaps helps Google index your images, so do it for better image SEO.
Providing photos using an image CDN
CDNs are well-known as one of the most prevalent ways for improving site performance. Some CDN providers also provide a CDN devoted to photographs. Image CDNs are intended to do two things: optimize your images and send them to your visitors as rapidly as possible. Using an image CDN can drastically speed up the delivery of your photographs.
You can control image change, optimization, and delivery with an image CDN. You can select when and how loads should be applied. For example, you may specify that all of your PNG photographs should be automatically converted to webp because they load faster and provide the best image quality. An image CDN offers a wealth of options for fine-tuning the process, but there is often a default level that is likely ideal for the majority of sites.
Sirv, Cloudinary, and Imagekit are just a few of the image CDNs available. Furthermore, services like Cloudflare provide you control over how photographs are resized, processed, and served.
Summary of Image SEO
Image SEO is made up of several components. To be the Image SEO King follow this advice. With Google constantly increasing its identification of image attributes, it makes sense to ensure that the image and all of its components contribute to a good user experience as well as SEO. Trying to fool Google would be irresponsible.
Keep the following in mind when adding a photo to an article:
Use an image that is important to your text.
Choose an appropriate file name for your photograph.
Check that the image dimensions match the image size as displayed.
Use srcset if possible.
Reduce the file's size to make it load faster.
If required, add a caption to make the page easier to scan.
Use alt text for images. There is no need for a title text.
Structured data can be added to your images.
Add OpenGraph and Twitter Card tags to the image.
Include images in your XML sitemaps.
Using a CDN to deliver images
Please provide as much information as possible!
Images not only aid in SEO and user experience, but they may also aid in conversion. Don't underestimate the power of picture SEO on your website!