Image SEO – How to be the Image SEO King and optimise your images for Search
By Chris Giles – the Image SEO King himself
Always make use of images
When utilised effectively, images may assist readers to grasp your material. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” may not apply to Google, but it is absolutely true when you need to liven up 1,000 dull words, demonstrate what you mean in a chart or data flow diagram, or just make your social media postings more appealing.
It’s a simple suggestion: use graphics in every article you write to make it more appealing. Furthermore, because visual search is becoming increasingly essential — as shown in Google’s vision for the future of search – it might supply you with some traffic. In addition, if you have visual material, it makes sense to prioritise picture SEO. More info here on other SEO techniques.
Google Images got a new interface a while ago, with new filters, information, and even credit. These amazing new filters demonstrate that Google is becoming more aware of what is in a picture and how that image fits into the bigger environment.
Choosing the Right Image
It’s usually preferable to utilise original photographs – photos you took yourself – rather than stock photos. Your team webpage should have photos of your actual squad, not some random guy like this on the left or one of his stock photo pals.
A photograph related to the subject of your article is required. You’re doing it wrong if you’re uploading a random photo solely to get a green bullet in the Yoast SEO plugin’s content analysis. The image should either match the theme of the post or serve as an illustration inside the text. Also, attempt to position the image next to the appropriate text. If you have a major picture or an image that you’re attempting to rank, try to keep it near the top of the page if at all feasible.
All of this has a straightforward image SEO reason: a picture with associated text ranks higher for the term it is optimised for. However, we will explore image SEO 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 good picture source since it allows you to utilise Creative Commons photographs. Just be sure to give credit to the original photographer. We also appreciate the photographs from sites like Unsplash. We have a blog post that provides an excellent summary of where to find outstanding photos. Avoid apparent stock photographs, and if you must use them, use ones that appear (just a little) more authentic. However, no matter what you use, photographs with people in them will almost always seem like stock shots. Unless you shot the photographs yourself, which is always the best option in our opinion.
Graphs and drawings, which we employ here at CGain Image SEO King, are obvious alternatives to pictures. If you’re interested, our resident illustrator Chris Jnr posted a nice piece on our developer’s blog on the process of creating drawings. An honourable mention should also go to animated GIFs, which are quite popular these days.
Animated GIFs are prominent in image SEO these days.
Animated GIFs are amazing, but they take a long time to load.
However, even if animated GIFs are trendy, don’t overdo it. It will make your content more difficult to read because the movement of the image will divert your readers’ attention. They might potentially cause your page to load slowly.
Why use blog post images and where to obtain them ?
Getting ready to utilise photos in your post
Once you’ve discovered the proper picture — whether it’s a photo, illustration, or chart – you’ll need to optimise it for usage on your website. So, before you submit your image, there are a few things you should consider:
Choose the appropriate file name.
The file name is the first step in image SEO. Use your focus key in the picture file name if you want Google to know what the image is about without ever looking at it. It’s simple: if you’re writing an essay on Notre Dame and use an image of a dawn over Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the file name should not be DSC4536.jpg. A suitable file name would be notre-dame-paris-sunrise.jpg, with the major topic of the photo (and your post) at the start.
Select the appropriate format.
The correct format for photographs does not exist; it is determined by the type of image and how it will be used. In a nutshell, we advise you to:
Choose JPEG for larger images or illustrations: it will provide good colour and clarity with a short file size; use PNG if you want to keep background transparency in your image; or use WebP instead of JPEG and PNG. It will deliver high-quality results while keeping file sizes to a minimum. You may convert your image to WebP using software such as Squoosh.
If you know a substantial portion of your audience utilises certain browsers or devices, make sure to check CanIuse.com to see if your preferred format is supported by those browsers.
When you’ve determined the best name and format for your image, it’s time to resize and optimise it!
Image SEO King advice on scaling
Loading times are critical for both UX and SEO. The faster the site, the more easily users and search engines can visit (and index) a page. Images may have a significant influence on loading times, particularly when you upload a large image to display it in a tiny size – for example, a 2500 x 1500 pixel image displayed at 250 x 150 pixel size – because the complete image must still be loaded. So, adjust the image to fit how you want it to appear. WordPress makes this easier by automatically displaying the image in several sizes once you upload it. Unfortunately, this does not imply that the file size has been optimised; rather, it refers to the image display size. So consider the size of your photographs before uploading them!
Make use of responsive images.
This is also important for SEO, and if you’re using WordPress, it’s been done for you because it’s included by default since version 4.4. Images should contain the srcset element, which allows you to deliver a different image depending on the width of the screen — this is very important for mobile devices.
File size should be reduced.
The following stage in image SEO should be to ensure that your scaled picture is compressed so that it may be supplied in the shortest file size feasible.
Of course, you could just export the image and experiment with quality percentages, but considering the prevalence of retina and similar screens these days, we prefer to utilise the best quality photographs available.
JPEGmini, for example, may significantly decrease picture file sizes while avoiding artefacts.
You may still minimise the file size of these photographs by, for example, deleting the EXIF data. We propose ImageOptim or websites such as Squoosh, JPEGmini, jpeg.io, or Kraken.io.
After you’ve optimised your pictures, you may use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, WebPageTest.org, or Pingdom to test your page.
Inserting the picture into your article
While Google is improving at understanding what’s in an image, you shouldn’t depend entirely on their abilities just yet. It all comes down to you filling in the context for that image, so do your best! We’ll go through how below.
Your image is ready to use, but don’t just slap it wherever in your post. As previously said, placing it near similar textual content is really beneficial. It ensures that the content is as relevant to the image as the image is to the text, which is something that both users and Google like.
The image caption is the text that appears with the image on the page — it’s the text in the grey box below each image in this article. What is the significance of picture captions in image SEO? Because they are used while scanning an item. When scanning a web page, people tend to scan the headers, photos, and captions. Jakob Nielsen wrote back in 1997:
Headings, big type, bold text, highlighted text, bulleted lists, illustrations, captions, topic sentences, and tables of contents are examples of elements that improve scanning.
KissMetrics went even farther in 2012, stating:
“Captions beneath photos are read 300 percent more than body copy on average, so not utilising them, or employing them incorrectly, means missing out on a big number of prospective readers.”
Is it necessary to include subtitles with each image? No, because photos may also be used for other purposes. Determine whether or not you want to utilise yours for SEO as well. Keeping in mind the need to prevent over-optimization, we recommend that you only include captions where it makes sense for the visitor to have one. Consider the visitor first, and don’t provide a caption only for picture SEO purposes.
title text and alt text
The alt text (or alt tag) is added to an image to provide descriptive text if the picture is unable to be displayed to the visitor for whatever reason. We won’t say it better than Wikipedia:
“In cases 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, the alternate text guarantees that no information or functionality is lost.”
Make sure to include alt text for every picture you use, and that the alt text includes the SEO key for that page (if appropriate). Most crucial, define what’s in the image so that both search engines and humans can understand it. The more relevant the information around an image, the more essential this image is deemed by search engines.
Some browsers display the title text as a ‘tooltip’ when you hover over an image. Chrome displays the title text as intended. Title text for photos is identical, and many people who use titles just copy the alt text, although an increasing number of people leave it off entirely. Why is this the case? Mozilla’s position is as follows:
“title has a lot of accessibility issues, mostly because screen reader support is quite unpredictable and most browsers won’t show it unless you hover with a mouse (thus, for example, no access to keyboard users).”
It is preferable to incorporate such supplementary information in the main article text rather than as an attachment to the image.
Continue reading to learn more about alt and title tag optimization.
Include image structured data.
By including structured data on your pages, search engines will be able to offer your photos as rich results. While Google claims that structured data does not help you rank higher, it does help you produce a more fleshed-out image search listing. But there’s more. For example, if you have recipes on your site and contribute structured data to your photographs, Google can put a badge to the image indicating that it belongs to a recipe. Structured data is supported by Google Images for the following types:
When you search for Yoast SEO Premium on Google Images, you’ll see the product label for our plugin’s product page.
If you want your photographs to look rich in image search, you must follow a number of Google standards. For example, when defining an image as a structured data attribute, ensure that the picture genuinely belongs to that type’s instance. Furthermore, your picture should have the image property, and it should be crawlable and indexable. Google’s Structured Data General Guidelines contain all of them.
Yoast SEO automatically adds the right structured data to a variety of photos on your site, such as your logo or images you add to how-to articles generated with our blocks. The plugin always identifies at least one appropriate picture to add to the structured data graph on each page. Yoast SEO can then accurately describe your page to search engines. Do you want to know more about structured data? If you want to learn how to add structured data to your pages, sign up for our free Structured data training course!
Yoast SEO and Rank Math Pro are both great tools to help you to become the Image SEO King
Twitter Cards and OpenGraph
We discussed utilising photos for social sharing before. If you add the following image tag to your page’s head> section, it will look like this:
og:image meta property=”example.com/link-to-image.jpg” content=”http://example.com/link-to-image.jpg” />
This will ensure that the image is included in your Facebook sharing (and OpenGraph is also used for Pinterest, for instance).
The Yoast SEO plugin includes a Social area where you can configure and even preview your Facebook and Twitter posts (in the Premium edition). Premium users may utilise the Zapier connector to automate social media publishing. Use a high-quality image, such as the original image you used in the post, as social networks prefer higher-quality/larger photographs. If you’ve done everything correctly and it’s still not showing the correct picture, try flushing Facebook’s cache in the URL Debugger. Twitter Cards perform the same thing for Twitter and are created by this plugin as well.
Sitemaps for images
If you are a web developer, you may be interested in XML image sitemaps. I’d rather call these photos in XML sitemaps. Google is unequivocal on this point:
People occasionally question us about XML image sitemaps. We do not produce them in our plugin, but instead include them in the page or post sitemaps, as Google recommends. Simply scroll down in our article sitemap to notice that we have included photographs to all of our most recent content (there is a column just for that). Adding images to your XML sitemaps aids Google in indexing your images, so be sure to do so for improved image SEO.
Using an image CDN to provide images
CDNs are well-known as one of the most common site performance enhancement techniques. Some CDN providers additionally feature a CDN dedicated to photos. Image CDNs are designed to do two simple tasks: optimise your pictures and deliver them to your visitors as quickly as feasible. Using an image CDN may significantly increase the speed with which your photos are delivered.
An image CDN allows you to manage image modification, optimization, and delivery. You can specify which loads should be applied when and how. For example, you may declare that all of your PNG photos should be converted to webp on the fly since they load faster and provide the highest image quality. An image CDN provides a plethora of choices for fine-tuning the process, but there is frequently a default level that is probably ideal for the majority of sites.
There are several image CDNs to select from, including Sirv, Cloudinary, and Imagekit. Furthermore, services such as Cloudflare allow you to control how photos are resized, reformatted, 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 improving its recognition of picture features on a daily basis, it makes sense to ensure that the image and all of its parts contribute to a pleasant user experience as well as SEO. It would be irresponsible to try to trick Google.
When adding a picture to an article, keep the following in mind:
Use a meaningful image that corresponds to your words.
Choose a suitable file name for your photograph.
Check that the picture dimensions correspond to the image size as presented.
If feasible, use srcset.
Reduce the size of the file to make it load faster.
Add a caption, if necessary, to make the page simpler to scan.
Make use of picture alt text. There is no requirement for a title text.
Structured data may be added to your photographs.
For the picture, add OpenGraph and Twitter Card tags.
Incorporate pictures into your XML sitemaps.
Using a CDN to provide images
Please include as much context as possible!
Images may help with SEO and user experience, but they can also help with conversion. Don’t undervalue the impact of image SEO on your website!
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