Easy Ways to Optimize Your Site’s Images for Google
When it comes to Google, optimizing your images is just as important as optimizing your content. The Google image search results page is a fast and useful way to find visual information. It is also a great way to drive organic traffic to your page.
I’ll give you an example. I was ghostwriting a blog about upscale nightclubs in Dallas. I did a Google search of the particular venue I was researching and clicked an image of the exterior of the club. The image brought me to a site/app called “discotech.me,” which contained valuable information about various nightclubs in Dallas. I spent the next 20 minutes referencing this site for cover fees, dress codes, and other information I couldn’t find anywhere else.
The success of this image was due to two main factors: 1) the photo was high quality and fit my description, and 2) the site itself contained useful content.
So how do you get your site images to appear in Google search results? Just like written content, there are a few methods that will significantly boost your chances.
Focus on the User
Google is all about user experience. These days, the algorithm is so sophisticated that it can easily pinpoint sites that are angling for rankings. Think about how you, yourself, would use the content you are posting. Utilize the following steps to ensure a good user experience:
1. Use High Quality Images
In a sea of search results, users are unlikely to choose a blurry photo. Make sure to use images that clearly and artfully depict your subject.
2. Use Original Images
Whenever possible, use your own photos or infographics. Google discourages the use of non-unique content. If you do wind up using someone else’s image, be sure to attribute it to the source.
3. Consider Placement
Place images in a relevant portion of the written content. Your most important image should be somewhere near the top of the page.
4. Name Your Image File
The filename is used by Google when it is determining its subject matter. Always use a descriptive filename in lieu of a generic one. For example, “IMG102.jpg” should be replaced with something like “platform-sneaker.jpg.”
5. Use Image Titles and Captions
Google also uses image titles and captions to discover an image’s subject matter. Wherever appropriate, give your image a descriptive title and caption all images to help inform the algorithm.
6. Optimize Loading Speed
Speed is crucial for the user experience. Images are often the largest files on a page, so they can significantly impact loading speed. Choose the correct format for optimal image-viewing and size it appropriately. Utilize file compression techniques to save space wherever possible.
7. Use the Right Code
Both CSS and HTML can be used to embed an image in your site. However, if the image is important and you want it to show up in Google image search results, you will need to use HTML. Google does not index CSS images since they are considered style-related and not content-related.
HTML vs CSS:
8. Write Good Alt-Text
Just adding an alt-attribute puts you ahead of the game in terms of image SEO. But writing a good alt description is even better.
Alt-text, which stands for “alternative text,” is simply a description of what is going on in your image. When you write one, keep the following steps in mind:
Define the purpose of the image.
What is the image for? What story are you trying to tell with this image? Are you describing a product or an experience? Your phrasing will depend on your goals with the image.
Keep it a reasonable length.
You want to be descriptive, but there is such a thing as overkill. Keep it under 125 characters. Anything else will be cut off.
Keep it simple
There is a time and a place for poetry, and it is not in your alt text. Use simple, every day terms to accurately describe your image.
Add keywords judiciously
When making your description, keep in mind possible search terms by users. Use caution when doing this, however, as Google penalizes descriptions that attempt to cram in too many keywords.
Let’s write a good alt-text now using the above steps. As an example, let’s use this photo:
A generic alt-text of this image might be something like, “ocean waves under a blue sky with birds flying.”
But let’s say my purpose with this photograph is to convey a sense of travel. I might change the alt-text to something like, “a view of the clear blue sky and ocean waves from the Santa Cruz boardwalk.”
The above description is still accurate, but it conveys a slightly different meaning that makes it more relevant to a specific goal. It also meets character requirements and even fits in a few key words without feeling forced or over-stuffed.
Serenity Digital Specializes in SEO
Optimization is an important step in good SEO (it’s literally in the name). That being said, it can be a complicated, time-consuming endeavor. Our team at Serenity Digital will be happy to do the work for you! Give our office a call to schedule your free consultation.