What is image optimization for SEO? It’s using various textual aspects of your online images to make your site more attractive to the search engines seeking to match online content to searcher queries.
You may know that search engines cannot “see” images. They “read” text; the words, phrases and letters used on your web pages, in your headlines, and tagged to images and pages throughout your site. They also use a variety of other on and off-page factors to determine how well your webpage content matches a user’s query.
Many bloggers note that visitors find their website from Google image search. I’ll never forget the time that my husband was walking out in our yard and was stung by a strange-looking caterpillar. We ran upstairs to the computer and began searching online to find out if the sting was poisonous, and how to treat it at home if it wasn’t. Although our description of the insect was fine, Google’s image search feature helped us narrow down the culprit. We clicked through from the image, not from the search term, to read the article. Many of your readers may find your website content or blog posts using this method, too – although hopefully, they weren’t bitten by a stinging caterpillar. (Hubby was fine, by the way. It was no worse than a bee sting.)
Image Optimization for SEO
Among the many factors used for search engine optimization, images are often the most frequently overlooked. That’s a shame, because by tweaking your images so that they’re better tagged with keyword phrases that match your site contents, you can improve your site’s visibility and traffic. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence from members of a blogging group that I belong to that they’ve doubled, even tripled their site visits by simply using these tips to boost their image’s search engine appeal. Image optimization for SEO really works!
The following tips can be implemented immediately by you or your graphic designed to boost use images for SEO more effectively on your website or blog:
- Use appropriate and relevant keyword phrases to name your images. I’m often guilty of this mistake – I forget to rename my images, and end up with uploads that have the creative moniker of “IMG 123” or something like that. If you’re guilty of such mistakes like I am, you’re missing an easy image optimization trick for SEO. Just rename your pictures so that they are tagged with relevant keywords.
- Use the “Alt” field for images, and tag that with both keywords and descriptive phrases. The ALT tags on images display text when the image won’t display for some reason. It is considered a best practice to tag your ALT fields with image descriptive phrases, but if you can tweak those phrases so that they’re reflective of keywords too, so much the better.
- Resize your images appropriately. This is a tricky bit of advice, but one that I have found useful. For certain types of content – retail sales, craft blogs, cooking blogs, gardening blogs – larger images are better, especially if they are unique and original images that you created. Larger images are more eye-catching than smaller ones and tend to be shared more frequently via social media sites such as Pinterest. You may need to test various image sizes to find the best ones for your needs.
- Make sure that all of your images serve a purpose and further your online marketing goals. Decorations are nice for parties, but every image posted to your blog or website should help you further your goal. Images can be funny, evocative, reflective or artistic, but they should be on your website to serve a purpose, and that purpose is usually to drive traffic to a site, sell products, or brand your company with its chosen image. Make sure that all your images are working for, not against you.
- One last word about images: learn the legalities about using images online. Blog Legally has some great information on the legalities of online image use.
Take time today to tweak your images. I’d love to hear from readers on how image optimization for SEO may have helped your website traffic.
© 2015 by Jeanne Grunert writing for Seven Oaks Consulting. Like this post? Contact us about our content marketing writing services, marketing consulting, and marketing training and seminars for business owners.