Image SEO: Optimization Steps And Using Images To Bring Visual Value
Visuals are fun, visuals are informative and visuals make you understand things easier.
The whole world knows the importance of images, so there is no point overlooking image SEO for any longer.
Whether you run a website or a blog, images are definitely a big part of how you convey your ideas and make your web pages interesting.
But, are you really leveraging images as they should be?
Google has upgraded content guidelines related to publishing images. Image placement, URL structure, context and other factors have become important more than ever.
Without image optimization SEO, you are losing an essential section that can bring your authority, ranking and hundreds of SEO advantages.
Problems such as large file size, bad image selection, and wrong alignment seem very small. But they become dangerous when images start piling up on your site.
I will discuss everything on using images and SEO optimization to make them an asset instead of a burden for your site.
Let me begin by answering image-related questions that always come to your mind.
Why think about image SEO?
If you conduct an image search on Google, you will get a straight answer to this question.
Do your site images even show up?! If not, then, you have a big problem!
Image search has become a great source of traffic. In fact, most of your competitors are beating you in SEO race with their image SEO approach.
There are certain steps that I have discussed in detail further in this article to make your images appear on relevant searches.
Whether you have product or post images, they all can get better rankings with correct optimization steps. Hence, your site will start gaining more traffic and backlinks.
What is image optimization?
Image optimization is a combination of image selection, SEO and adjusting file size, quality, and type. These steps gradually prepare your images to get a response from Google and rank higher in relevant searches. Plus, it enables your web pages to become faster in terms of page load speed.
What is an optimal image size for web?
When thinking about image size, you need to carry three factors together:
- Image dimensions
- Image quality
- Image position
From small thumbnail images to large displays, dimensions change and so the pixel size. Plus, you have to change the size for GIF, PNG, and JPEG types.
For a rough idea, an image can take up to 10KB to 100KB on your webpage. However, I have discussed file size selection in detail if you look at step 5.
How to reduce image file size without losing quality?
Reducing the massive size of an image is critically important to boost organic rankings on mobile and desktop. Also, you need it to keep your visitors happy with quick load time.
However, you can’t afford to lose picture quality in the process.
There is a right way to compress images without losing its quality. A number of tools provide free online facility to make it happen. I have mentioned the best ones in the Step#1 below.
How to write SEO-friendly alt-text?
Alt text is also known as alternative text that you provide for every image. This text allows Google to easily render and present those images in SERPs. Search engines can’t see images, but they can read words that you use to describe those pictures. Also, this text becomes visible to the user if the image doesn’t appear for some reason.
To make alt text SEO friendly, you need to focus on following traits:
- Choose a descriptive and simple language.
- Incorporate target keyword in your images.
- Place product details in product images.
- Write only for images that serve a purpose.
Now, that you have gained an overview, let me give you 9 valuable steps of using images.
1. Become familiar with Image SEO tools
You will require 3 major types of tools.
Image collection tools:
- Pixabay: This one is a popular place to get free images. You can get copyright free pictures from here in bulk and use for commercial purposes. However, there are certain restrictions on how you should or shouldn’t use the images.
- Shutterstock: This platform offers different payment plans for images. You can buy 25 images at once or choose a subscription.
- Google image search: Google’s image search allows you to search images with respect to Usage Rights.
- Getty Images: This site gives images under several terms and conditions. You can pay license fee for an image and make it yours. However, the site also asks for your usage intention in some cases.
- Stock Free Images: A huge database of images becomes yours with free use. The site provides a collection of free as well as premium pictures to use under their terms.
Image modification tools:
- Photoshop: Using images becomes successful with editing tools offered by this tool. All kinds of enhancements take seconds with this tool in your hand. You can get one of many cloud plans offered by Adobe.
- Gimp: This program works as open source facility for image adjustments. No matter if you use Windows, Mac or Linux devices, Gimp is downloadable on all kinds of devices.
- Pixlr: If you are looking for a free editor for your images, this one is perfect. You can use Pixlr online to bring more beauty and effects in your images. Free graphics, vector editor, and fonts are also provided on the platform.
- Canva: This online editor helps you make simple changes such as filtering and cropping. It is free, so you can keep that in mind when creating images for blog or website.
Watermark addition tools:
- Watermark: You just need to upload your image to this online platform, add your watermark and download a new version of your image. The services are available for free along with the paid versions.
- uMark: Another free tool with watermark addition facility. The process is same as the previous tool. However, you can create bulk images with its paid version.
2. Find “THE ONE” image
It is good to try using images in every piece of content you create. However, irrelevant images don’t do justice to the purpose.
The idea behind image SEO is to empower those text pieces with understandable images. So, you should select or create images that actually simplify your message in a content.
The same goes for images on ‘about us’ page, product pages and pictures attached to an article.
When selecting an image, always trust following factors:
Relevance: It means that your image should appeal to your business identity and topic presented on the page.
Concept explanation: It means that your image needs to help complete the content, rather than work as an additional part.
Visual appeal: A visitor should feel attracted to the visual features of that picture.
Social media scope: If your images are attractive enough, they will improve the number of social media shares for sure.
Achieving all four factors in one picture gives a strong foundation for image optimization SEO. Just make sure that the selected pictures have no copyright restrictions.
3. Customize to match your content
No image is ever perfect to just paste with a content. You always need some level of editing to make pictures look more integrated into a web page content.
For that, you will have to choose your favorite image editing tools. Then:
Include text: Do this when the image has to send a message. It can be instructions or a tagline. You can simply insert your picture in MS PowerPoint and use “text box” to add the required message. Use speech cloud or arrows to make it interesting if you like. But make sure that the fonts look consistent in the image.
Crop: Do this to match your goals of alignment and position you have selected for that image. If you have screenshots, cropping is really essential to highlight the desired part of that shot.
Enhance visuals: In this step, you care about balancing colors, brightness and improving contrast. These functions depend on what you want from the image. Whether you need it to blend or stand out.
Add effects: As mentioned above, many image optimization SEO tools offer special effects or filters for images. You can easily make beautiful changes in any picture to make it more interesting.
You don’t have to use these steps in the same order. Decide which step will help you achieve what you desire and move forward with it.
4. Define a file format you need
There are three major file formats used all over the web:
JPEG: For image optimization SEO, JPEG suits the best. People use this format all over the world. Plus, you can compress images without losing their quality. JPEG gives you way smaller file size for a really high resolution image. You just need to manage quality when resaving a JPEG image.
PNG: To get high resolution in a small size image, PNG is the suitable format. It offers rich color and brightness in a small size. Hence, website owners utilize this type to create icons and buttons. However, if the pixel size goes beyond 200, it really impacts the file size. A small icon or button can have a size of about 3KB to 7 KB. The biggest advantage of PNG images is that they don’t lose quality when re-saved. Plus, they support a vast range of colors.
GIF: If you have a simple image, GIF can work out for you. This format is not useful for Image SEO of large and complex pictures. However, they offer a great advantage to simple icons, charts, and pictures with plain texts. The low quality makes this type a big NO for product pictures, fashion photographs, and travel pictures.
All in all, if you compare three formats, JPEG generally wins the race in terms of image SEO.
5. Optimize images for web without losing quality
The biggest question in image optimization SEO is to manage page loading time. This makes image compression a necessity. However, you can’t afford to lose the quality. Which is why resizing process seems difficult.
So, how to optimize images for web without losing quality?
The right optimal size for an image depends on its position or purpose:
Background images: These images work as a background on your web page. So, if you have selected images for backgrounds, then, those files can have a size above or less than 10KB. You can go a little above than this size, but try to stay below if possible.
Banner images: You use these images at the top of your web pages as banners. Commonly, 60KB seems suitable for such images. All blog images and article pictures can also come in the range of below 60KB.
Photographs: If you are using original photographs or places or objects, it can have a size around 100KB. But don’t go beyond 100KB, as it will start impacting load speed of your page.
When compressing file size of an image, choose around 75% to 80% of quality in JPEG. Always try to get a balance of quality and size. That’s how you win this image game.
Here is a list of tools you can leverage to compress your images:
6. Describe images when writing file names
When Google crawls your web pages, image file names help in understanding the context of that image. Hence, best image SEO practices include using well-described names for pictures you add. Adding your target keyword also improves the chances of getting rankings.
Here is an example how you should write an image file name.
You see how this file name describes the context and adds keyword value to the image.
7. Use image ALT text SEO best practices
Now, you need to prepare your images for of ALT text SEO value. Choose targeted keywords in a descriptive manner when writing alt text.
https://yoursite.com/uploads/cake-recipes.jpg alt=”home baked chocolate and vanilla cake”
8. Place where it brings maximum value
Well, it doesn’t directly impact your image SEO, but you should think about image alignment carefully. Choose a place where it supports your content the best.
Here are a few ground rules for image positioning:
- Using images in central alignment is best for articles and blog posts.
- Right aligned images work better than left aligned images.
- Screenshots should be aligned near their relevant links, if applicable.
- Always place images between two concepts, rather than breaking a concept with an image. However, you can do it if your image includes informational value similar to that concept.
9. Prepare a sitemap for images as well
In SEO best practices, you are supposed to create XML sitemaps for your web pages. The same is required for images as well.
Google suggests you generate sitemaps for better image optimization SEO. These sitemaps enable search bots to read all pictures on your site and present them in image SERPs.
Here is a simple example of how you can generate sitemap when using images.
For site: https://yoursite.com/page.html
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" xmlns:image="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1"> <url> <loc>https://yoursite.com/page.html</loc> <image:image> <image:loc>https://yoursite.com/image.jpg</image:loc> </image:image> <image:image> <image:loc>https://yoursite.com/photo.jpg</image:loc> </image:image> </url> </urlset>
You can find more information about image sitemaps here.
So, that’s all on image SEO and using images on your web pages. Hopefully, you have gained answers for all image-related questions. Let me know which steps help you the best.