If you haven’t heard of it yet, then you might be missing out. Image SEO has quickly become a key component to the success of your online content and organic search rankings.
But don’t worry. It’s not too late to optimize your visual content and start reaping the rewards.
To begin, it’s important to understand image SEO: what it is, and why it is most definitely a thing.
We all know that when publishing new content – whether it’s a website page, social post, or online business listing, content is king. It’s hard to beat relevant, informative, and high-quality content. So words certainly matter, but so do pictures – and as we also know, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Even above and in spite of written content, image search is gaining traction rather quickly. In many cases, image results are also far more likely to be viewed by a mobile user.
The reason for this is simple.
Now that most users have transitioned to mobile-first online activity, many are finding that they can easily see even more relevant results all at once by viewing the image results of their particular search.
That means an increasing number of mobile search users are skipping past the traditional listings and going straight to the image results page.
Depending on the type of search query or intent, the right image can tell the user quite a lot. As I said before, a picture is worth a thousand words.
It is for this reason that you also want to see your images ranking higher up on the page, even despite users’ ability to quickly and easily scroll down to view additional image results.
The right picture stands out due to both relevance and quality.
Even if a user scrolls past to compare other images, they’ll most certainly be drawn back up to the top of the page. After all, that’s where the most relevant results tend to live.
That brings us to the images themselves. Quality does matter. In fact, it matters a lot. For that reason, avoid blurry or fuzzy pics. Also, avoid using pics that are cut off or poorly cropped. Every image you use should also be relevant to the content and subject matter. In short, it has to look good and make sense.
You definitely want to consider the image file type, as well.
Both JPEG and PNG files work well for display across all platforms. The difference is, a JPEG file is smaller. It will load quicker, which Google likes, but it will be reduced in quality.
A PNG file is a far superior quality, but a far larger file size and thus, longer page loading times. Unfortunately, Google does not like that. Neither does the average Internet user. Here’s the trick. There are tons of programs available to compress PNG files and allow for the best of both worlds in terms of file size and quality.
Size matters, too. Yes.
It’s true after all. It matters in the sense of staying true to the actual image display size. Fitting a smaller image into a larger frame will usually cause it to display very poorly. On the other hand, fitting a larger image into a smaller frame can hurt the image and page load time, which negatively impacts user experience and makes Google angry.
To find Alternative text on a WordPress website, select the image you want to add text to, and the top form-fill is where you will explain what is depicted in the image.
The image source is also a factor.
Uniqueness and originality win out here. If it’s possible to utilize an original, high-quality image, then that’s the best option. Although, with proper optimization, even manufacturer or stock photos can see the improved ranking performance; especially if you have the ability to customize them with your logo, or other unique visual additions.
Then, there’s the name. What’s in a name, you might ask? Well, everything. Adding a proper file name to your image is one of the most crucial aspects of image SEO. This is another one of those “a picture is worth a thousand words” moments. The title of your image needs to be legible, descriptive, unique, and extremely specific. The same goes for the image alt-text.
By the way, adding alt-text to your image prior to posting or publishing is an absolute must. Just like the image title, it must be unique and specific. The image title and alt-text must also contain the root keyword(s) you need, as well as other relevant secondary keywords. Adding clear and concise keywords as your image title and alt-text is the best way to ensure search engines notice your image.
No matter your purpose or platform, performing proper image SEO is key to getting your content to rank better and getting it in front of more eyes. The best part is, it’s not only highly effective – it is astonishingly simple.