When it comes to SEO, most people automatically think of words. Keywords, meta descriptions and links are all important parts of SEO, but one area which is often either overlooked or not given much attention is images.
In fact, images can have a massive effect on your SEO – Google Image has an important role in the world today. As everything becomes more visual, images, infographics and the like are increasingly important and can be a valuable asset in terms of SEO.
Understanding how Google Image Search can help your SEO is important in today’s world. There are a number of things that you can do to tap into the power that Google Image can have for you.
Optimising your current images
Before you start anything else it is important to make sure that your current images are optimised for search engines like Google. This basically means that it can help your image to appear in the Google Images rankings.
The aim again is to have your images come out at the top of the Google Images rankings – of which there are many more per page than text searches.
Edit your file names to something that is relevant to the picture (instead of the file name such as DSC_052.jpg as named by the camera).
Edit your alt tags to something rich in keywords and as short as possible. These alt tags can help with SEO, but their main purpose is to help people who are visually impaired so keep this in mind when you are choosing the words.
Compress your images. The time that a page takes to load is vital for SEO and attracting people. A large image file can take a long time to load, put people off, and, ultimately, bring up your bounce rate. By compressing your images, they will take up less memory, load quicker and improve your SEO.
Avoid Stock Photos
Stock photos are great because they’re free. But that’s about where their usefulness ends, as far as SEO is concerned anyway.
Stock photography usually looks poor quality and doesn’t do much for your own specific branding. It can be used sometimes but definitely not all of the time!
Using your own images can be vital to good image SEO – in a similar way to other content. If you have an image which is unique to your website, it will always link to your website and not to the hundreds of others that have used the same picture. People are also likely to use your image and include a backlink.
With Google Images, the first result on their search results list will always be the original image so it is worth the effort of getting your own images on there.
Content management involves ensuring that you have the best, most effective images, which can help to attract as much traffic to your website as possible. And this involves using unique images which are specific to your website.
A Reason for your Images
If you are putting an image onto a page, don’t put it on there just for the sake of it. Make sure that it is there for a reason. Just like in other SEO content marketing strategy, you will only increase your bounce rate if you have irrelevant and unconnected images.
You should also keep this in mind when you are labelling your images. Make sure that you label them in a way that connects them with your content. If, for example, you have a blog about cactus’s, make sure that you label it this way and not ‘Mexican landscape’. People who are looking for pictures of landscapes in Mexico might not want to learn about the inner workings of a cactus.
Infographics are an excellent way of attracting relevant traffic to your website, and, as long as you are making them, they can be both completely unique to you and informative.
Sitemaps ate useful to search engines like Google as they can help to tell them what images are present on your website and where. This means that all of the images that you want to be found are found quickly.
WordPress and Yoast automatically add images to your sitemap or you can create your own image sitemap for your website.
Understanding the power that images have in terms of SEO is important, and judging by current online trends, is only likely to become more important. By getting your image SEO right, you can add to the other work that is done to keep your digital marketing efforts effective and see it show not only in an SEO audit but also in the amount of traffic that you are getting to your website.