People are visual beings, we remember 90% of information through images. Our brains are designed to remember visual stimuli better than chunks of text. That’s why images are so important in web design and the entire user experience. Simply put, any form of visual element can make information more attractive, and easier to remember and makes the content even more engaging.
This leads us to the importance of images in search optimisation and how you can optimise them to further boost your search engine ranking efforts.
Are images considered a ranking factor?
Since images can contribute to a better user experience of a website, and at the same time lower the experience, they are an important factor to consider. Images are considered visual content, so you should have well-optimised images on your website. They should contribute to a user experience, thus you should prioritise image optimisation as any other on-page factor.
So, if you’re looking for guidance on how to approach image optimisation with the same importance as any other on-page element, here are eight steps to follow.
Pick the right format
You can choose between several different types of image formats, but each one comes in a different size. Since the image size can affect the side load speed, ideally you’d choose the type of format that won’t slow down your website. The suggested image formats are png, jpeg or webPs, but you can also choose a gif or svg file. Make the choice based on the image quality you’ll need, jpeg’s are preferred but can lose quality after compression, png’s are better but they are often larger in size, while gif’s are great for logos.
Select the right pictures
First of all, you need to look for relevant pictures. Relevancy is an important factor because you won’t use images of dishwashers on your website if you’re selling lightbulbs. Even though this might seem logical, to pick images based on relevancy, this is where people often make a mistake.
Images simply need to match the message you want to cover with your copy. So, the choice of images depends on the message and what emotion you’re trying to evoke. Try using real photographs, relevant to your business and to the copy.
Whenever you can, use personalised images because stock photos are often overused. You don’t want to use an image for your brand and your blog, that has been overused by everyone else. Your goal is to create a unique visual identity so people will connect to your brand, service, and product.
The right file size is important
A second while browning is longer than you actually think. Now, imagine it takes six or even 10 seconds for your website to load. That’s like 10 years in human years. One of the reasons your website takes ages to load is the size of the images. Most importantly, site loading speed is one of the search engine ranking factors so you should not ignore this.
If you have too many large-size images, you’ll need to scale them down to something reasonable. Simply put, you need to compress all your images so that your website can easily load between three to five seconds at the longest. You can also implement a content delivery network to your website so media needed for your website will be loaded from different servers so everything will load as fast as possible.
Name your image files
Each image file will have a generic name like DSC158 or stock_image_158. It’s your job to change each image file name from a generic to a specific and relevant name. You should help search engine crawlers recognise the image for more than just a file with random numbers and letters.
You should use specific file names and also include specific keywords in image file names. But do this only if the specific keyword is actually relevant to the image in question. Any other practice might be considered keyword stuffing. Nonetheless, if you want to ensure you made the right decision and incorporated the best image optimisation practices,team up with SEO experts Sydney or any other part of the world. A team of SEO professionals will guide you in the right direction and help you to properly optimise every on-page element of your website.
Don’t forget to write alt text for each and every image
Alte text or alt tags is another important step in image optimisation. Image alt text or alternative text is a piece of descriptive text that explains what is in the picture. The goal for this alt text is to be as descriptive as possible so that search engines can recognise what is in the picture. Also, this text will appear if the image can’t be loaded for some reason. Lastly, this is important for visually impaired people who use other types of readers. This is also another place where you can insert a keyword, but try to do this as organically and sparingly as possible to avoid keyword stuffing.
Use image sitemaps
Every website should have a sitemap included. Google also favours websites that have a sitemap that has all relevant pieces of information, including pictures that are on the website. You can even include a separate sitemap for all media files on your website.
Images should be mobile-friendly as well
Since the majority of website traffic comes from mobile devices, both your website and image files should be mobile-friendly. This means that your website should load without any glitch both on a mobile device and a computer. All images should be responsive, both on a mobile device and on a computer.
Use title tags for images
Title tags are also an essential step in SEO for images. Google also takes them into account, so you should also optimise title tags for images. Title tags appear when someone hovers the cursor over the image so this title can be simple and short.
If you want to ensure your website loads fast and the entire structure is user-friendly, don’t neglect image optimisation. By doing this, you’ll ensure images are of the right type, and size, and are properly tagged, described and responsive on different devices. Just work on everything that can positively affect your search engine ranking position.