The internet is a holy grail for creativity. What better way to display your imaginative side than with images?
This is where image SEO comes into play.
It is the process of creating high-quality images in the correct format and size to augment online engagement. The great news is that you need not be an expert; the helping hand of an SEO agency comes to the rescue.
Following are the ways of getting image SEO right.
Using the right image
There are many images out there that can describe a particular emotion, trend or incident. But, which is the best of all? Figuring that out is challenging and overwhelming. You can go for online platforms such as Stock or Pixabay that offer images on sale or rent.
However, it is better to go for original photos that you have clicked yourself. But, this requires you to have the right setting, lighting background and crew. Whatever be the strategy, ensure that the image is relevant to the content, subject or topic.
Ranking the images (if you are using more than one)
When using only one image, it should be placed near the relevant content or write up. But, what if you are using more than one image?
This is where the ranking takes place. The one that ranks higher will feature at the top. The reason for using more than one related image for the text is to highlight your write up better. It indirectly even helps optimise the particular keywords or phrases for which the image is used.
Resizing the images
Once the right images have been ranked, next up is resizing them. Resizing is very crucial, and you must get it on point. The reason is that photos take up a lot of your server’s space and size, which directly impacts the page load speed and time. Secondly, once reduced in size, they help complete site backups quickly.
There are two things to consider – image size and file size. Mind you; they are not the same thing.
Image size caters to the dimensions of the image, for example, 1920 x 1080 pixels. On the other hand, the file size is the storage space required for storing on the server, for example, 325 kilobytes. Higher-resolution and larger dimension images (using professional cameras), although, give clarity and emphasis, considerably slow down the page load time. When it comes to the web, it is best to scale down the file size.
Picking the right format
Getting the file format right further helps optimise the image. The popular image formats are PNG, JPEG and GIF, with each having its unique advantages. As a rule of thumb, images with solid colours are best served as PNGs and GIFs, whereas continuous colours are JPEGs. If you are using high-end visual effects through vectors and animation, then SVG is the ideal format.
There are innumerable tools out there that help with image optimisation. Adobe Photoshop is the most renowned. Some of the other image optimisation tools are Affinity Photo, Kraken (suited for bulk compression), ImageOptim (only for Mac users), and File Optimizer. If your website is on the WordPress framework, Yoast SEO, ShortPixel, WP Smush, and TinyPNG are some of the tools you can use.
Now that your images are optimised, you should test them to see the website page loading time. You can use WebPageTest, GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights to test the speed.
Optimising the image file name
Giving a name to your image file is a creative task, but ensure that it is catchy and helps drive up page SEO and image rankings in the search results. The file name should consist of relevant and descriptive words. One way is to use target words at the beginning and create separation with hyphens. Do not use underscores as the search engines cannot decode them.
Using alternative texts and tags
Alternative text is an attribute to the image tag that helps search engines to index your image content. Alt tags provide context and even help the visually impaired users to know about the image. The reason for alt tags is that they help rank your page even if the image is not loading due to a glitch or issue. You can also use brand-relevant keywords for boosting visibility. Beware of keyword stuffing; this may seem like an oversell. There is no word limit, but anywhere between ten to fifteen words will do the trick.
Optimising the image title
For WordPress-backed sites, the image title is taken from the file name. So this can remain as it is. These are less substantial for SEO, but they do add further context to the alt text. Image titles help garner engagement. An image title can also serve as a call-to-action such as “buy now”, “time is running out”, or “limited time offer”.
These are the words mentioned directly below the image visible on the website and help with user engagement. Image captions are powerful as they give users an overall feel to your content. Not including image captions will increase your bounce rates and hamper credibility with search engines.
Sitemaps indicate to Google and other search engines the organisation of your site content. A sitemap lists out the web pages of your website. They are crucial to SEO as they inform search engines about all your web pages. To garner a maximum response, you must include infographics, memes, videos and thumbnails on the site map.
Images are going to be more crucial to fuelling your page and site SEO. There is a whole new meme culture out there already. So, do not take image SEO lightly. Once done right, it is good news for you all the way. Images are excellent for adding an emotional connection and bond with users. If humorous, it elevates the vibe even further.