How to Optimize Images for Better SEO Results and Higher Visibility in Google Search


Images are an important part of any website. Yet optimising them for search results is often overlooked. This means there is an opportunity for anyone aware of the advanced aspects of image optimisation to take advantage and make images feature more prominently in search results. By making some fairly straightforward additions to how images are described and labelled on web pages, real results can be gained in terms of increased visibility and traffic.

Google is always improving its ability to process and understand the content of images, including facial expressions, logos, and more which is definitely something online marketers should start paying closer attention to.

As Google and other search engines have become better at reading images using sophisticated methods to associate images with keywords searched by users, images are now displayed more prominently on search results pages.

Images for some search verticals will show in the top positions of search results and if your images are correctly tagged and labelled, they can appear above or instead of images directing traffic to your competitors.

How Google chooses images for search results

The inner workings of Google’s advanced algorithms remains something of a mystery but we do know they are capable of surfacing relevant images based on a user’s search query. To do this, the search engine looks at factors like context, image file name, alt tags, title, description, and captions. Technology has recently advanced to the point where it can pick out and understand certain aspects of images.

Taken together a range of factors are taken into consideration to understand the context of an image and determine how to rank it which is why optimising these elements is critical for getting the best SEO benefits from Google Images.

How can you optimise your images to display better in search results?

Much will depend on how well your website is put together and the platform it is on. WordPress and similar website building software will make the process of image optimisation relatively simple.

There should be options to edit the image description, caption (if required), alt tag and title of the image. These should all be aligned with the keyword target for the page the image appears on. Alt tags should be 2 or three words and descriptions and titles should be reasonably short. Keyword stuffing (using too many keywords) should be avoided.

The information you add to alt tags won’t be displayed on a web page, but it will be visible within the code which tells search engines what the image is and what it represents. This will give search engines such as Google more context and help them index your images and include them in the correct category of image.

How to use images on websites

Images are an important part of any website. They help to attract attention, trigger emotions and build trust with your visitors. However, you should never use an image solely for the sake of filling up white space or making a web page more visually appealing. Instead, consider your website’s goals and then choose images that support those goals and represent what the business does.

The Benefits of image SEO

As we have established, image SEO is not as complicated as other areas of SEO, but it can still have a big impact on your ranking and user experience.

Beyond SEO, choosing the right file type, size and resolution helps keep your site load time down and improve image quality. JPEG files are best for photos, while PNGs are better for graphics. When it comes to image file sizes, it is crucial that they are small enough sized appropriately for the page without compromising on quality. This will help improve page speed and overall user experience, resulting in better conversion rates and indirectly better SEO.

The more popular and usable a website is the more visits it attracts which will also feed into better search performance. Add to this the fact that search engines are increasingly giving images more weight in their search algorithms and results pages and you have a key component of SEO that shouldn’t be ignored.

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