Optimizing Images for Search

We’ve all been there – searching for an image that perfectly complements the content of a blog, newsletter or landing page and, after scrolling through pages of stock images, you ultimately opt to create the photo yourself. But once you have the photo, what do you do with it?

Search engine optimization does not stop with the words on the web page – a well-rounded SEO strategy includes image optimization as well. In order to get the images on your website to perform well in “image” searches and contribute to your overall rankings, there are five steps to take before publishing your post to the world:

  • Use images relevant to the page copy.

    With 1.8 billion photos being uploaded onto the Internet every second, it’s hard to consider how yours might stand out. One of the best ways to make your image perform well is seemingly simple: find or create an image that aligns with the optimized content of the page it corresponds with.

  • Write a real file name for your image.

    If you haven’t renamed the file from “IMG_0376.jpg” to “Horse in Mardi Gras Parade” (for example), chances are you’re might get flagged by Google. Plus, then visitors who hover their mouse over the image will see something like “Horse in Mardi Gras Parade” instead of “IMG_0376.jpg.”

  • Reduce the image file’s size.

    Oversized images are one of the major catalysts of slow page load times. We highly recommend reducing the image’s size before uploading. Taking this step will save you and your readers plenty of time in the future and improve your site’s mobile-friendliness.

  • Include alt text.

    Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, web pages are prone to load improperly on random occasions. When this happens, the images are the first things to go. Alt text is the descriptor copy that shows up in place of an unloaded photo. By describing the photo you give your user a better experience while encouraging search engines to index the image. You have up to 16 words to do it, so go in to detail!

  • Add a caption.

    The caption is another user experience best practice that will hopefully keep your bounce rates lower.

 

From user experience to page speed and bounce rate to indexing, images affect a wide range of metrics. By optimizing them, your images can help your blog or landing page’s performance in search. In today’s mobile-driven digital space, your photos can often say more than one thousand words if you put the work in before uploading them.