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Best Practices For SEO-Friendly Images
Jonathan Rodriguez
February 4, 2021

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When you think of SEO, you likely think of keywords, keyphrases, meta descriptions, titles and subheadings. All of these are important contributing factors for making your website’s content rank higher on search engines. There is still another important factor that many people tend to overlook when it comes to improving their website’s SEO. What is it exactly? That is your images that are displayed with your written content. Your images have to be SEO-friendly.

Many people overlook images when it comes to SEO as they don’t really see it contributing to improving a website’s ranking as much as keywords, keyphrases, and other written descriptors. They think they are just there to make the content more engaging. Providing engaging content leads to a good customer experience, which of course means that search engines will rank you higher as your content is deemed valuable. That is why you have to take advantage of making your images more SEO-friendly.  

Build a Competitive Website for SEO

Building a website with no plan for SEO is like building a house with no foundation. It can stand on its own, but not for very long. Without optimizing your website for search engine indexes, you can expect to have little to no organic traffic. This can lead to your website not being used properly. Your website may be the nicest looking website out there, but without the proper SEO practices, you might end up drawing in the wrong crowd, or simply have no one visiting it.

That is why you have to make sure that all of your content is SEO-friendly, and I mean ALL of it.  From the page titles to the URLs, many elements on your website play a significant role in improving your search engine rankings. This also includes the images that you use to pair with your content and post on your pages. 

Images Play a Huge Role

Images are an often neglected part of making your website more SEO-friendly. People tend to think that the only content they have to make SEO friendly is their written content. That is where they are making a simple, but crucial mistake. Images are still a piece of content on your website that search engines will count towards your rankings. 

You might just look at your images as something to make your website look nicer and give it a bit more life. After all, no one likes a website that seems barren of content, especially visual content. Do take note though, that your images also have various attributes that can be modified to make them more appealing to search engine indexes. So, how do you go about optimizing these images? Don’t worry, we got you covered. 

Easy Tips to Optimize Images

Fortunately, there are many ways for you to optimize the images that you use for your website. You might be asking yourself, “If there are so many ways to optimize images, then why don’t many people seem to use them?” The answer is pretty simple. No really, it’s actually pretty shocking. Many people just think that simply uploading a stock photo that is relevant to their content is all they need to make their images SEO-friendly. There is more to it than that though.  

There are many other things to consider and modify about your images that actually impact your website’s ranking when being indexed by search engines. Here are some easy tips that you can use to optimize your images. 

Use at Least One Image On Your Written Content 

The simplest and easiest way to make your images more SEO-friendly is to actually use them on your website. Using an image tells search engines that the content you have paired it with is valuable and engaging to the user. If you just write a blog that is just full of text and nothing else, then users will be less engaged with it as it doesn’t grasp and hold their attention. 

Make Sure Your Images Are Relevant and High-Quality

Images tend to play quite the big role in the user experience. That is why you should not just take any stock photo and paste it onto your website especially if it is not relevant to your content. Be sure to keep the following 3 things in mind whenever you are looking to download and use images for your website. 

  1. Make sure your images are high-quality instead of a blurry mess. That can negatively impact a customer’s impression of your website. 
  2. Ensure that you have the right permissions to use a stock photo as some photo libraries require you to purchase a license to use them.
  3. Make sure that any photo you use is relevant to your content. You don’t want to use a picture of a zebra when you are writing about shaving tips right? 
Try and Use Your Own Unique Images

Stock photos are always handy as there always seems to be an image that fits well with your written content. While they are convenient, they might not be as appealing to your users then if you used your own unique photos. These photos can help your business come off as more genuine and trustworthy than if you just used stock photos. Many websites have stock photos which are why some of them tend to look similar to each other. Don’t let your website fade in with other websites. Instead, think about taking and uploading your own photos to your website. Your users will appreciate this which can lead to a positive user experience. 

Add Structured Data

Structured data can give your content and image a badge from Google that helps indicate what exactly it is. It also can help your images display in search results. For example, a piece of content on a website that is about a soup recipe and uses the right descriptors will likely get a badge that says “recipe.” This means that whenever somebody looks at previews for search results for that recipe, the search engine will show an image of yours along with a badge that says “recipe.” This badge is an indicator describing what your image is. This can help drive more organic traffic to your website as a result. 

Rename the Filename Using The Keyword

A pretty simple tip for making your images more SEO-friendly is just changing the filename of the image that you are trying to use. Many images come with some type of generic filename that is usually a mess of letters and numbers. If you place an image with that generic filename, then it won’t impact your ranking at all. This is where you should rename the image filename with something more relevant to the content that you are pairing it with. 

Ideally, you would use your main keyword in the filename. For example, if your written content is about baking chicken and your main keywords are “baked chicken,” be sure to include those keywords in your image’s filename. The search engine indexes will recognize the similarity between your image and piece of written content, which can help improve your search engine rankings. 

Implement Your Keyword In The Image Title 

One of the image attributes you can edit is the image title. An image usually won’t have a title if you just add it to your page. The title area may just be blank, but you shouldn’t leave it blank. You should name it with a title that uses the main keyword in your written content. This helps better define and describe your photo which search engines appreciate as they can better index your website. 

Write SEO-friendly Alt-Text 

Alt-text for your images is the text that your website users likely won’t see, but can still help improve your SEO. Alt-text is used to help describe your images just like your title. This can help search engine crawlers when it comes to finding out what that image is supposed to mean. It also helps in situations where a browser isn’t able to successfully load an image. The last thing you want to provide a user with is an empty box with nothing in it. 

In the case that the user’s browser doesn’t load an image, the alt text will be in place of where it was supposed to be. This ensures that your bases are covered if a situation arises where an image isn’t loading properly.

Make Your Images More Responsive For Mobile Experiences

With many people using their phones and other mobile devices to browse the web today, you have to make sure that your website is optimized for a mobile experience. This, of course, includes your images. While just placing your image on the desktop version of your website was all that was needed back then, you now have to make sure that they are responsive whenever they are being used on a mobile device. 

What does this mean? It means that your image should be scaled to size whenever it is being shown on a desktop version of the website, and also the mobile version as well. Imagine going through a mobile website only to find a large image taking up most of your screen. That is one experience you should look to avoid having for your users. 

Compress Your Images 

You might not think about image file sizes when it comes to finding ways to make your images SEO-friendly. The fact is that image file size plays a crucial role in the stability of your website. An image with a large file size can slow down the loading speed of your website. This can provide the user with a bad experience, which can negatively affect your search engine rankings. This is where you should consider compressing your images. 

With file compression, you can significantly reduce the file size of an image without any noticeable impact on the image quality. This compression can ensure that your website is able to load with no slow issues that it might otherwise have if you just used the same image with the large file size. 

Create a Sitemap For Your Images

Something you might not know is that the difficulty that Google’s search engine crawlers have on indexing your website can impact your search engine rankings. A sitemap for your images can help Google’s search engine crawlers better crawl through your images and index them for image searching. This means that your images will be ranked higher in image search results. This can lead to more organic traffic finding your site. 

Host Your Images 

Having your images hosted on a third-party website might seem tempting if you want to save space on your website, but what happens if that hosting website experiences issues? This can lead to your images not loading properly which can lead to a negative user experience. That is a less than ideal result if you are trying to improve your search engine rankings. Think about hosting your own images instead that way you can avoid issues like slow loading from happening. 

As you have just read, there are many different ways to make your images more SEO-friendly. The best thing is that all of these tips are actionable and you can start using them today. Get started on optimizing the images that are already existing on your website, or think about the images you will use in the future. 

Don’t Neglect Images Again!

Your images play a key role in SEO which means they shouldn’t be a neglected part of your SEO strategy. While written descriptors and content are important parts of an SEO strategy, that doesn’t mean that your images should be left in the dust. In fact, this means it is more important that your images are SEO-friendly as it can further improve your rankings on search engines. 

SEO is practiced for the purposes of getting more organic traffic to visit your website. It also increases your findability in search results. With a higher ranking, people will more easily find your website. Your images can help in both those regards, so don’t make the mistake of neglecting your images again! 

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