What is image optimization? We live in an increasingly visual world. And in this world, the value of image SEO cannot be overlooked. Images make your web pages more attractive. More likely than not, there is an image on every page of your website. Without the proper optimization, however, you are wasting valuable image SEO assets.
Also, the larger the file, the longer your page will be to load and the higher your bounce rate will be. Proper optimization creates a number of benefits for your image assets, including a better user experience, faster page load times, and additional ranking possibilities, both in traditional search results as well as image search results.
Though visual search research has rapidly progressed greatly, search engine algorithms cannot detect picture content; You will rely on picture captions to comprehend completely what the photos are and how they connect to your content or subject.
So how can your pictures be found and do they not slow down?? What are the most crucial elements? There are the key things you need to know about image SEO and other image optimization tips.
Important Image SEO Tips You Need to Know
1. Use high-quality original images
The more original images you have, the better the user experience and the better your chances of ranking in relevant searches. Give your customers an insight into your business or give your visitors a high-quality product image that they will respond to. High-quality original images make you stand out in search results – so show your brand personality and get more people to your website.
2. Improve images with image editing tools
You may do more for your customers when you get pictures from DepositPhotos or Shutterstock. Transparent background maker tools like Removal.AI can also remove the backgrounds of noisy images with distracting extra elements and allows you to create an entirely new image for your site. Other photo editing programs and image resizers such as Canva enable you to apply individuality, text, and distinctive character to your photos that may make them more enjoyable. Lots of hero images and seemingly stored product photos are enhanced and made more engaging with a personal touch using these tools. You may build a customized status update or slideshow from a theme using these tools.
3. You can use images in .JPEG format
Know the type of file you are working with. For optimization reasons, you will generally use a JPEG.
A JPEG image is the best technique to maintain a quality image reduced or resized. They work on a high-resolution image with a wide variety of colors, shades, and patterns, and it’s the most popular internet photography.
4. Name your images
Google may be a very powerful search engine, but it can’t read, so it’s up to us to tell it what is in our images or photos. For example, if you embed an image on your site and it is called “myPhoto.png” and it represents the forest of Malmifait, what will happen? Your image will simply be referenced with the keyword “myPhoto” and not “Forêt de Malmifait”. So if users are looking for pictures of the Malmifait Forest, they will not come across your site but that of your competitor who is thinking of putting a good title in his image.
5. Add an alternative text or the “ALT” attribute
What is the alt text or “ALT” attribute? This is what literally represents an image. This value is all the more important if it allows the user to use accessibility tools to hear the text read aloud or to read its transcription in Braille. But back to SEO. Why is this important for this one? This allows search engines to determine the content of your image and associate your site with search terms. However, be careful not to stuff your images with keywords that will be interpreted by browsers as “Keyword Stuffing” which will reduce the SEO of your images. Alt text or “ALT attribute” is, technically, text that can also be displayed if your image has a display problem.
6. Add the caption of the image
What is the legend of the picture? This is simply the text that is usually found under an image. This is not mandatory and does not add value in terms of SEO. It is especially useful for the user experience and allows you to contextualize your image and explain it verbatim.
7. Add the title or the “title” attribute
The title or “title” attribute is the text that appears when you hover over an image with the mouse. This additional information has no effect on the SEO of an image but increases accessibility and user experience.
8. Take into account the content around the image
The context and content (including the image caption and title) on the page where the image is to be referenced provides search engines with important information about your image. So avoid incorporating a photo of a cooking recipe in a page where the content talks about, for example, the right to vote and to be elected for Women in 1944. Whenever possible, be sure to place your images near relevant text. We also recommend that you assign descriptive titles and captions to your images.
9. Manage the format and size of the images
Certain image formats are preferred (JPG, GIF, PNG) even if search engines are able to read other image formats. Ideally, the native size of an image should be the same as the size it is displayed on your site. You do not need to display an image with a native size of, for example, 800 * 400 pixels while you display it with a maximum size of 200 * 100 pixels. Google is able to detect this and impact SEO. Note that this optimizes the weight of the image and therefore (sometimes significantly) improves the loading time of your page. You can use different SEO tools to check if your images should be optimized or not.
10. Create a long description
Like the caption, the long description of your image is not directly read by Google but is very useful for attachment pages. It is also a great image SEO lever for portfolio-type sites or sites dedicated to photography.
11. Define your dimensions
If you are using AMP or PWA, you need to define the dimensions of your image in the source code. However, if you are not using either, it is still recommended that you set the width and height. It offers a better user experience.
Additionally, it allows browsers to size the image before the CSS loads. This prevents the page from skipping when loading. Image dimension attributes are also important to avoid Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) issues that can interfere with your Core Web Vitals optimization.
It is essential to make sure that you include the width and height attributes for each image and video clip. This tells the browser how much space to allocate to the resource and prevents that annoying movement of content that lowers your CLS score.
12. Make your images mobile-friendly
Oh, mobile image SEO. At worst, it can give you a high bounce rate and low conversions. But, at its best, it can give you more ranking power and better user engagement. The problem is, how do you optimize your images for the mobile-first index?
You design pictures that are responsive. This implies the picture is sized according to the site size whether the viewer uses a desktop or even a mobile device. It adapts to the size of the device. Mozilla provides full use of the srcset and sizes attributes to provide the browser with additional source images, allowing the display of identical image content resized for the device. It’s important to format this with a different part of the attribute value on each row.
13. Consider lazy loading
The browser defers loading pictures (or any other things – video, etc.) until they have to be displayed on the screen. Lazy loading is possible. Other pictures are loaded when loaded – that is, you scroll.
Google says here about sluggish loading:
Lazy loading on longer sites that have numerous pictures below the fold may be accelerated considerably by loading them as necessary or when the major content has been loaded and rendered.
14. Leverage browser caching
Caching the browser is where pictures (and other data) are saved in the browsers of your visitors. This means that if you visit your website in future, things will load for you faster.
You had to download and see all of the pictures in your browser when you came on this blog page. Now, if you wish to reread this page tomorrow, without browser caching, this process would have to be performed in full.
However, when your browser is cached, your browser is cached on some of these pictures. Therefore, you don’t have to save them again when you see this page again — or similar one. Many of them already load significantly faster on your PC.
15. Use a CDN
Most websites are used from a single server for all their data (including pictures).
If we suppose your web server is in the UK, then when someone from the UK sees your website, your photos don’t have to go far. But for your guests in the USA it’s a different story. Pictures have to journey far beyond them. This reduces your page loading speed.
This difficulty is resolved by CDNs(Content Delivery Networks) by caching your data over a worldwide server network. Now, when you visit your website, you load your photos from the server that is nearest to you.
A great news is, at VernalWeb, all web hosting plans comes with free CloudFlare CDN. So you don’t need to purchase another CDN service with extra cost.
Final Words of Wisdom before you Apply These Tips
Image SEO is a complex subject. Google has tons of documentation on the subject. Their page on Image Optimization Automation is over 15,000 words long.
That’s why it’s important to note that I haven’t covered absolutely everything in this article. It would be impossible. You can read Google’s documentation if you want to know everything (and if you have a few weeks ahead of you). This article deliberately focuses on the most important elements, which in my opinion will have a positive and most important impact on the SEO of your website.
But to summarize the subject, here is an illustration that summarizes all the important criteria for your images to be well referenced on Google.
Remember, you should also make an effort to make sure that your images are of high quality and that they contribute to a good user experience. This means avoiding poor-quality photos, making product images expandable, etc.