In order to compete with the top sites in your industry, you need to pay attention to every single element that improves SERP rankings. SEO, at a technical level, is much more advanced than what people believe. The images that you add to your site are a clear example of that.
In most cases, site owners just download images from stock websites and they upload them to make the content more attractive. When you do this, you miss out on an important SEO optimization that can help you rank better.
One thing that every single site owner needs to know is that 20% of the web searches in the US took place on Google Images in 2018, according to Jumpshot. These statistics do not change as time passes. Unfortunately, most site owners neglect this. You should not make this mistake and you have to add image SEO to your on-page SEO checklist. Here are the most important tips to perform proper image SEO.
Choose an appropriate image format
You can choose out of countless image formats but on the internet, the best ones are JPEG and PNG. PNG will produce great quality images but the file size will be larger. JPEG loses some image quality but file sizes are lower.
Generally speaking, JPEG images are perfect for visual, bigger images that are taken by a photographer. For daily use and most blog posts, PNG is better.
Always compress images
When it comes to SEO trends, few people realize the importance of website loading speed. Viewers want to see pages load as fast as possible or they will simply leave. Search engines realized this and they now prioritize websites that load fast.
21% of the average website is made out of images. This means that you gain an instant increase in page loading speed when you compress the images you use. You can easily do this with tools like TinyPNG or WordPress image compression plugins. If you never optimized the size of the images you use on your site, you can expect a faster loading speed by around 30% by simply compressing images.
Create unique images
Images need to pop on the site and in search engine results. This is not easy to do if you just use the same images everyone else does. There are countless websites that use generic stock photos. You do not want to be one of them.
Even if the stock images you use perfectly match the content and they are optimized, an original, unique image is always better. This can be done in different ways, like:
- Taking your own photos
- Editing stock images used
Customize file names
Image SEO is incomplete without keyword-rich, descriptive file names. You should never upload images with filenames like DMG001.jpg. This is because Google cannot figure out what the image is about.
Whenever you update an image, you have to change its name to something appropriate and descriptive. Based on the size of the media library, it will take time to change file names, but it is worth it.
Add SEO alt text
Besides the file name, you need to add alt tags, which are text alternatives that browsers can use in the event that images cannot be rendered. Alt is an attribute that describes image file content. Whenever an image does not load, an image box appears with the alt text in it.
The Alt Tag is a very effective way to add more keywords to your pages without spamming, as long as every single tag added is unique and well-written.
Define image dimensions
The last thing that has to be mentioned is that image dimensions have to be defined inside the source code. This is usually not needed if you use PWA or AMP. However, if this is not the case, it is best to simply define height and width to offer the best possible user experience.
Nowadays, more people use mobile devices to browse the internet and their number is growing. You have to prepare and make sure that all images look great on mobile versions of pages.