7 Proven Strategies for Creating SEO Friendly Images
If these stats aren’t startling enough to convince you that images play an important role on your website, we don’t know what will.
However, the truth is, imagery does more than make your website visually appealing.
Images break up long text, making your content more readable, increase your content’s shareability on social media, and helps people better understand what you’re trying to share.
However, if you don’t take the time to make SEO friendly images, they could end up hurting you more than helping.
If you’re wondering how to improve your current marketing strategies and make your images SEO friendly, so your content ends up in relevant search results, keep reading.
We’ve rounded up some of the best SEO strategies for your website images, so the right kind of traffic continues to come your way to see what you have to offer.
1. Name Your Images Properly
It’s tempting to want to leave your images with whatever filename they’ve been given when you save them.
However, the problem with that is, the original filenames are not usually understood by people.
Moreover, if they aren’t understandable to people, you can bet crawlers looking to index your website for search results can’t understand them either.
Avoid using filenames such as IMG_3467.jpg when uploading images to your website. Instead, opt to rename the filename with a short description of the image itself.
If you can add the keyword you’re trying to rank for somewhere in the filename, even better.
For example, you might label your image’s filename blue-handmade-flowerpot.jpg.
This way when crawlers check your site and index it, they know what your image is of, what it relates to, and how to rank it in search results.
Just try to place the main subject of the image at the beginning of the filename so Google can tell right away what your picture is of.
2. Choose the Right Image Format
You may not realise it, especially if you’re starting your freelancing career, but the type of image format you use plays a role in how well your site functions.
Moreover, if you know anything about SEO, you know that the speed and performance of your website help you rank higher (or lower) in search results.
Slow loading pages lead to higher bounce rates, which no one ever wants.
That’s why choosing the right format for every image you upload to your website is essential.
Here’s a brief look at the standard image formats you might use when uploading images to your website:
JPEG: JPEGs are most commonly used for photographs with lots of colour and detail. Though they can be compressed into tiny file sizes, which is good for site speed, they tend to lose quality if compressed too much. Finding the balance between large file size and quality is the key.
PNG: PNGs are the most commonly used format in the online world. They have a high colour range, support transparency, and are perfect for images such as logos, background images, and infographics. They’re also great if you take many screenshots for step by step tutorials. When compressed, their file sizes don’t get quite as small as a JPEG, but there is no loss in quality.
GIF: GIFs are mostly used when you want to display simple animations on your website. They only support 256 colours, making them hard to use when quality is your overall goal. However, GIFs are great for social media posting, online forums, and even chat applications.
Before saving images to use on your website, be mindful of the format you’re keeping them in so the quality is preserved but so is the loading speed of your site.
3. Be Original
If everyone uses the same stock images found in the usual places, such as Pexels, there is no originality and Google will have a tough time ranking the most relevant content.
However, if you create one-of-a-kind images and add them to your site, Google bots have the perfect opportunity to crawl and index your site as separate from the competition.
If you’ve created relevant images to complement your site and its content, you’ll rank highest in search results because of your originality.
For help creating unique images to use on your website that not only grab people’s attention but help your SEO efforts, try the free online tool Canva.
Take advantage of the pre-designed templates and use them as inspiration.
From there, customise colour schemes, font styles, and elements like icons, and even change the background of your images, so they are truly original.
4. Compress Images
As mentioned earlier, the size of your image files can have a significant impact on the speed and performance of your website.
Unfortunately, the larger the file size, the slower your site loads, and with that comes an increased risk of:
- People abandoning your site without converting, which increases bounce rates
- Decreased pageviews and session durations, which hurt SEO
- Slower page loading times which harm the user experience and your search rankings
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to compress your images before uploading them to your website to reduce your chances of them using too many site resources and slowing loading times.
For instance, you can use TinyPNG, which compresses both PNGs and JPEGs into smaller file sizes.
You can also use a tool such as Compressor.io, which helps maintain your image’s quality, while still optimising them for faster loading once uploaded to your website.
5. Create an Image Sitemap
You might know by now how important it is to submit a sitemap of your website’s content for Google and other prominent search engines.
However, did you know you can submit an image sitemap too?
Creating and submitting an image sitemap using Google Search Console is a great way to tell search engines what images you have on your site and how to rank them.
Check out this simple template Google has for those wanting to code their own image sitemaps:
If you happen to use the WordPress content management system, there are some easy to use plugins that will help you create and submit image sitemaps:
Keep in mind; Google states that you can either create a brand new sitemap, made up of images alone, or add pictures to your existing XML sitemap.
6. Include Alt Text
In addition to naming your image filenames correctly, it’s crucial you add alt text to every image you upload to your website.
After all, Google bots looking to understand your site and rank it in search results also read this bit of information.
Include SEO keywords to the alt text you add to your images and keep in mind that sometimes people can hover over images and see the alt text as well.
This is part of making your website accessible.
Not to mention, if your image doesn’t load for some reason on your website, the alt text may display for people, so they have some context.
Because of this, you should make sure the alt text makes sense to not only bots crawling your site, but people too.
7. Add Captions
If you don’t want people to have to hover over images to get written context about a particular image, all you have to do is add an image caption.
Captions are short image descriptions that accompany the image on the webpage, as though it’s part of the written blog content.
Image captions are helpful for SEO because they allow people to scan your content quickly and easily, which Google loves.
Along with headings, subheadings, bullet lists, and more, image captions help people in a rush to read content fast, and crawlers index site content just as fast.
It’s a good idea to be mindful of how many image captions you use on your site’s images, so you don’t over optimise and risk being penalised by Google for keyword stuffing.
That said, failing to add image captions where it makes sense is a lost opportunity at boosting your site’s SEO.
Final Thoughts on SEO friendly images
Regardless of what you’re using your images for, whether it’s for email monetisation so you can get more mileage out of your email list and generate a new income stream, or you’re trying to sell products online through your e-commerce site — it pays to optimise your images.
After all, images can do wonders when it comes to increasing your conversion rate and helping you rank in SERPs.
By failing to make your SEO friendly images, you run the risk of losing out on leads, sign-ups, and sales.
So, take the time to not only choose relevant images that will grab people’s attention but to make them work for you rather than against you when it comes to ranking well in search results.
Inkbot Design is a Creative Branding Agency that is passionate about effective Graphic Design, Brand Identity, Logos and Web Design.