How to Optimize Images for Google

by | Jan 15, 2021 | SEO

Are the images on your website optimized for search engines? If not, you could be missing out on valuable organic traffic from Google, where image searches are a growing trend. By implementing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques with website images, you can help Google find and index photos, logos, infographics, and other visual content for relevant image searches. Here’s how to optimize images for Google.

Opt for Original, High-Quality Content

Searchers are more likely to engage with images that are unique and visually appealing. If possible, avoid using stock photography on your website, as these images might also be used by other websites, which makes them less unique. Look for opportunities to create and design custom images and infographics, as these can help your website stand out in search—they’re also highly sharable and good for backlinks!

Showcase Relevant Images

Keep in mind that Google wants to send searchers to webpages that match search intents. Google is more likely to recommend your site if it includes a relevant photo, infographic, chart, or diagram that satisfies the search intent and adds original value to the page. To determine relevancy, Google crawlers examine the surrounding text around the photo and judge how closely related the body copy and image are. For example, including a photo of a puppy on a page about retirement investments won’t improve your image optimization, but a bar graph depicting how your organization has helped increase retirement savings over time might.

Choose the Right File Formats & Dimensions

In order for Google to show your images in search engine results pages, they need to be in appropriate formats. Certain image formats can impact image quality and page download speed.

  • JPG: best used for larger photos and illustrations; good color and clarity with a relatively small file size
  • PNG: good for preserving background transparency in an image; offers better text visibility than JPGs, making PNGs are a popular choice for infographics, banners, and screenshots
  • SVG: extremely small file sizes that don’t lose quality as they’re enlarged; ideal for logos and other high-resolution, computer-generated graphics
  • GIF: small-size files that support animation; can slow down webpages if overused
  • WebP: ensures good quality despite small file size; aren’t supported by all browsers and image editors

Also, Google is less likely to show images at the top of search results that have unusual or awkward dimensions. When adding images to your website, try to use common web aspect ratios like 4:3 or 16:9.

Conduct Keyword Research

Before naming image files or writing image metadata, you’ll want to do some keyword research to discover the words and phrases searchers use to find images. Obviously, you should include keywords relevant to your business, but you should also look at using long-tail keywords for specific services or products (e.g., “snow removal in Fargo”) and semantic keywords that are related to your main keyword (i.e., If “Philadelphia plumber” is your main keyword, you might also consider using “Philadelphia sink repair”).

Use Appropriate Image File Names

Optimizing an image starts with the file name. You want Google to be able to understand what the image is without having to even look at it. Construct a short but descriptive name separated by hyphens. For example, “golden-gate-bridge-sunset” or “bacon-cheeseburger-with-gruyere.” (Note: You can omit articles like a, an, and the in file names.)

Include Alt Text

Alt text is a description of an image that appears in HTML code. It functions first and foremost as a way for screen readers to convey an image to visually-impaired users. However, this metadata can also provide context for search engines to understand what an image is and how it’s relevant to the content on that page. When writing image alt text, describe the image thoroughly yet concisely. For example, “President Barack Obama waving to crowd during 2008 presidential election victory speech.”

Add Structured Data

Structured data (or schema markup) can be used to share additional context with Google regarding the content on your website. This includes images. Including structured data can increase the likelihood that your website images get rich snippets or even earn a prominent badge as a product, video, or recipe.

Struggling with website optimization? Hurrdat Marketing can help. Learn more about our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services!

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