Search engine optimization is complicated. There are hundreds of different things that need to be done. So, it is very easy to overlook some critical elements. This brings us to images used in your blog posts.
Optimizing images for optimization purposes is actually a vital part of the work you have to do. Although it is simple, it is often neglected. Most site owners understand the fact that images are essential for SEO, but they do not really know why. Let’s highlight the real reasons you have to be aware of and give you some tips to better optimize images for higher search engine rankings.
Why Are Images Important In SEO?
Most people only think about keywords and text when they want to do some search engine optimization work. But images do play a crucial role. They help SEO because:
Images Improve User Experience
Nowadays, most of the content we consume on the internet is visual. People are in a hurry, and they want to skim articles. When analyzing a page, we need to see images.
It is never pleasant to see a page that looks like a Word document. The first thing that comes to mind is that the site is not trustworthy. At the very least, it will not be memorable. Research showed us that site visitors are much more likely, by 80%, to read page content when an image is included.
Images Increase Time Spent On Site
When images are added to blog posts, users spend more time reading the content. The search engine registers this. Google practically understands that the blog post offers the information that the visitor is looking for.
Although time spent on site is not a significant ranking factor, every little thing counts.
Images Offer More Information
When you optimize images properly, they do have a direct effect on on-page SEO. While the visitor can only see the actual image, the search engine crawlers will see much more than that. They see the text that is present behind an image. This offers more data about the content and can drastically increase the optimization of the page.
Also, keep in mind that images can be used to make the text more valuable. We only need to think about the infographic as a great example of that. Images have the power of giving visitors a lot of factual information. Although it is not presented in text form, and Google will not actually see it, your visitors will. They will spend more time on the site, which is precisely what you need.
Images Reduce Bounce Rates
Images will not only increase the time the visitor spends on a page. They will also reduce bounce rate. This is another indicator of a high-quality website that Google appreciates. If the page only has text, it is a certainty that bounce rate will be a lot higher than it should be.
How To Improve Image SEO
Obviously, it is not enough to simply add random images to your blog post and expect great results. Images also have to be optimized. The following tips will help you to do just that:
Only Use Relevant, Quality Images
A massive part of image search SEO is not related to optimization. It is about the choice you make when you select what to add to your blog post. The images added need to be 100% related to the content. Also, they have to be of a very high quality. This does not mean they have to be large. They need to be clear and look professional.
Always Customize Filenames
When you add an image with a generic filename, like “DSG00001.jpg”, it does not say anything about it. Google will not learn anything from the picture. This is why you have to change the filename to something that is entirely relevant for the blog post. Preferably, include a target keyword. For instance, if the blog post is about how to toast bread and you include an image of a toaster, the filename can be something like “red toaster used to toast bread.jpg”.
Always Use ALT Tags
Visitors do not see the ALT tags, but crawlers do. These meta tags allow you to say more about the images you add. Also, it is the ALT tag that appears on the blog post if the browser experiences difficulties and cannot load images.
In the ALT tags for images, you want to include the primary keyword for the blog post together with extra descriptive text.
Optimize Image Sizes
When you add several images inside a blog post, the size of the page is increased. This is very important right now because it leads to higher load times. Remember that over 50% of website traffic these days comes from mobile devices. If the blog post takes too long to load, the visitor will just look for information somewhere else.
Fortunately, when you use CMS systems, like WordPress, it is very easy to resize images with the use of a plugin automatically. When you do not use a CMS, the images have to be resized with the help of tools like JPEGmini or TinyPNG
Use The Appropriate File Type
Different image formats can be used. Each has some advantages and disadvantages. It is important to use the right one. The three that you will most likely want to use are:
· JPG – Image quality is not that high and transparent backgrounds are not supported.
· PNG – This offers a high resolution but can be much larger than GIF and JPG.
· GIF – This format is preferred because of smaller file sizes, and transparent backgrounds are supported. However, the color range is not as high as with JPG and PNG.
As you can see, images are essential for every single blog post that you write. Make sure that you choose the best one possible and that you follow the advice mentioned above.
As a final thing to highlight, if you cannot add many images in a blog post because of any possible reason, at least include a featured image. That image will appear as a preview on social media and can at least give some information to search engines about the content.