What do you mean by image SEO?
The optimizing of the image as per the SEO parameters is referred to as image SEO. Just like text, there is also an image section in Google where images are shown as a result of keyword search. It works the same as the normal searches. Thus, the title of the image and tags used, contribute to image SEO.
Simply put, with an attempt to explain image SEO to a layman we will quote image SEO as the practice of attempting to rank the images higher in the search for related keywords. Basically, this phenomenon came into practice to match up with Google’s algorithms for search displays. Google algorithms are a certain set of criteria followed by Google to show results for various searches. Similarly, Google has a separate set of algorithm for image searches which use image title, captions, alt text and tags for the images.
In this blog, we will throw light on all such parameters to properly understand what is meant by image SEO and how it functions.
What is the Significance of image alt tags and title tags from the SEO perspective?
Before we explore the significance of the alt attributes of image tags and titles. Let us begin with the clarity of concepts of image alt tags and image title tags. The image tags are commonly known as alt tags or alt text and title tags even though, they are not actually tags. They are the alt attributes of the image, the purpose of which is to provide a description to the image.
In the screen readers, the browsers used by blind people, these alt texts are read aloud as image descriptions. Thus, the alt tags are not just significant from the SEO perspective but also for the convenience for blind people using screen readers. This is why an extra emphasis is laid on adding SEO friendly alt attributes in the images. The SEO experts pay less attention to the title attributes. However, it is suggested that you fill up the title tags as well.
Let me show you an image showing the alt attributes in WordPress.
Now that we are aware of what is alt text and title text, we can read further about the significance of Alt text and Alt title:
When the image takes too much time to load
The images may at times take way too long to load because of which the user might simply run away. In meantime, the texts will load and unloaded image definitely leave a negative impact. Thus, in the presence of alt text, even if the image does not load, the alt text will be displayed in the white space. So, this puts the website owner at a. n advantage with the visitors with slow internet connections. Such visitors will at least have an idea of what the image talks about instead of reading texts cluelessly about the images.
- Search Engine Readability
The search engines crawl millions of website every moment in search of information. The search engines like Google, Bing, etc. find it hard to read images which is why it is suggested to add alt text as the image attributes so that the search engines are able to know what the image talks about and also about the surrounding texts.
An image containing alt attributes is obviously more easy to read and thus such an image will be shown higher in search results as the image SEO will be good.
Screen Reader- The browser for blinds
As mentioned above, the screen reader may be easily able to read texts but finds it hard to read images without alt attributes. Thus, the Google algorithm lay extra emphasis on inserting alt attributes in the image so that the screen reader, reads the information to the blind people using the browser. The alt attributes serve as a description of the image.
These were some of the many reasons why we are being suggested by Google to make use of Alt tags. Now, let’s come to a less technical topic that is, ‘why should we use images in our blogs’.
Why do we need images and how they help us increase the engagement per post?
The bloggers and SEO experts have time and again suggested that the images must be used in blog posts in order to increase the reader’s engagement and for certain other reasons we will be discussing in this space.
The first and foremost reason to add pictures amidst the boring texts is to make it attractive to read. The images describe the blog much before the texts do. So, yes! the images are significant in their purpose i.e. make the texts visually appealing.
Image SEO- The Search engine traffic generated by images
Images are capable of getting more traffic on the website than you can think of. The image SEO works equally in proportion to texts in terms of getting the traffic. By taking care of the metrics for image SEO, the images too can rank higher. These images, when shown in search results, redirect the web users to the owner’s website.
Relatability and Sharing
Images make the blog posts more interesting and descriptive in nature. The readers are able to relate themselves more with the pictorial representations and are able to understand better the blog posts that contain more of pictures. Such pieces of writings increase relatability. When a reader is able to relate to a piece of text, she is more likely to share it with her friends. The promotions through word of mouth led by excitement and reliability are the best form of promotion and if you are able to achieve that level, you are lucky.
The write-up appears substantial
A write-up that has covered one-fourth of the entire length with images is more capable of retaining the reader’s attention. Also, the images create a perception that the article is relatively more credible in information and is a substantial source to pick information from.
Images are Descriptive
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’, is a popular quote and abiding by it, we know that choosing the right image can be difficult but the right image is worth more than long paragraphs of description of a particular subject. The texts are important too but the value added by images is much more appealing to the masses.
So, this was about why must you include images in a write-up. Let us now take a look at the ways you can optimize the images inserted in a blog post, article or any other form of digital write-up.
How to optimize images for Search Engine?
The web has listed several ways to optimize images as per the Google’s search engine algorithms. In this space, we will take a glance at some of the prominent points with an attempt to be able to optimize images at the end of this blog.
Naming the images
Now, this might sound silly to you but when you download an image, it is very important to save the image with the relevant name. Doing so will have two major benefits: First, it will become very easy to locate the images in the gallery. Second, it is beneficial from the SEO perspective as it will be automatically picked up as the title tag.
The title tag helps the search engines to read the information better and show your images in the related searches. Thus, for image SEO you must make it a habit of saving the images with proper names.
An important point to be kept in mind while saving the images is to choose image titles that will be used by your target audiences for searching your products or website online. Accordingly, you must choose your title names that will show your image in the search results.
Use friendly Alt text for your images
Many SEO experts may be using Alt text for images but most of them lack the knowledge on how to write SEO friendly alt text for your images. The idea of Alt text is that it is a text alternative to the images. Thus, making it easy for web crawlers to render the information. This is the reason you will find it suggested on many places that you must use friendly alt tags for your images. But what do we mean by friendly here? Friendly, here refers to the texts that are easily understood by the search engines and are written in plain English. So, stick to it- Be descriptive and use plain English.
Tips for choosing Alt texts:
- Be specific with the product terms, especially if you are dealing in technical products.
- Do not stuff keywords in all your images
- The decorative images do not need to be filled with alternative texts since those do not substantiate the texts. Thus, inserting alt attributes in these images will do no good but only harm the reputation o your website.
Do not set your image size too high
The image size and the load time are directly proportional to each other. Thus, it is always advised to avoid using too high image size since it will affect the load time of the website which is not a good sign from the SEO perspective. (Read for SEO tips and tricks for bloggers)
Whatever image size you choose you must keep it consistent throughout the post and equip it with descriptive alt tags.
Also, it must be noted that the image size does not necessarily refer to the dimensions of the image.It is mainly focused on the file size and if you use WordPress, you will anyhow have to use an image that is of max. 2 MB.
Choose the file type wisely Jpeg, Png, or any other
The file type you choose has an effect on the image quality that will be displayed on the web. And you don’t want to display a poor quality image on your blog or generally on the website either. So, you know there is another point to be considered while you are optimizing the images on the blog i.e. the file type of the image. Let me show you an example that clearly differentiates between the image quality of different file types.
This image seems like an evident enough example of the quality difference with different file types.
Avoid Uploading Decorative images
When we say avoid uploading Decorative images, it is because we suggest you to add them to the layout design of the website and not upload it each time you publish a post. This subtracts the spamming issue and eases your task overall.
Also, if you upload decorative images each time without alt attributes, it will do no good to your website, instead, harm the value of your website. Thus, embed the decorative images rather than uploading them. The border images or the images that are present only for design are referred to as Decorative images.
Now that we have discussed how can we optimize the images that we upload on the web. Let us take a quick look at the elements of image SEO.
What are the elements of image SEO?
Google has set algorithms for each content bifurcation used by search engine optimizers. Same is the case with images. The images have certain elements that affect the search ranking of those images. Now, what are these elements that determine the ranking of a certain image? Read on!
As mentioned prior, the size of the image has a major impact on the image SEO because of obvious reasons. The heavier the file, the more time it takes to load the page. A higher load time is not beneficial from any perspective. Thus, the file size of the image must always be low.
As discussed above, it makes very clear that an image’s file size plays an important role in its load time. Thus, the load time is directly proportional to the file size of the image. Also, if your web page has a longer load time, it will only have a negative impact on your SEO as your bounce rate will increase because of this. And you certainly do not want that.
The quality of the image you are using has an impact on the entire website. If you use low resolution and small dimensioned images, it will only make your web page look of poor quality and reduce the credibility of the website.
The descriptive captions, alt text, and title tag are recommended primarily because it is suggested by Google itself and even the other search engines like Bing, etc. also use text as an alternative for images. The web crawlers use these descriptions to read the context of the surrounding text.
The last topic we are going to discuss in this blog is the type of image you must use and the various techniques you can employ to choose the images that are more appealing. Read on for some interesting facts.
The techniques to make the image more appealing!
Most of you might be aware of the fact that human eyes react to different colors differently and if you use this phenomenon for the images you insert in the blog post you will be able to get the desired response. You must not that color psychology has a major impact on the viewers and so you must exploit it effectively. The color of the images obviously impacts the text but the color scheme of the website also influences the minds of the visitors to a great extent.
Take a look at the various emotions provoked by different colors:-
Red- Rage, excitement, energy
The reason why the call to action buttons are usually red.
Blue- Calm, trust, Intellectual
The reason why we trust Facebook so much.
Yellow- warning, emotional, fragility- very Eye-Catchy
The reason why the warning signs are yellow.
Green- Balance, environment- peace, and tranquility
The reason why the organic products and vegetable stores are so fond of this color.
White- Hygiene, cleanliness, purity
The reason why the hospital and churches have adopted this color.
Black- Mysterious, glamor, strength
People usually have varied opinions when it comes to the color black. Well, I don’t blame them, the color is definitely mysterious.
These were emotions generated by the primary colors, the secondary colors have their impact too. You can read how color psychology affects your conversion rate here.
The factors affecting the relevancy of image used by you in context to the texts is again a major element determining the appeal of the image. Say, if I am writing about a toothpaste I will substantiate the text with the help of an image showing white teeth. Since it will be relevant to the texts that I am writing. Obviously, you are not going to post anything anywhere, there’s got to be some relation between the two.
With this, I end the blog here. I hope the blog is comprehensive of all the information you were looking to understand and implement image SEO for your blogs.