How to Optimize Images for SEO (8 Must-Know Tips)

If you want your website to stand out from the crowd and reach the top of search engine results, you must think outside the box. Adding excellent written and visual content is essential for search engine optimization (SEO). 

However, as search engines have evolved, so have the opportunities for optimization. You need to have a solid SEO Strategy. Traditionally, the focus of optimizing was solely on text. However, now you can optimize images to help engage more users. 

Let’s dig deeper into how you can optimize images for SEO on your website. 

Choose High-Quality Images 

If you want to optimize your pictures for SEO, you need to have high-quality photos on your website. You take original snaps or opt for stock photos; both help get the job done. 

Original pictures allow you greater creative freedom. On the flip side, utilizing the services of a professional can be pretty costly. Clicking photos and editing them also takes some time. 

You can acquire stock images at convenient prices and use them instantly. You have lesser creative control but you can always find amazing pictures in practically every niche. 

Image Names are Important 

When you take photos, the camera assigns them numbers such as img_2729554. They add little value to the search engines, and you must change these random names to something meaningful. 

Ideally, the image name should describe the photo and have at least one keyword. However, never try to stuff keywords since search engines discourage such practices.   

Alt-Tags Help

These are brief descriptions of the photo that serve multiple purposes. It offers valuable information about the image to the search engine and helps with optimization. It also helps visually impaired people know about the pictures since they hear these descriptions on the browsers. 

If the image fails to open, the alt-tags help the viewers know what is shown. Search engines don’t mind good alt-tags with keywords but do not like keyword stuffing.  

Do Add Captions 

Captions help improve the overall user experience even though they are not a direct ranking factor for search engines. Some images need support information to create a better understanding. Unlike alt-tags, captions are shown with all photos.

It also helps improve viewers’ time spent on the page and lowers the bounce rate. Both these factors are essential for overall search engine rankings.      

Add an Image Sitemap 

Image sitemaps help optimize them for SEO. Sitemaps help both your audience and search engines discover images, even if they are non-indexed. 

If you’re using the Yoast plugin for WordPress, an image sitemap will automatically be created. By default, only some basic information about photos can be added. If you want to add more, you have to do so in the coding.  

Pay Attention to File Formats 

The three most commonly used image file types in the digital world are JPEG, PNG, and GIF. JPEG takes the least space without compromising the quality, so it is the most frequently used option. 

However, if you’re dealing with vectors and graphics, PNG is a better option. Similarly, GIFs are perfect for small animations on the website. There isn’t any single solution when it comes to image file formats, and you choose them as needed.  

Smaller File Sizes Help

Smaller file sizes help images load faster. Page opening speed is an important ranking factor. You can utilize many online tools that can compress the pictures without compromising image quality.

However, the image’s EXIF data should not be removed in the process. The EXIF data, which gives information about the camera used, geolocation, date, etc., is essential for ranking with Google. Besides, removing EXIF data has little to no effect on the file size.  

Incorporate Some Graphics

It would help if you used graphics wherever possible to add some more appeal to your website. Vectors are a great option since they use mathematical equations instead of pixels, and do not pixelate. 

They offer the same results on 14″ and 23″ screens with no change in quality. You can also use some creativity to create logos and add some catchiness to your page. 

The Bottom Line 

Image SEO is an excellent option for gaining a competitive edge in the search engine world. By adding good quality pictures and following image optimization best practices, you can help your website rank higher in search engine results. 

There is no rocket science involved in the process. You need to ensure that you facilitate both search engines and viewers with helpful information about the images. As long as you take the right steps, your images will show higher in web searches.  

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