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Image SEO 6 Best Practice Tips

Image SEO Featured Image
Reading Time: 8 minutes

When creating pages to your new site, it’s easy to focus entirely on the SEO of the written content itself. There’s a lot to think about: you need to make sure you’re providing correct and relevant information, adding useful sources, and writing something that flows well and is easy to read. However, image SEO is an important part of a page that often is forgotten. If you wish to reach social media targets, and shares, to drive traffic – images are crucial. In fact, an analysis by BuzzSumo found that articles with an image every 75-100 words were shared twice as often as articles with fewer images.

Displaying images are an important part of a viewer’s experience when visiting a page or article. It’s therefore important to make sure that the images you choose are working for you as efficiently as your articles. On the other hand, adding or altering images to suit your page can become a lot trickier than the written content it corresponds with. To that end, we’ve put together a few useful and simple tips to help you make sure that the images you want to display are at their best.

For good image SEO, name the image file

The first step to making sure that your image practices are up to scratch is a simple one; you need to make sure that the file names for your images are accurate and relevant. It’s important to describe what the image is or what it pertains to. This will tell search engines what is going on in the picture, and therefore how to categorize it and what results to include it in. It’s a great and easy way to aid your SEO targeting. It will enable Google to direct potential visitors to your page when they’re trying to find something relevant to the image you’ve posted.

Therefore, name the image something relevant to the topic it depicts before you upload it to your website library. Since the image ideally will be directly relevant to your article or page, it will further aid your SEO targeting.

Choose the right scale

Image SEO visualizing importance of scaling images
Smart scaling helps image SEO

Unlike when dealing with filenames, there’s no easy way to determine what the best image size should be on a given page. However, it can often be determined simply by considering how it will look on the page. Making sure that your image will be displayed correctly is usually fairly simple. For example, if your image is 1500×1000 pixels and you think that it is a good scale, you’ll simply need to make sure that it’s set to appear as the same size on the page.

You should keep in mind though that pixel rates can become a bit tricky. When you’re changing the image scale, keep in mind the visual space on a page it will occupy. If you want an image to become visually smaller, you should be wary of the pixel size. If an image with 2500×1500 is set to be shown at 250×150, the entire image will still need to be loaded each time the page is viewed. This will disproportionately impact loading speed. Which in turn will have a tendency to drive potential viewers and customers away from your site.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really an ideal size. In truth, it depends on the size of what you want it to be displayed as. So if you have a 1500×1000 pixel image, display it at a similar size on the page. Don’t use massive images when you intend to display them in a small size on the page. In other words – if you intend for the image to be relatively small, aim for the pixel scale to be relatively small. This way, you avoid using a disproportionate amount of bandwidth on an otherwise visually small image.

File size and best practice image SEO

As we discussed in the previous section, pixel rates can disproportionately affect loading time versus its contribution to the content. The same applies to file size, in some respects, as it’s often difficult to find an accurate balance. In general the smaller the file size the faster the loading speed. However, the smaller the file is lower the quality of the image becomes. To ensure good image SEO in this regard is to find the right balance.

There are some general guidelines; according to Search Engine Journal, for example, a good range is generally somewhere between 1.38MB and 860KB. While there are other guidelines like this out there, there’s often no hard and fast rule. It usually takes a bit of practice and some time to tweak a few images to see what’s best. Once you’ve found a good balance, the process becomes easier as you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for.

Why worry about size and scale balance?

When you find that balance, you will be able to take advantage of the great opportunities images offer, either as a B2C or B2B. If you’re a B2B, you should seriously consider using video or infographics in your visual content. Infographics boast impressive results with 3 times as many shares and likes as other content – helping you reach your target audience. Images in LinkedIn articles generate 98% more comments. While video makes up no less than 30X the amount of time consumed by Facebook users. Additionally, as we’ve mentioned in our earlier article discussing small business branding, using brand-centric images and infographics improves your brand audience by 67%!

The important thing here is to consider what your hosting situation is; are there any storage/upload limitations to be wary of? Additionally, it might actually be wise to keep the images smaller than 60k. Especially if you keep in mind the size of your site over time if you always include images with your pages and posts.

If you’re using WordPress for your site there are plenty of excellent plugins out there. One favorite we recommend is WP Smush. It maintains the image quality while helping to reduce the file size overall.

Captions part in image SEO

Captions are very simple to add to your images, enhancing them further to help your site’s online visibility. These are optional, so you don’t have to add them if you simply don’t like the way they look. They are, however, a simple and quick way to ensure that your target audience can find what they’re looking for. As it’s such an easy way to implement good image SEO practice, it’s at least recommended that you consider it.

While it helps cement your message for search engines, it also allows your readers to quickly find the specific information they’re looking for. It’s also an easy way to add another keyword or phrase to your page that search engines will pick up on.

As mentioned, it is optional. However, it can be added to general enhance the experience of visitors (especially speed-readers who scan the page). There isn’t really a tool we’d recommend here. The only thing here is just to implement it.

The value of alt text

As you may know, alternative text (or alt text) is a descriptor for an image within the HTML code on a page. It can be referred to by many names, correctly or otherwise, like “alt attributes”, “alt descriptions,” and “alt tags.” If for some reason the image can’t be shown, often due to an error in loading it, the image’s alt text is displayed in its place. This text functions much like a caption, but for search engines primarily rather than for human readers. It allows a search engine to understand what the image displays and therefore what kind of search queries it might be relevant to.

Image SEO infographic on alt text through wordpress

Image alt text also makes your images more accessible for any site visitors or customers who are visually impaired. Ensuring that the correct image alt texts are in place gives you the added benefit of making your site accessible for those who need screen-readers. Not to mention that it allows search engines to find as much information as possible. It’s simply good image SEO practice!

To summarize, alt text should be included whenever possible. It aids the usability of your site for people who use screen readers, or for those who have turned off images in their browser. Additionally, it makes the image more easily understood by search engines. There isn’t really a need to look for tools to help implement alt text for your images. The important bit in relation to image SEO is to ensure that the alt text is accurate and descriptive.

What file type to use?

Before uploading an image to your site, it’s important to choose the correct file type. This is another extremely simple and quick way to enhance your image SEO. It will also have wider benefits in the long run. If you attempt to add an image to a page with an incorrect file type it may not display correctly. Worst case, it won’t display at all.

Even if the file type is not optimal, although not entirely incorrect, the quality of the image may be affected. For images with predominantly solid or block colors, such as infographics, we find that PNG is generally the best option. For pictures which are richer in colors and grades, like photos and portraits, JPG/JPEG should generally be the file type of choice.

If you really struggle with changing your image from one file type to another, we suggest getting a free Canva account. That way you can upload your image to Canva, then download it again and simply pick the file type you’d like.

We’d love to hear from you!

We want to make sure we provide useful information first and foremost. While we also want to help give insights into SEO in general, and image SEO in this case. The balance between useful information, and flooding an article with details, is not always straightforward. Please, let us know if you have any questions about the article or about image SEO. Of course, would you like help with your SEO, you can always contact us using the contact form below – or via email.

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