How to Boost Your SEO with Optimized Images

Mar 19, 2015

The real problem with all-text content is that it’s typically plain and occasionally boring. Considering that the average reader has an attention span of no more than 15 seconds, you’ve really got your work cut out for you in creating a message that attracts and holds the reader’s attention long enough for you to get your point across.

image optimization tips

Illustrating your text with a relevant image is one of the most effective methods for making your content more eye-catching, in addition to increasing your audience’s comprehension and retention of your material. Text combined with images generates increased levels of comprehension and retention far above what can be achieved with either text or images alone.

Best of all, the ability of images to improve the quality of the audience’s experience with your content is not lost on Google: adding relevant images to your content will help boost your rankings for organic keyword terms as well as for image-based search.

The Case for Optimizing Your Images for SEO

  • While the day may come when Google is able to see and evaluate graphic images, Google for now is essentially text-driven – and needs a little help “seeing” and evaluating your images.
  • If Google can’t see your images, it can’t reward you in the search rankings for providing a quality viewer experience.
  • Proper optimization of your images is just as important to your on-page SEO efforts as having correctly optimized title, Meta description, and H1 tags.

Use Alt Text Tags to Describe Your Images
Alt text (alternative text) tags are basically tags that accurately describe what your image is all about. An alt tag enables the search engines to evaluate your image, and encourages viewers to click through to your offer in those instances where your image has failed to render properly. To create effective alt text tags, you should write descriptive text that is keyword-rich, not too wordy, and to the point. If you’re using the image to link out, be sure to include text that relates to the link’s destination.

Choose Your File Name Carefully
Choose a descriptive yet unique file name to improve your chances of competing in the search rankings. The more information that Google has about what your image is all about, the better. For instance, an image of the Grand Canyon at sunset should be labeled “grand-canyon-arizona-sunset.jpeg” rather than simply “grand-canyon.jpeg.”

Use a Widely Supported File Type
The number one most-recommended file type is JPEG, with PNG coming in second. Be sure to match the extension of your file name with whichever file type you choose, such as .jpeg or .png.

Scale Your Images
Images can drastically affect page loading time – the longer it takes to load the more frustrated the user gets, and the more likely that Google will penalize you. Scale your images down to the size you wish them to be rendered at. Consider showing a smaller image, and give the viewer the option to view a larger image in a pop-up.

Reduce the File Size of Your Images
The idea is to serve your image in the smallest file size possible. ImageOptim is a free shareware tool that quickly and easily compresses your image files, reduces unnecessary metadata, and reduces color depth to an acceptable lower level.

Consolidate Your Images into One Sitemap File
Placing all of your images into a single directory simplifies the indexing process for search engines as well as helps you stay better organized. You can either create a separate sitemap for your images or add all of your image information to your existing sitemap.