How Do You Make Sure That Your Images Are SEO-Friendly?

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), how you are utilizing your images is becoming more and more critical. For example, more people are discovering information via Google images in addition to articles. Having optimized images that people can find through image search is another part of your SEO strategy that you need to focus on. Google recently updated its image publishing guidelines in May 2018 so that publishers could be armed with the latest facts on how their images can be best discovered. In this post, we’ll be summarizing Google’s guidelines and what they mean for you.

How can you increase your content’s visibility in Google Images?

  1. A mobile-friendly design is the single most important factor in being discovered through Google Images. This is especially the case since more people search for images on mobile devices. Google has a test so that you can see if your site is mobile-friendly or not. When you run the mobile-friendly test tool, Google will let you know if your site works on all devices, and you’ll get feedback on what needs to be fixed. We make sure that this test has perfect results with all of our work for clients
  2. Make sure that your images are relevant to your blog post topics - and that they are placed near the specific relevant text. Clicks on images in search can lead to people reading your posts. So make sure your posts are relevant! The more in context your images are, the more they’ll appear in the results. Google also highly discourages pages where neither the images nor the text is original content. Make sure that you are using your OWN images. If you ARE using images that live on other sites (say they are licensed under Creative Commons), then change the title and description of the image. The filename can give Google information about the subject matter of the image. For example, new-2018-red-motorcycle.jpg is a much, much better filename than IMG00025.JPG.
  3. DO NOT embed text in the images. People used to hide text in images, but Google doesn’t like this. Instead, provide alt text for images. Alt text is the text that describes images in Google. Google Images automatically generates a title and snippet to explain best each result and how it relates to the user query. This helps users decide whether or not to click on a result. Also, make sure you still include descriptive information in the title and meta tags for each page. This is still very important to the Big G. Alt text also has another benefit - it seriously improves accessibility for people who can't see images on web pages. Talk to any blind person that uses a computer, and they’ll tell you that they rely on alt text to know what images they’re looking at. An example of alt text can be found in the HTML of your image <img src="new-2018-red-motorcylce.jpg" alt="motorcycle rider zooms on the new red 2018 model"/>
  4. Really get to know what structured data can do for you. Think of adding structured data as giving the Big G explicit clues about the meaning of a page. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content; for example, if you are selling a car, what are the features, the components, and price? What are the colors, the engine, etc.? You can add all of this structured data to your images. Make sure you follow Google’s guidelines on structured data since the search bots won’t be able to decipher your image otherwise! You can use the Structured Data Testing Tool to verify that you’ve done this properly.
  5. For our clients, we always give Google additional details about their images. Each image has its own URL, and we create an image sitemap. Image sitemaps can contain URLs from other domains, unlike regular sitemaps, which enforce cross-domain restrictions.

And to us what is the single most important thing you can to increase your content’s visibility in Google Images?

Optimize for speed!! We cannot emphasize this enough. We’ve seen too many use images that are far too large, which makes pages load slowly and negatively impacts SEO. There are many ways that you can optimize images so that they appear the same but are much smaller file sizes. Google is pretty transparent about image optimization and responsive image techniques that you can use to make your website faster. We see a lot of websites still using far too large image files when not necessary. As a general rule of thumb, we like to keep on-site images below 1MB. One big reward that Google Images offers is the AMP logo when you have a site that loads fast. The AMP logo helps visitors identify pages that load quickly and smoothly. It’s a good way for your website to stand out in Google Images because it looks more like a seal of quality. It’s not hard to get this AMP logo on your page - read the guidelines to decrease page load time.

Let us know how optimizing images has worked for your SEO!

The more and more people search on mobile, the more of a channel Google Images is going to become. It’s not just about text anymore - having images that don’t just look great but have all of the structured data they need while having a small size will give you an advantage. It’s not an easy process to outrank your competitors, but let us know how you’re doing! In the end, it comes down to this: if you are designing your site so that it’s easy to navigate, read, and it’s fast, Google will like you more. Pour through Google’s guidelines. While SEO is still packed with mysteries and Google’s algorithms are always changing, there are some fundamentals that to us will always be around.