Image Optimization for SEO

Team TypeStack
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Images easily draw attention and trigger emotions in users. They help in enhancing your web page and improving user experience. Text heavy websites are no longer something users are looking for. Graphics and images don’t require much effort to understand and so make it easier for a user.

Adding images to your website is just one part of the gamble, making sure these images are SEO friendly is the other. It is important to make sure the images you add to your website do not impact your website negatively. 

Resize your images

Google is really starting to crack down on website speed when it comes to SEO. Large images can really slow down your website page speed. Images that load slow are not just a factor that affect user experience, it also affects your ranking on SERPs(Search Engine Results Page).

Google also lays more emphasis on mobile optimized pages when compared to desktop. So make sure your website is mobile optimized and does not use gigantic images. Always resize your images before uploading them. Do not depend completely on plugging to compress your images, as most pictures available on stock websites are huge in size, these plugins are usually not of much help. A general rule of thumb for image size is no wider than 1200 pixels, or less than 250 kilobytes in total file size.

The truth is, besides banner images, most images don't need to be very big. There is no need for them to be any larger than the actual size needed to display on your website, which in many cases is between 350 and 750 pixels. It is good to use JPEG over PNG, or other file formats, unless your image needs a transparent background. In that case, use PNG. You can use for you blog, it auto-optimizes your images for SEO, so you don’t have to manually do this for every image.

Rename images

The file name of your images actually impacts SEO. When you browse the internet you will come across many websites using images with file names like this; IMG_556829.jpg. Note that image names help Google understand the subject matter of the image. It's just common sense. So how do you choose image file names? Well, it all starts with your keyword research.

You should conduct an organized keyword research up front, it makes naming your images easier. In a nutshell, the purpose of keyword research is to select one focus keyword for each page or blog post, on your site, along with the additional supporting keywords. When you do keyword research, make note of several keywords for each page or blog post. This makes the process of naming images a breeze.

Simply organize your images by which pages they're going to go on. Then use the keywords for that page in the file names. For example, for the main image, use the focus keyword in the file name, or use the keyword, as is. For additional images on that page, name them using the next most important supporting keywords or the keyword that most closely matches the image itself.

SEO friendly alt text

Image alternative text is a description associated with each image on your website, that search engines use to understand the image, but also used by assistive technology for people with disabilities, to describe exactly what is in the photo. And in some cases even required by law under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Usually the image alt text is empty by default.

So you'll most likely need to manually add this for every image on your website. We recommend using the same keyword you used in the name of that image file in the image's alt text, while still accurately describing what's in the image. In WordPress, you can add image all texts inside the details for each image in the media library. And the process is pretty much the same for all other website platforms.

With these three tactics, you can now optimize the images on your website, and give yourself an SEO edge over your competitors. Not to mention following these steps will also help your images appear in Google Images, another potential source of traffic. The key is to make sure the image, the image name and alternative text are relevant to the page. Optimizing your images will affect the SEO and ranking of your entire website.