Whether you’re a blogger or writing an article for a magazine or online blog, you’ve probably come across the question of whether or not your article needs an image. The answer is always “yes”. Images bring the article to life and also help your website’s SEO a lot. This post explains how to fully optimize an image for SEO.
Table of Contents
Use of images in content
Images, if used correctly, will help readers better understand your article. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” probably doesn’t apply to Google, but when you want to summarize a long article or a rich comparison in the form of a graph, images are certainly useful.
It is a simple recommendation to add images to any article you write to make it more attractive. After all, since visual search is increasingly important. As seen in Google’s vision for the future of search, it may provide you with a significant traffic benefit. And if you have image content on your site, it makes sense to put image SEO a little higher on your list of work priorities.
Some time ago, Google created a new look for its image search engine with different filters. These new filters show that Google increasingly knows what is behind an image and how that image appears in a text.
Finding the best and most relevant image for the text
It is always better to use original photos or photos that you have taken yourself. Especially the about us page of your website needs your real images, images that you provide yourself and also of sufficient quality, rather than using duplicate images.
Your article needs an image that matches its topic. In WordPress if you are just adding a downloadable image in your article to get a green light in Yoast SEO Analyzer, I must say that you are really wrong. The image should reflect the topic of the post or serve the purposes illustrated in the article. Also, try to place the image near the relevant text. If you have an original image or an image that you want to rank, put it at the top of the page.
There’s a simple reason for all of this: an image with relevant text for your target keyword will give you the best SEO results. In the following, we will talk more about image SEO (optimization of images for search engines).
Using original images for better SEO on the site
If you don’t have access to original photos that you took with your own camera, there are other ways to find unique photos, and of course you should still avoid using public photos that are out there on the internet. The website Flickr.com is a good image source because you can find creative images produced by people. Just remember that after using the photos of this site, you must mention the name of the producer of the image.
Of course, if you use duplicate photos available on the Internet, you will see that those photos are not too complicated and you can easily recreate a photo similar to them or take it with a camera. So what better way to take the photos ourselves and use original photos to add credibility to the site. We recommend that you use GIFs (animated images) on your site because they are very popular today. Of course, they should not be used too much. Use photos and GIFs sparingly, as excessive use of moving images can distract readers.
Optimizing images for use in website content
Once you’ve found the right image, whether it’s a photo, animation, or chart, the next step is to optimize it for use on your website. So before adding your image, here are some things to think about and check:
Choose the correct name for the images
The first step to optimize images is choosing the right name for them. If you want the Google search engine to understand what image you have without checking your image, it is better to choose the file name of your image correctly
Choosing the right format for image files
For images, there is no fixed format to say that this is appropriate or that! It really depends on the type of image and how you use it. In summary, we recommend:
- Choose JPEG format for larger photos or images. This format gives you good results in terms of color and resolution in relatively small files.
- If you want to keep the transparency of the background in your image, or in other words have images without a background, use PNG.
- You can also use WebP instead of JPEG and PNG. This format produces high quality images and smaller files. You can use tools like Squoosh to convert your images to WebP.
If you know that the majority of your audience will be using a particular browser or device, make sure that the format you are looking for is supported by those browsers.
The effect of image size on site SEO
The loading time of images has a great impact on user experience (UX) and SEO. The faster the images are loaded, the faster your website will work and the search engines can index it faster and search it more.
Images can take a terrible toll on your website’s loading speed. This bump occurs when you have selected a photo that is too large to display in a small size. For example, add a photo with a size of 2500 x 1500 pixels to display in a size of 250 x 150 pixels to the site. Therefore, it is better to change the size of the photos to the size you want them to be displayed. Of course, WordPress automatically resizes the files for you. But unfortunately, it does not reduce the file size (in terms of volume).
Using responsive images to improve website SEO
If you are using WordPress, there is no need to worry because WordPress supports this from version 4.4 onwards. That is, it uses an attribute called srcset for images. This feature allows images to be displayed correctly for different screen sizes. This is very important for displaying the site on mobile phones, and if you don’t use WordPress, be sure to make your images responsive on the site with the srcset feature.
The effect of reducing the size of image files on site SEO
The next step in optimizing images for search engines is to reduce the size of image files (in terms of volume) as much as possible. There are online and offline tools to do this.
For example, you can reduce the file size of these images by removing the EXIF data. We recommend using automated tools like ImageOptim or websites like JPEGmini, jpeg.io, Tinypng or Kraken.io.
Once you’ve optimized your images, you can test your page speed and SEO with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, WebPageTest.org, or Pingdom.
Placement of the image in the content of the website
Google prefers images to be placed close to the textual content associated with them. This helps Google understand the meaning of the content and image and provide more useful information in the search results.
Alt and title for images
Alt is an attribute whose value is text and is added to images until the image is not displayed or is loaded badly, that text is displayed instead of the image. It doesn’t matter why the image didn’t load. However, the description of the photo is displayed as text instead.
Make sure you add alt text to every image you use on your site and make sure the alt text includes SEO keywords for that page. Most importantly, describe what’s in the image so that both search engines and people can use it. The more information about an image in the alt attribute, the more important search engines consider this image.
When we hover over a photo or move the mouse over it, the title is displayed as a small text in a box on the image. Most of the people copy the text they wrote for alt and put the same for the title attribute. But this is not the right thing to do and it is better for the title text to be a brief description of the photo that is included in the text of the article.
The impact of image placement on SEO
Everyone has their own taste for placing pictures. But it should be noted that the location of the images also affects the lines of the text. Sometimes placing images left and right causes the beginning and end of the lines to be out of the hands of the readers and the feedback of your site decreases.
In fact, the placement of images or the Alignment feature has no direct impact on SEO and this feature is not important for Google. But considering its effect on the beauty and readability of the site’s content, it must be said that by satisfying the readers, they can be kept on the site for a longer period of time, thereby increasing the site’s traffic and improving the site’s SEO.
Sitemap in XML format for images
If you are a web designer, you probably have questions about sitemaps for your website images. In this regard, Google responds as follows:
“You can use one of Google’s add-ons or extensions designed for images as a sitemap to provide Google with more information about your website’s images. Installing this extension will help Google crawl through your site more easily and find and index your site’s photos.
WordPress users should note that the Google extension is not available by default in plugins such as Yoast SEO. So it is better to follow Google’s recommendations to improve the image index.