How to optimise images for search engines

In addition to text, content and links, images can also be used as an effective way to increase the visibility of your website. Images that are both relevant to your content and optimised properly can bring more traffic to your site, particularly through images found in a Google search. However, search engines cannot physically “see” your images, so how is it that you can use them to boost your SEO?

Alt tags are vital

Alt tags are a critical element to boosting your SEO through images. These can give the greatest visibility, so it’s imperative to include them for each image that you use. “Alt” or alternative text is what shows when the image is unable to be displayed. Search engines read this text even when the image is able to appear normally. This can be entered specifically in the code. Say for example you are a specialist balloon company, and the image you are using is of a red balloon, your code may read like this…

< img alt="red" src="redballoon.jpg" / >

This allows you to increase your use of the keyword “balloon” whilst also having the practical purpose of indicating what the image is if it cannot display. You may also find that there is the opportunity to enter the alternative text when using a WYSIWYG editor to upload an image, if you are not able to use coding. Keep tags short and simple.

Filenames for your images

Before you upload an image, you should think about what the filename is that the image is saved as. For example, if your red balloon image is saved as “image1.jpg” or a default number from a camera of device such as “CD0242.jpg” then this is not going to be useful in increasing your search rankings. If it is saved as “redballoon.jpg” again it increases the clarity of what the image is, but contributes to the SEO by incorporating your keyword again. This is because Google uses these factors to identify the most useful and relevant results in searches, so as you include relevant keywords your image will display higher in organic search results.

Keep it web-friendly

There’s a lot to be said about the effect of optimising images for web –use. You’ll need to find a balance. Too high-res images will slow your page loading speed and have a negative impact on your SEO, but pixelated images that are too small will look terrible and increase your bounce rate, which will also decreased your SEO. The trick is to stick to standard image formats for example .jpeg, .gif and .png files, at a normal web-resolution of 96dpi.

Other image SEO tips

Did you know that it’s possible to add images into your XML sitemap? You can do this manually or using sitemap generation tools. In essence, this works towards ensuring that your images appear properly in image searches. This is just an extra thing that Google will be looking for and to boost your SEO.

More expert SEO advice

Of course, there are many more elements to fully optimising your website. Here at Iconic Digital, we have experience at creating websites that are fully optimised for Google. Find out about How to get to the top of Google.

For more SEO and digital marketing tips, get in touch today on 020 7100 0726.

Author: Wes Maynard - Follow us on