Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) isn’t just about algorithms and keywords, and it’s not just for web pages. Images are one of the most popular ways people search the internet, so optimising your images for SEO can help drive more traffic to your site. Unfortunately, the average website has fewer than 5% of its images optimised for SEO. This is a huge missed opportunity for your business, as optimised images can distinguish whether someone sees your page.
Beyond SEO, images are essential for other reasons:
- They help visitors understand what they’re reading.
- Search engines understand what your site is about.
- They contribute to readability and usability.
- They improve brand recognition and trustworthiness.
- Unique images attract more links from other sites.
Luckily, there are many straightforward steps to ensure your images are picture-perfect for visitors and SEO.
If you already have a website, why not use our SEO Analysis Tool to identify critical errors with your SEO?Simple. Repeatable. Actionable.
Use descriptive file names
File names are another critical factor in optimising images for search engines. File names should be descriptive and include the topic of your image and any other relevant information like date or location.
- Make sure you’re using a unique file name for each image. Avoid using generic terms like “image1” or “photos.” Keep it short — the longer the file name, the harder it will be to read on-screen. Finally, use simple language that is easy to understand without looking up an explanation (e.g., don’t use abbreviations).
Keep the file name descriptive and use hyphens. For example, the file name for a photo of a dog running through a field might be dog.jpg. Make it more descriptive with dog-running-through-field.jpg. The number of words you use in the file name can be as high as 10 or 12 if you hyphenate between words.
Use alt text for image optimisation
Alt-text is the brief description when a browser cannot display an image. Make your alt text descriptive and relevant to the image. This will help search engines understand what your images are about so they can display relevant results on their search engine results pages (SERPs). The recommended length for alt text is 150 characters.
Use keywords in alt text, but keep your alt text concise by leaving out unnecessary words such as “the” that offer little information. Another reason to use alt text is that it can improve the user experience. Screen readers also use this text to describe images for people with disabilities, so it’s important for accessibility and SEO.
Avoid keyword stuffing
Avoid over-optimising or keyword stuffing. Over-optimising means using keywords or phrases that have nothing to do with the image. This can cause problems if you are trying to optimise images for SEO and could lead to your website being penalised by Google.
Use images that are the right size for web pages
Image size matters for displaying correctly on a screen and affects loading time. How quickly an image load affects engagement and bounce rate and is a factor in Google rankings. How can you optimise your images to ensure they display well on pages?
First, ensure your image dimensions are the same as the dimensions of the space in which they reside. For example, if you’re using a 100×100 pixel image as an icon on a webpage, do not upload an image larger than 100×100 pixels. Otherwise, it will take up more room than necessary when displayed on the page. Next, use an image editor such as Photoshop or Gimp to ensure all your images are the correct size.
Secondly, compress your image as much as possible without compromising quality. You can use free online tools available at sites like TinyPNG, which will compress your images into smaller sizes while keeping their original quality intact (though some loss of quality may occur).
Make sure your images have enough resolution to display well on all devices. Retina displays and other high-resolution devices make it more challenging to find suitable images at low resolutions. Instead, use tools like GIMP, Photoshop, or any of the many free tools online to resize large images so they take up less space on your website.
Use high-quality photos so they retain quality when resized or compressed. Low-quality images may look fuzzy when scaled down or compressed for faster loading times. When you start with a high-quality photo, you have more room to compress and resize it without losing quality.
Use unique images
How often have you landed on a website and been greeted by the same tired stock photos? Most people take the path of least resistance and grab a few stock photos for their website. As a result, their content lacks impact.
It’s an all-too-common occurrence, making you wonder why that company hasn’t invested in their brand. However, it’s not just about having a good product or service – people want to connect emotionally with your business. And that’s where custom photography comes in.
Custom photography gives your brand a human touch. It helps establish trust and credibility. It enables you to connect with customers in a way that stock photos never will. And it brings real value to your website and social media channels.
If you can’t take your photography, use stock images but alter them to give your photos a unique look, using image editing software like Photoshop or Canva. Make sure your images are consistent in style across your site.
How does having unique images help with SEO? First, other sites are more likely to link to websites with amazing photos, which increases backlinks and your authority in the eyes of Google.
A good image is worth 1,000 words. It can be the difference between a website that looks like a child made it and one that’s uniquely beautiful. Make sure your images are engaging and well-optimised for SEO purposes. It’ll pay with more traffic and a better user experience.