Image SEO uses image attributes to affect rankings, not unlike search engine optimization strategies for text. Since Google is resurrecting this aspect of their site reading and ranking, there are a few things to know.
The change itself comes with the removal of the View Image button. While that button may have made image searches easier for internet users, web pages had seen a big dip in their rankings and traffic (because it was not necessary to go to the website itself to view the image). News sources and similar websites who hosted and indexed thousands of photos were not happy, to say the least.
Hence the outcry to Google–and hence the switch back to the former system.
Since this feature has been restored, sites practicing image SEO are already seeing an increase in traffic. (According to Search Engine Land, nearly 60 sites saw about 40% more traffic on average.)
As you can imagine, when image SEO is done right bumps up click-through rates and conversions by a significant margin. And click through and conversions brings customers and sales.
That means it’s far from a waste of your time.
So, if image SEO is important, how is it done?
You can optimize your images for Google and other search engines in several ways.
“The required alt attribute specifies an alternate text for an image if the image cannot be displayed. The alt attribute provides alternative information for an image if a user for some reason cannot view it (because of slow connection, an error in the src attribute, or if the user uses a screen reader)” [via w3schools]. This is also known as alt text. You can optimize this text by editing Image Details.
Since Google Bots can read and rank the words in your image captions, it is important to work with this content the way you would any other wording on your website when it comes to SE0.
As with your captions, your image file names should include enough information for Google to index them and turn them up in relevant searches.
Since longer page load times negatively affect your SEO, you should compress images whenever possible so your media-rich pages load fast.
“Structured data is on-page markup that enables search engines to better understand the information currently on your business’s web page, and then use this information to improve your business’s search results listing.”
“For example, structured data makes it easier for web crawlers to determine company basics, such as NAP (name, address, place) data, as well as more complex information such articles, events, products, recipes, etc. on your website” (via Adhere Creative). Aforementioned wording related to your images is a part of such structured data and will help your rankings.
XML Sitemap Inclusions
XML sitemaps are lists of all the URLs on a site. Including your Image URLs in this list will give Google more to index, and more to rank, for your benefit.
Image SEO takes time, but it’s a worthy investment when you consider the increase in traffic and conversions. Whether you add captions, include image details like alt-text, or update your Sitemaps and URLs, it’s exciting to think that a picture may be worth not only a thousand words but a thousand clicks, too.
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