While the primary focus of SEO is understandably on the leading search engine, it is important not to neglect Google Images. According to a study published by the SEO software company Moz, Google Images accounted for 26.79% of all U.S. searches on the main web properties, which far exceeds significant competitors like Bing, Yahoo!, and Amazon. Images, however, are often an afterthought in the optimization process. Thankfully, optimizing for Google Images is a relatively quick and painless process, with the following tips increasing the chances of ranking images for your target keywords.
An alt tag is an alternate description of the image if it cannot be displayed. The tag, although brief, offers the chance to include a more detailed keyword than your main title. If you are showing a product, for example, the alt tag could display the exact model name and a distinguishing feature (such as the color), increasing the chances of the image showing in the Google search results.
File names, frequently saved as a mix of random numbers and letters, might have some relevance to the site owner, but they offer nothing for SEO purposes. A sound file name should be a simple keyword or variation on the primary term, plainly describing what is in the image.
The image title will be displayed if a user places their mouse over the image. This tag offers a further opportunity to describe the image but is often more detailed than a simple file name. In most cases, though, it is important not to be too descriptive as a large block of text can be a distraction for someone scrolling down the page.
The image description can be longer than other tags and provide a more detailed view of the image. Do not stuff it with keywords, however, as it could lead to over-optimization penalties. Depending on your site builder or WordPress theme, opening an image in another page will usually display the description, providing surrounding text and HTML to identify the image contents easily.
A caption will appear underneath the image, although positioning can sometimes vary. It will be visible to users, unlike other tags included only in the code. A caption can be used to make a comment about the image or even link out to another location, and they can be useful when offering a benefit to the consumers. Avoid excessive captioning, which could lead to penalties.
Quality images are vital if you want searchers to visit your site from Google Images. Original photos will be most useful, but you can also make use of public domain photos or quality stock images. Within a grid of many pictures, a bland stock image will not stand out, but tools like Canva could transform a standard image into an eye-catching design.
A common issue with images is their size and unnecessary information. You don’t, however, want to make the image size excessively small and harm the viewer experience. If you have experience with a tool like Photoshop, you can optimize the file size without reducing quality. Alternatively, there are many sites and apps like TinyJPG that can perform a quick compression and minimize file size.
An image sitemap lets Google quickly find all the metadata for your images. While crawling your site will often lead to many photos being naturally indexed, a sitemap should increase the chances that users will find all your content. If you use WordPress, a plugin like Yoast SEO will automatically include your images within the sitemap, simplifying the process considerably.
Google Images might not offer the type of traffic that will revolutionize your business, but it is significant enough to deserve some focus. Optimizing your images is a straightforward process, and you can perform it quickly as you post new content. This optimization will then offer additional benefits for SEO as it helps the search engines understand the content on a page. Too many site owners use file names that don’t help their content, readers, or the search engines. With some additional input, though, you can ensure your site has an extra level of optimization that brings extra traffic.