How to Improve SEO Using Images
One of the many things we do with our SEO services is improve SEO using images on the site – there are a surprising amount of non-optimized images that we update to make sure that they’re optimized for search. Not only is it important to make sure that the images are compressed for web, it is also valuable to ensure that you’re using file names and alt tags that make it easier for search engines to accurately index the page.
While it’s not a focus in this article, it’s important to first and foremost make sure that the image is relevant to what you’re writing about. This will help the page rank for the keywords relevant to both the page and image. With that caveat out of the way, here are some ways to make sure you’re doing images “right” for SEO:
Step 1: Always make sure the image is optimized for web
Why is this important, you ask? Well, saving the image as a web-optimized file is important for page speed, which helps improve SEO. Although you can manually set the width of the image using HTML, the browser will still load the full image if it hasn’t been downsized. This may not seem like an issue, but if it is consistently not done across the site, it adds up to a lot of data that you’re adding to pages and consequently, a lot of page load time.
Step 2: Make sure the image has an accurate file name
Sometimes, if you’re saving an image, it will have the id of whatever site it came from – i.e., 235_5234.jpg. It is important to give it a descriptive filename, preferably lowercase and make sure there are no spaces (instead using “-” to separate words). Make sure it is descriptive, but concise! This will help Google tag the image for whatever keywords you’re trying to rank for, as long as the image filename contains these keywords (but make sure they accurately describe the image).
Step 3: When adding to the page, make sure to add an alt tag and a caption (if applicable)
Alt text is important in the case that either the images don’t load, or the page is being read by screen reader software. Without alt text, the image will essentially be useless in these two cases. In addition, it is a required HTML attribute, so it actively counts against you if it’s not being used. So when you have the option to enter alternate text in your CMS, make sure you use it.
While captions aren’t necessary, they can be helpful – especially underneath a more complex image or diagram. These should be used to help explain the graphic to the user, or add more detailed information about the image. It helps the user scan your page for information and digest the content more easily.