Image SEO – 7 things you need to know about optimising your images

Jan 17, 2020 by
Image SEO – 7 things you need to know about optimising your images

We are visual people by nature so is it any wonder that image optimisation has become such a valuable practice amongst SEO marketers in recent years? We’re not just talking about making sure your image is showing off your product or service in the best light, the right resolution, and the most flattering angle either.

We’re talking about being able to reduce your image to the smallest file size possible without losing quality and optimising your images so they rank highly on Google and Google Image Search.

But what tactics should you be using to ensure your images rank as highly as your written content? Please read on.

It’s all in the name

How many times have you uploaded an image and left the default filename? It might save time but if your image is not given a relevant name that utilises strong keywords then you won’t get anywhere. This is 101 in image SEO optimisation because search engines will focus as much on the filename as the image itself.

Don’t forget the alts

Searching for an imageAlt attributes refer to the text that loads when images can’t be rendered due to slow bandwidth or other errors and they will also factor into your image ranking.

So, think of your alts also as bonus keywords that you can use to describe your product and even add in model or serial numbers where possible.

Multiple angles

To increase your chances of ranking, don’t settle on one image. Try to post multiple images that capture a different side or function of your offering.

For example, you wouldn’t want to just see the interior of a car. You can also create unique alt attributes for each angle so don’t forget to cover every base.

Keep it small, keep it simple

Small and simple SEO images will always get more views and will always rank higher. This is because half of all consumers won’t wait more than 3 seconds for an image to load before clicking on and not everyone will have access to super-fast internet at all times.

Recently, research by Amazon found that if their images took an extra second to load then it cost them up to $1.6 billion every year. So, make sure your image file size is small and that the image itself focuses on the product above everything else.

The right type

The file type is a lot more important than you might think. Whilst they are seen as a little old hat in some corners, JPEG files are still the most practical when it comes to compression and the ability to fit more detailed image data in a smaller file. 

PNG images might look objectively better but are significantly larger than JPEGs and very few consumers will be able to tell the difference. SO, for the vast majority of cases, always go with the JPEG if possible and don’t be afraid to convert.

Don’t go overboard with thumbnails 

Thumbnail images certainly serve a purpose but they can also have a severely damaging effect on your site load speed.

Try to make your thumbnails as small as possible and limit the amount that will be shown on one page.

Image sitemaps

Always submit your image sitemaps to Google directly and ensure you’re following their image publishing guidelines when doing so. You can use your sitemaps to give Google more information about your images and will help it find and properly index them.

Finally, once you’ve finished optimising your images, test out yourself how they are working and make changes accordingly. Experiment with different ideas such as how many product listings on each category page and different angles, to see which your customers prefer.

Alternatively, try increasing and decreasing the number of images on a page and checking the analytics to see what changes occur. This is always going to be a case of trial and error, but once you hit that sweet spot you’ll start to notice a major difference with very little effort.