Image SEO: image optimization for better ranking on Google

Image SEO: image optimization for better ranking on Google
Image SEO: image optimization for better ranking on Google

If you want to improve your website’s search engine ranking, a lot of the on-page action revolves around optimizing content, metadata and link structure and source code. The images of a website are an integral part of the content, however they are too often neglected in SEO strategies. However, a good ranking in Google's image search not only generates interesting additional traffic for your website but also in general a positive rating from Google with better critical reception from users. This therefore also affects the positioning in the usual, conventional search results. So with good image referencing, you can kill two birds with one stone.


1.This is why SEO image optimization is useful
2.The Google Images index
3.The best SEO tips for images for optimal indexing
4.Image referencing: the role of user experience for Google
5.Other ranking factors: date of images, click-through rate, link-building
6.Image referencing: conclusion

This is why SEO image optimization is useful

A website without illustrations is hardly imaginable today. It is difficult to seduce a user only with textual content without visual appeal. The proverb from Confucius "a picture is worth a thousand words" also applies to the Internet. For individuals, businesses and online stores who wish to promote products on the Web, images, photos or graphics are basic. Indeed, an online store that has no image of its products has very little chance of making sales. Visuals and especially good quality images ensure a better user experience and greatly increase the desire to buy. It is for these reasons that a webmaster must now invest the time and resources to obtain relevant images. Infographics are very popular and sometimes generate useful backlinks.

Visit time and, in the best of cases, the conversion rate, increase when the content of your Web project is enhanced by images, while reducing the bounce rate. In addition to the aesthetic quality of the images or photos, the technical quality is another decisive factor. When it comes to traffic via mobile devices, reduced image loading time is crucial. Taking time and effort to integrate the images into an appropriate format is rewarded by Google which gives a good rating, improving the overall ranking of your website.

In particular, the targeted image search offered by Google is increasingly used as a standard search and this is a major reason for optimizing the SEO of images. A good placement in the results of this research can be very beneficial. On the one hand, many users are looking for a desired product and can therefore land directly on your page. On the other hand, many well-classified images are also presented in the standard web search results. According to a study by Searchmetrics, 40 percent of queries from Google searches entered correspond to searches with an image. So you can with a good SEO of images have a better position in the standard search.

The Google Images index

In 2001, the Google search engine launched the new Google Images service to find images on the Internet in connection with a subject entered. Since then, users can easily find graphics and photos. The starting point for research is still the Google Images index today. All images are listed by googlebots-Image, which are specific web crawlers for the Google Images search engine. Since 2010, part of this selection has even been made by classic googlebots, the images are then stored on servers. At the beginning the indexed collection counted approximately 250,000 images, four years later, the billion mark was crossed.

The best SEO tips for images for optimal indexing

The Google robot cannot capture or interpret the visual content of images, in fact it is based on the content of the HTML code of the image, the indications of the latter. As the robot scans the text environment and the image's <img> tag to determine the relevant keywords for the image. Find out what factors are included in the assessment and how to best use them.

The name of the images

The file name of your images can help bots to achieve a correct thematic classification, by already indicating the name in the section. Usually, the naming of images is not particularly interesting, indeed names like image1515.jpg or IMG1789.jpg are common. You don't get a disadvantage with such picture names, however you significantly reduce the possibility of finding your pictures based on the name. For example with a file name like dalmatien.jpg, this possibility exists, it is indeed up to you to indicate to the robot what appears on your image. Avoid special characters and accents as they can prevent the image from being displayed. Separate terms are separated by a hyphen, which Google interprets as a space.

The ALT attribute: the text description of the images

An important ranking factor for images is the ALT attribute, also known as an ALT tag or alternative text. This is an attribute to the <img> tag, which allows you to include images in the HTML document. "ALT" means alternative. The ALT attribute has text, which describes the image and should be used as an alternative for site visitors if the image is not displayed due to technical problems or special navigation settings. In addition, many programs use this alternative text to describe images to people with visual impairments. For this reason, the ALT attribute is also a mandatory task when implementing website accessibility.

For Google's crawler, alternative text is a great way to understand and analyze the image, the theme, and categorize it. Therefore, it is important to create a meaningful, concise description, and if possible incorporate important and relevant keywords that match the context. However, you should avoid filling the text only with keywords, at the risk of causing a drop in the ranking of your site by Google due to Spam.

Example of a well-written ALT attribute:

1 | <img src = "dog.jpg" alt = "dalmatian puppy playing">

Example of a poorly written ALT attribute that gives negative feedback:

1| <img src = "dog.jpg" alt = "Puppy, dog, small dog, Dalmatian puppy, dog food, puppy food">

Image titles and captions

Another attribute to the <img> tag is the optional title attribute. This is an additional way to describe an image. Visitors to your website get the titles of the image shown as a tooltip when you hover over the image with your mouse. It serves as a complementary basis for researching and evaluating Google's indexing robots. It is recommended not to use the same keyword for the title attribute as in the ALT attribute, in fact it could also cause a negative evaluation like the excessive number of keywords within the ALT attribute. If an image is linked to a "click" action, for example a link to another page (internet or external) or the magnification of the image display, you should only use the title to describe the action concerned .

The implementation of a legend is a small additional effort but nevertheless very useful. This snippet of text that users, visitors automatically see as opposed to the tooltip, provides additional space for your keywords, but is not assigned to the <img> tag. HTML5 is available for this purpose for the <figure> and <figcaption> elements which help build multimedia content including its text. Previously it was necessary to refer to the <div> -Container. Finally to produce the desired visual presentation form, you need the appropriate CSS instructions. Captions are also ideal for entering information about licenses or copyrights, so that other users can distribute them, redistribute the images.

The right context

Optimizing images for search engines is closely linked to the underlying context. It is of little benefit to optimize your images using the measures mentioned, if these are not linked to the content of the web page. In fact, for example the indexing robot risks rating negatively if you have optimized a photo of a tomato while it is included on a page whose theme is snowboards on a website whose central subject is winter sports. On a nutrition information site, linked to an article on vegetables, the robot's reaction is likely to be much more positive! In order to ensure a good appreciation for your images, they must at best adapt to the context of the corresponding page. The directly adjacent text not only plays a central role in the robot's assessment, but the following text elements are also important:

  • The title of the page
  • The main title (h1),
  • The title of the passage (h2, h3, h4),
  • The legend
  • Tooltip

Web crawlers review and assess the overall build and rank images that match the content and keywords of your website.

Image referencing: the role of user experience for Google

The various optimization measures listed have a positive effect on the user experience if they are used correctly. On the one hand, users receive and access search results which correspond to the queries and, on the other hand, obtain detailed information on the images. In addition to a good keyword strategy for titles, data names and alternative texts as well as good thematic integration of images, there are other possibilities to improve the user experience:

  • Use of high-quality images: indeed, good-quality images have a greater impact on visitors than blurred images with low resolution. They are also much better displayed and much more clearly in the Google search results in miniature and can often be linked by other webmasters. It is however recommended to find a balance between the quality of the images and the volume of the files, it is therefore necessary to compress them, using for example free compression tools.
  • Optimal positioning of images: the purpose of adding images is also to attract the attention of visitors to your web project, which is why intelligent positioning is essential. For example, many visitors do not scroll to the end of the page, so it is usually important to place graphics, photos, and images as far as possible on the page, to encourage the visitor to scroll the entire page.
  • Specify dimensions: Even before the images are fully loaded, web browsers can start to display a web page, provided that the dimensions of the images are known. Indeed if you specified the height and the width, the remaining elements can already be built and loaded around a delimited space and therefore be visible more quickly. Finally, Google classifies photos in landscape mode (4: 3), generally better than images in portrait format.

The perfect blend of quality and stable performance is particularly important for the rapidly growing mobile sector. Indeed, mobile devices generally have a bandwidth significantly less than that of a desktop computer, which makes speed optimizations particularly relevant. Otherwise, too long a loading time can handicap your Web project.

Other ranking factors: date of images, click-through rate, link-building

As with conventional search engine optimization, you cannot expect immediate results from your SEO efforts for images. On the one hand, competition is active: other webmasters also cover the same themes, subjects, keywords and images. On the other hand, several long-term factors also play a role in the classification of the images, which are not visible until several months after the publication of the latter. Several of these factors can be influenced by conventional offpage measures while others are related to the quality, success and overall relevance of your Internet project.

  • Establishment of internal and external links: with a good link structure, you can promote your images as well as the reputation of your web offer. Especially with computer graphics, you can create strong links that will improve your ranking in the long term.
  • Multiple use: the use of an image on several pages of the same domain in an appropriate context, Google evaluates it positively if the file has the same path.
  • Date of images: There is a lot of speculation about the influence of the timeliness of the images. On the one hand the old images, probably because of the existence of link structures, is favored by Google, on the other hand the giant search engine, however, always places more value on new content, this is why the images newer ones seem to be gaining in value.
  • Click-through rate: keywords and links are positive and in addition to the appropriate comments are appreciated by Google. However, Google’s algorithm cannot detect the relevance of an image as well as a person. This is why Google’s rating also takes into account the click-through rate of an image in the results list.
  • Relevance: a ranking factor that is difficult to measure is the general relevance of your images. It is assumed that Google sorts the results according to the images which are of interest for the content of the pages. Finally, the algorithm takes into account a variety of factors, such as the number of links and the context of the images.

Image referencing: conclusion

Optimizing your images for Google search can be a determining factor in the success of your web project: you first improve your ranking in Google Images, which many users use for a specific web search. A good positioning of your images with a little luck can also help during the classic Web search, regardless of the general classification of your Web project. Image SEO also has a positive effect on this ranking, as it is always linked to an improvement in the user experience and brings a bonus concerning accessibility.

The referencing of your images can therefore considerably increase the popularity of your project and lead additional users to your website, without reaching them via the usual path. If the optimization of the images may seem at the beginning a significant challenge, with the habit, the time devoted to this task will be less as to optimize the <img> tag optimally and create a good harmony between the text and the image . Proven SEO for images can be useful beyond image search as it can also be viewed as an advertising platform. Especially for very competitive keywords, images can sometimes make a difference.

All the steps and tips in this article are appropriate for tuning, adapting your images with the crawlers according to the current standards and criteria of the Google search engine algorithm. However, it’s very likely that the technologies of the California giant and its algorithm are constantly evolving and in the future will continue to include additional factors to capture and classify images. Already in 2014, Google announced on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel for example that EXIF ​​data could potentially become a ranking factor.
Image SEO: image optimization for better ranking on Google Image SEO: image optimization for better ranking on Google Reviewed by DDTeam on December 30, 2019 Rating: 5

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