5 Essential Image SEO Tips You Should Follow

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When it comes to Image SEO, the first thing that probably pops up in your mind is ‘alt text.’ Although alt text is important for image optimization, with Google’s recent advances in machine learning, relying exclusively on this would not do you much good.

On the other hand, image SEO could be the answer if you struggle with your website’s findability and speed. However, doing that effectively might turn out to be an arduous task unless you have a proven method.

This article will walk you through five essential image SEO best practices to help your website rank higher and decrease bounce rate. Getting a hold of these practices will set your image optimization efforts on an upward trajectory.

#1 Choose the right format

Different image formats have respective pros and cons that apply to different scenarios. Choosing the right one is crucial when focusing on image optimization and optimizing your website’s performance. Let us go through some of the most commonly used formats in the following segment.

SVG:

As the name suggests, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is used for vector images that can be scaled without compromising fidelity. The SVG format is a suitable option if your website hosts several vector images (logos and icons), custom graphs, and charts that need to be scaled often.

PNG:

The PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format produces better quality images but is heavy on the file size. Additionally, the format allows for background transparency, which adds an element of flexibility to your image SEO endeavors. Usually, ecommerce stores that deal with a lot of product images use this format.

JPEG:

If you need a format that holds more information than others while leaving a modest headroom regarding the size, then JPEG is the way to go. The results are good in terms of clarity and color, but the selling point for this format is the small file size that helps keep your website load times optimized.

WebP:

According to Google, this format produces images similar to JPEG quality but with a 25%-34% smaller file size. Thus, the format should be suitable as long as you do not use it for graphic design portfolios or photography sites, which cannot compromise on quality, even the slightest.

W3techs found that PNG and JPEG are the most common formats used across several websites for image optimization. Fewer sites use WebP, but these sites usually have higher traffic.

#2 Compress your images

Not compressing on-site images could bloat your web pages, which usually drive visitors away due to sluggish load times. For example, Amazon experienced a 1 percent drop in sales for every 0.1-second increase in load times. Google, on the other hand, experienced a 20% decrease in revenue for every 0.5-second increase in search result display time.

Compressing the images could shave off milliseconds that could drastically improve web page performance. The goal is to serve images in the smallest file size possible without compromising perceivable quality.

According to HTTP Archive, images account for about 20% of web page weight. Hence, just compressing your images could load your web pages faster.

There are several instruments that could aid in your image SEO endeavors, especially for compressing images. With websites like JPEGmini, Squoosh, and tools like ImageOptim, you can remove the EXIF data, reducing the file size and inducing quicker load times that result in higher rankings.

#3 Use descriptive alt text and captions

The purpose of ‘alt text’ is to provide information on an image as to why it relates to the content of the webpage. There are some basic steps you could take to make an image alt text as descriptive as possible and come up in relevant search results more frequently.

Always include the keyword you are targeting in the ‘alt text.’ For example, if you are writing an article on the nightlife of Australia, make sure that the associated images have the words ‘night life’ and ‘Australia’ in their alt text. The trick is to be as detailed as possible without using any conjunctions and within an ideal length of 125 characters.

Use a catchy caption complementary to the alt text. For example, if the image is of a particular place like Melbourne or Brisbane, include that in the caption along with the specific venue and time. Ideally, captions should be no longer than two sentences, and you can include LSI keywords for optimizing the images further for greater visibility.

#4 Add images to your sitemap

As images are important sources of information about your site’s content, you must provide as much detail as possible to search engines beyond what is included in the alt text and captions. In this regard, adding images to a sitemap increases their findability that might be lower otherwise, rendering your image SEO efforts futile, irrespective of how well thought out they are.

Using the sitemap, you can provide information on geographic location, subject matter, type of image, and license, allowing crawlers to discover relevant content on your site quickly.

In addition, you can add images to your site from other domains by integrating URLs in your sitemap. However, it is crucial to ensure the search console verifies all associated domains to avoid any potential crawl errors that could make your image optimization efforts ineffective.

#5 Consider lazy loading

Lazy loading is a technique for loading online content on-demand. As opposed to bulk loading, where all the contents of a page are loaded at once, lazy-loading takes a strategic approach and loads only the content that is required.

Using this technique for image optimization could work wonders for web page load times.

Suppose you integrate lazy loading into your web pages, especially the ones with many images. In that case, users will have a smooth experience, as only the images in the browse’s viewport will be rendered. The images that have not been brought to the browser’s viewport will not render until the user scrolls down to those sections.

You can automatically generate lightweight placeholder images or can embed placeholder images in the HTML to speed up load times. The placeholder images are replaced by the actual images when they become visible.

Conclusion

To sum up, image SEO best practices consist of choosing the right format, compressing images, using descriptive alt text and captions, adding images to your sitemap, and integrating lazy loading techniques. While these should start you off on the right path, your image optimization efforts should not be limited to these. Always stay updated on what your competitors are doing to shave milliseconds off load times and enhance website performance. Integrating the dynamic practices through trial and error could give you the winning formula for your particular niche.

Hi, I'm Raj Hirvate and I am a Tech Blogger from India. I like to post about technology and product reviews to the readers of my blog. Apart from blogging i'm a big Anime fan I Love Watching Naruto, One piece and Death Note.