Optimising Images for Search Engines

Written by Jen on September 15, 2016

So, last week we discussed how to optimise your website’s SEO for Voice Search, and in keeping to a similar theme (to help you maximise all opportunities of course), we thought it was a good idea to discuss optimising images for search engines.

Image search only gets about half a percent of Google’s overall traffic, but there are many other reasons why you should make the effort to optimise your website images, including:

  • Reducing the time it takes your website to load
  • Attracting individuals who are searching through Google images
  • Higher page ranking on search sites

There isn’t a lot you need to do to do to reap the above benefits, and as the saying goes every little helps! Below are a few handy tips on how you can optimise your images:

1. Rename your file

when you upload from your camera or phone, the image normally has a random generated name for the file. Websites cannot “read” this, so make it easy for the search engines and name is something that matches the content of the image, i.e. if it is a picture of the leaning tower of Pisa, name is “leaning-tower-of-pisa”.

2. Size of image

There two aspects of the size of an image: dimensions and file size. You want to make sure your image is big so that it displays properly on computer monitors, so try and avoid small, thumbnail sizes.

In addition, you want to make sure your image file size is smaller so that it doesn’t take a lot of storage and slows down the loading of your page. On average, the wait time for websites to load is three to five seconds before leaving, and in addition load time factors in to Google’s ranking algorithm. Using software like Adobe Photoshop can help you decrease the file size while also keeping the quality of the image.

3. Add Tags when uploading to your website

There are two types of tags: Title tag and ALT tag.

  1. Title tag: this is just the text alternative to an image. It appears when you hover over the image or instead of an image if it can’t load properly.
  2. ALT tag (alternative tag): This is the information of the image. Googlebots cannot “see” the image so it needs the information to understand it. Like the image’s filename, the ALT text should include keywords that is relevant to the image.

4. Create image sitemaps

If you use image pop-ups, JavaScript galleries or other visual elements, you will need to let Google know about these images by creating an image sitemap. You can create an image sitemap (click here) and upload it to your Google Webmaster Tools account. It works similar to standard sitemap, but this one is purely for images.

 

So, if you are not optimising your images for search engines, now is the time to start. It won’t take long and it can be a great way to attract new visitors as well as increase page ranks – there’s no reason not to!