Reading text without pictures is like jumping into a swimming pool, without any water in it. It’s still possible, but you don’t particularly enjoy it. Any well-structured article, however, is much more attractive when a tasteful illustration or photograph is placed here and there.
And did you know that images can also be optimized for search engines ? Photographs, image infographics, vector graphics and illustrations have their merits in increasing traffic.
What is the role of images from an SEO perspective?
Properly selected number of images and their placement can work wonders. They visually complement the content of the densely described text and divide it into smaller parts, making the article easier to read. Thanks to them, your website is much more attractive. As with books, content is often judged by its cover. It often happens that visitors to the article engage with images first.
TIP: According to statistics from 2021 , up to 38% of people lose interest in the website due to unattractive content and appearance. So make sure that your site is visually interesting and clear not only in terms of graphics, but also in terms of usability .
If we draw more in-depth on this topic, the photo itself can provide search engines with relevant contextual information. In addition, if the visual part of the site is optimized properly, it will not only speed up page loading , but also increase user interaction and improve search rankings .
However, even when optimizing images, there are a few rules we should keep in mind when placing them on the web. It is not enough to click on the photo or download it from the Internet and simply take it somewhere.
7 steps to help you get better places in your search
Lightweight is best
Whether you’re taking your photos yourself or finding them on the internet, check their size. Higher quality cameras can take a beautiful photo in high resolution, similar to the images from stock photo sites , but they would only slow down your website unnecessarily. The solution is to reduce their size without compromising the quality of the photos – Adobe Photoshop, for example, can help you with this, with the possibility of saving photos intended web usage.
However, before you make any adjustments, let’s clarify the difference between the image size and the file size . Don’t get me wrong. We express the size of the file in kilobytes (kB), which determines how much space the image takes up on the server where it is placed. In our case, we are talking about the size of the image – that is, its dimensions (aspect ratios), which are expressed in pixels.
You don’t have to shrink your images until you have to squint to recognize their contents. For example, the size of 850 x 566 pixels , ideally in JPEG format, has proved its worth in blog articles.
If you are looking for images with a transparent background, look for PNG format.
Take care when naming pictures
It’s great when you choose an image for the text in your article that you like and fits into context. But did you know that its name is important ? Not all photos are appropriately named, especially those that you import to a computer from a mobile phone or camera after taking them.
If you publish such a photo on your website without any modification of the title, the search engine will lose it like a fart in a hurricane. The search engines will have no idea what to do with the photo or where to include it. Point the search engines in the right direction, give them some clues, and add names to the pictures that best describe them.
TIP 1: If you use WordPress, you just need to name the images directly on your computer and the CMS itself will automatically download them with names when uploading.
TIP 2: Separate each keyword in the title with hyphens, without spaces . Do not use underscores. Search engines cannot read them correctly and will not see the words individually, but as a continuous cluster of letters.
Image naming is not a totally vital strategy from an SEO point of view, but together with the alt text they form a perfect pair. Wondering what alt text is ? Our next item on the agenda.
Use alt tagging
I’ve already named the image, so why do I need an alt tag? If you have just asked yourself this question, let us explain. When you or anyone else looks at an image, you see what’s on it, and you might understand the context of the text in which the visual appears. However, Internet search engines do not have this ability and need alternative text, thanks to which they are able to read and index the image correctly.
In addition, the alternative text not only helps robots, but also visually impaired people. Thanks to the detailed description of the image, they will know what is on it.
Uniqueness gives better results
The best thing you can do in terms of SEO is to use the most original images on your site. Ideally your own, but if you don’t have the opportunity to take photos, feel free to use stock photos. However, choose images that are not so widely used and you will not find them on every other website. Turn off the “popular” filter and bury yourself a bit among the content and you’re sure to find exactly what you need. It will also help, for example, if you additionally edit or adjust the photo to your liking. However, respect copyright and first make sure you can use the photo for such purposes.
Make sure that the images match the content of the text
It would probably be useless if you addressed the issue of healthy eating and nutrition in the article, while the text would be supplemented by photos from various holiday destinations. Follow where we are going?
If you have pictures , then those that are contextually appropriate to the content. For example, if you are writing about economics, choose photos from the office environment.
Create a sitemap for images
A sitemap helps search engines navigate your site and index images. Thanks to your sitemap photos from your website will be easier to find even through Google. This is a useful feature especially if you use more of those images. Then the sitemap will help you get more organic visits .
Loading an 850 pixel image via a computer or laptop is a walk in the park. However, the tables are turned when users decide to visit your site from a mobile or tablet. Loading a large image for a long time is a waste of time and space, although even smaller dimensions of the same visual would look just as good on a small screen. What about that?
We have a magic solution for you called srcset . It is a piece of HTML code that allows the search engine to load different versions of the same image based on the device used.
Some deep thought at the end
Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of the article, with some deeper insights I hope. If you’ve struggled so far with a lack of attention to your content, try to follow these few tips carefully when manipulating images. You will be more popular not only with readers, but search engines will prefer you more.