6 | Image Optimisation for Search

Alina Ghost

Optimising your images can increase traffic and improve your site speed.

This is a really easy way to optimise your site to improve your visibility online. As long as you add a process into your image upload you’ll see benefits that will mean more people come to your site to look at your content as well as credit you if they use it elsewhere. More on this below!

Why Focus on Images for SEO

  • Site speed helps improve your page load because it’s faster to load smaller sized files (smaller resolution images). Showing your images quickly will mean customers and readers will not lose interest and leave your site. Also, this is becoming a ranking factor because Google is going to have a full mobile first index algorithm soon. They’ve already started making this move and are putting more emphasis on the mobile experience. Hence, site speed is an important part of optimising your site but more on this on a future episode.
  • Image search is where you can click a particular tab on Google’s search result pages to look at images only rather than the text based results. Showing up in image search means you’re more likely people will see your images and potentially click through to your site.
  • Link building can be done using image credits. This is a natural way to get links back to your site when you’re offering others to use your photography elsewhere on the world wide web. This is a quick win and improves authority online.

How to Optimise Images

  • Image size: before uploading any image on my website I change the pixel resolution on Photoshop. Use a program that’s similar or paint, paint.net to reduce the pixel size of your images so that they become a smaller file size. Think about the width of your web design because I usually stick to 650 pixels of image width when I’m adding the images into the body of my blog posts. However when it comes to featured images I make these bigger and make these 1000 pixels wide. It’s handy when Photoshop keeps my images in proportion. You can also change the quality of the image that may not make a visible difference via Photoshop so do test this out. Alternatively you can use 3rd party sites to help you do this. Years ago I used to use a program called Minify but I don’t think it exists any longer. Note: be careful offering your images to third party sites.
  • Image alternative tag: adding this tag via Yoast SEO or another plugin will help contextualise the image as well as the page for Google’s bots/crawlers. This is useful to help robots understand what the image is showing, provides an opportunity for you to add more keywords and is useful for when someone is asking the audio system to read your page (usually used if they have a disability.)
  • Image Credit: Offer your own images to photography sites where people can use them for their own content – simply ask them to credit you and link back to your site. This is a great way to increase links to your site as you’re offering up your content to improve your authority online.

Track the Method Results

  • Manual Check: open up an incognito browser window and type in the keyword you wanted your image to rank for. Don’t forget to go to the image search section and fingers crossed that you find your image in that tab.
  • Google Search Console: this is a powerful tool as long as it’s connected to your site. Listen to episode 1 to find out some of the basics that you need to do great tracking for SEO. There is an option to see what keywords you got clicks for via your imagery.
  • Google Analytics: Although you might not be able to see a direct impact of the image you can definitely check the traffic that is coming to your site via the referral metric.
  • SEMrush or Brightedge: these paid tools are great if you want to get more serious about image optimisation.

April 2018 SEO Events

I’m going to be speaking at Search London, so subscribe to my newsletter below now to get more information about the event. It’s casual and last time it was hosted at a pub and had some really amazing speakers, Lexi Mills (ex-distilled) being one of them (who I mentioned at a previous episode.)

At the end of the month I will also be at Brighton SEO. I always like the event to catch up with SEOers and I know that those who are new to the search industry also find it really informative. Let me know if you’re going!

Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes

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