How to Optimize Images for Better Search Engine Rankings

November 6, 2015


Search engines (namely Google) use images to help rank websites. Better optimized images will lead to superior search engine ranking. It doesn’t take much to optimise your images. Follow these tips for netting some easy brownie points with Google.

How to Optimize Images?

example of image optimization
Image optimization

Use Alt Text

Alt text, or Alternative Text, is the text-based description that Google uses to tell what an image is. Its crawlers can’t read images as they stand. They need a piece of text to describe what the image is. When you fill in your alt text, make it as clear and as basic as possible.

For example, if you have an image of a baby crying, the alt text would be ‘baby crying’.

Most Content Management Systems (CMS) make it easy for you to add alt text. If your CMS doesn’t, there are literally thousands of third-party plugins you can download to add this functionality.

Reduce File Size

You probably already know that file size is important. It impacts page loading times. If your page takes longer than three seconds to load, Google is going to hit you. And that’s ignoring the fact that most customers will have already pressed the ‘Back’ button and checked out one of your competitors.

There are plenty of browser-based compression tools you can find through Google to reduce the file size of any image.

Captions are Important

Captions don’t have an impact on search rankings directly. Google doesn’t take them into account when reading through a website. Where they come in handy is when it comes to bounce rates.

The most common reason why bounce rates increase is because users don’t understand what they’re looking at. Don’t increase your chances of a higher bounce rate by not including captions. Higher bounce rates will kill your ranking because that’s something Google does take into account.

The File Name Matters

You may see on Google that images sometimes appear in the search results under their file names. This is another area Google’s crawlers look at. Make your file name as descriptive as possible for the best results.

Use the same tactics as you would for dealing with alt text.

Images Matter

As you can see, images are a big part of working with Google. These tactics to optimise your images aren’t complex and they aren’t a secret. But so many people let themselves down on this front because they don’t take the 30 seconds required to optimise each image.

If you guys know other tips to optimize images for better search rankings, please let us know.

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