SEO – Image Techniques for Advanced Optimization

We’ve all used Google to search images before, but have you ever wondered how Google chooses which images to project? The answer is through an advanced algorithm. While it would take years to explain exactly what goes into these algorithms, we can explain that Google looks for SEO’d (or Search Engine Optimized) photos. By optimizing your photos for Google’s advanced algorithms, you can boost your ranking on Google’s search engine, and your photos will be seen by more people. But what can we do to optimize our photos?

• Optimizing your Image file name

When it comes to optimizing your photos, every detail counts – including the file name. If you want to do well on Google, never leave your file name as the default name suggested by your camera. Rather, use a keyword (or commonly searched term) that is simple, but that directly describes your photo. For example, if you had a photo of a cat, you might call your photo “cute cat” or “adorable kitten” – something that people would be likely to type in the search bar of Google if they wanted to find your photo.

• Optimize your File Type

When posting to the web, people generally choose between one of three file types: GIF, JPEG, or PNG. In most cases, JPEG images will be the best choice of image optimization. This type of photo provides the best quality in the smallest size. GIF’s should be avoided, as these are large files, and quality will be reduced if you try to shrink them. PNG is a good balance between the two if you cannot, for whatever reason, use JPEG.

• Optimize your Alt Tag and Title

Alt tags and title tags are commonly used by browsers used by blind and visually impaired, and are used as a method of telling people who can’t see the screen exactly what the image is. They are also used when your image cannot, for whatever reason, be rendered properly.

Basically, your Alt tag describes the image, as well as the function of the image on the page. For example, imagine you posted an image on your page that sent you to a link to “Buy cat collars”. Your alt text then, would say something like, “button used to buy cat collars”.

Your title tag is a small dialogue box that opens when you hoover your mouse over the image. It should describe exactly what the picture is.

When optimizing your alt and title tags, all descriptions should be simple, and in plain English. Again, you should include keywords within these, but avoid “over optimizing” as well, as over-optimizing can lead to penalties from Google and damage your rank.

• Optimize your Image Size

Yes, even the size of your image can be optimized! When optimizing your image size, smaller is always better. Remember, the larger the image size, the more time it will take for your website to load it. Why does this matter? Because we are an impatient society, and the average person will wait no longer than 5 seconds for an image to load before moving onto the next page!

Not only can image size steer users away, but it is also sought out in Google’s advanced algorithm. So if you have any images that lag, it’s time to shrink down their size.

• Be careful of decorative images

Decorative images like backgrounds and borders can add an aesthetic appeal, but they can also drastically slow down your load time which, as we mentioned above, can affect your SEO ranking on Google.

If you are not seeing your images load on Google, it may be because your image is not properly optimized. Try a few of the above techniques to help you improve your SEO ranking and get your images seen by more people.

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