I like images because they give wings to creativity and shrink many thoughts into one rapt visual treat. But from the perspective of an online marketer, images today are no longer mere eye candies for users, they serve a higher purpose. Images help you to get ranked in search engines. Google’s algorithm has become smart enough to crawl, index and rank images. Google has already emphasized enough on the importance of image optimization.
How Are Images Indexed in Google
Before you know what aspects you need to look into when optimizing image, it is important to understand how Google indexes images. It all starts with identifying the image type. Google primarily indexes following images types – GIF, JPEG, BMP, PNG, WebP and SVG .
To understand the image better Google looks into the content written about that image. If available, an image sitemap helps Google to decipher more information about particular image. Image filename, alt text, description and anchor text for the image are also used by Google to learn more about the image.
Image Optimization Tips, To Get Them Indexed by Google
Image Filename – An image filename ‘red-leather-sling-bag.jpg is better than and image uploaded with name IMG012345.jpg. This is because the former filename is more descriptive and Google sometime uses filename in search results when it can’t get a specific information about the image.
Image Types – As mentioned earlier, Google can easily index GIF, PNG, WebP, BMP, JPEG and SVG images. So it’s better to stick with these formats.
Image Alt Tag- Search engines can’t read images as such, but only the text you write in the Alt tag. It gives idea to search engines about that image.
Best ways to write Image Alt tag:-
- Proper human friendly description without keyword stuffing.
- Quick 3 to 5 precise words in the description are perfect.
- Alt-tag should be correctly optimized for keywords.
Content around the image – Add caption and title to the image. While writing content for the page, refer to the image describing further what the image is all about.
An Image Sitemap- Just like a sitemap that helps search engines to discover and index most important pages for your website, you have an image sitemap. It helps the search engines to discover images that ordinarily would not have discovered on your site. You can get more idea about Google’s image site map on this page.
Never Embed text within image – If you are including your most important text in the image then you are committing a serious folly. Search engines can’t read images and hence the text within it. It is just text based HTML that will help.
Image File Size – File size comprises of two things: dimension of the image and storage space taken by image. Heavy images decrease page load speed and that’s detrimental for the website. Your image dimensions need to be as big as possible, but the size should remain as small as possible.
Place images above the fold- Images grab instant attention. Therefore it is important where you place them. The best position would be placing it above the fold to make readers hook to your page immediately.
Protect your Images – In order to maintain your ranking for an image, it is important that you protect it. If another website uses your image, optimizes it well, it will obviously rank better than the original copy. Hence even if you optimize your image, protect it for copyright violations.