Ever considered making your blog images more discoverable on Google image search?
I’m sure your written content is SEO optimized. However, the chances of your blog being discovered will dramatically improve if you extend your SEO efforts to your images as well. And the best thing is, you can do this in a few simple steps. Follow these, to optimize your images:
- Resize your image
While this is not related to SEO, the load time for your image matters. Using high-quality images is important, but large file sizes destroy user experience, especially on a mobile device. The smaller the image size, the faster it will load. Which means, uploading images as you’ve clicked them would not be wise. Before you include them in your post, resize your image to fit your blog – anything under 600 x 600 should work well.
You can resize your images on image editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom, or even Preview on Mac. Simply click on ‘resize’, enter the dimensions you want and apply the change. And you’re good to go! If you don’t have these software, then you could use a free online image resizer.
- Name your file appropriately
Your filename needs to describe your image. After all, Google cannot tell what a photo is about, so you need to help it through carefully chosen words. Only then will your blog images be identified and become more discoverable on Google image search. Hence, a filename like ‘IMG00369.JPG’ won’t work. Instead, use ‘black-cat-sitting.JPG’ – a filename that accurately describes your image.
While your filename needs to be descriptive, it also needs to be as concise as possible. 3 words are ideal. However, you may have situations where you are likely to use more words, and that’s ok too. For instance, it’s a great idea to include the name of your company as part of the filename, to ensure your brand is discovered even in the Google image search.
Insert your target keyword as part of the filename where possible. And finally, add dashes between words, not underscores. Google considers underscores as word-joiners, so black_cat would be read as blackcat by the search engine.
- Use a descriptive alt text
The alt text is the text that describes the image. It is helpful especially for those who cannot see the images on the web pages or choose not to. Short for alternate text tag, the alt text should be relevant to the image, as well as descriptive. This content should be information-rich and use keywords appropriately, and in context with the content of your blog. Make sure you don’t stuff keywords because that could cause your website to be seen as spam – aside from providing a negative user experience.
When used, the image and alt tag should look something like this:
<img scr= black-cat-sitting.JPG” alt=”color photograph of sitting black cat”/>
- Use an appropriate title text tag
This is different from the filename you give your image. The title text tag is what viewers see when they hover over your image in your post. This is the text that people can read when they pin your pictures to their Pinterest boards.
Include keywords in your title tag if possible. If there’s a search term that is appropriate for your content, then use it in one of the pictures at least. However, use them judiciously. It should not look like spam.
Captions don’t directly influence discovery on Google image search or your image rankings. Your page’s bounce rate matters, though. When someone runs a search, clicks on the link to your blog post, but immediately returns to the search page, then search engines use this as a factor for rankings. So, it’s a good idea to capture people’s attention for longer, through captivating and informative captions for your images. Captions also present another opportunity to describe the picture using keywords or their natural synonyms. Then again, don’t force the keywords. Let them simply add more context to your image.
After the title of your post, image captions are important because they are read more than the body text. They are also easily visible, unlike the image name, title text and alt text. So, use them wisely.
- Use an image sitemap
The pictures you use in your blog post are a great source of information about the blog content. You can provide Google with additional details about your images and the URLs for the same by adding information to an image sitemap.
Unlike regular sitemaps which have strict cross-domain restrictions, image sitemaps are allowed to contain URLs from other domains, allowing webmasters to use content delivery networks (CDNs) to host images. You just need to verify the CDNs domain name in the Search Console in order for Google to inform you of crawl errors, if any.
Taking the time to optimize your images goes a long way in making your blog more discoverable on Google image search. These few steps don’t take long but make a significant difference in your image ranking and in being found by the right audience.
At Them You & Me, we specialize in SEO optimized content. If you’d like some help with making your blog more discoverable on searches, do get in touch.