Driving traffic to your site without paying for costly advertising isn’t as hard as you might think. With image SEO, as with all kinds of optimization, the greater the effort you put in the better the rewards will be. So, what is image SEO, why is it so important, and how can you use it? In this blog, we will tackle all of these questions head-on.
What is Image SEO?
You will have no doubt heard that keywords and excellent content are great tools for search engine optimization (SEO), but did you know that images can also be optimized in this way? Images are an often overlooked tool when it comes to SEO but they are actually an essential means of driving organic traffic to your site, largely through Google image search.
So, essentially, image SEO is about all of the tasks you need to do to get your images ranked highly in a given search engine listing so that traffic is directed to your site. For your images to rank highly in a search engine they need to be understandable by the search engine, usually involving activities such as optimizing the file name, size, and positioning of your image.
Why is Image SEO important?
As stated above, image SEO is important as it will help your images to go up the rankings on Google so that traffic is more regularly directed to your site. To give you an idea of how important Google Images are for driving traffic, check out these statistics:
- Google images accounted for 22.6% of all internet searches in 2018, so it is certainly worth paying attention to.
- According to Sirv, Google images is 15 times bigger than Facebook, 10 times bigger than Yahoo, Bing, and Amazon and 5 times bigger than YouTube.
- Research from ViSenze found that 62% of Millennials and Generation Z consumers prefer visual search tools over other technology.
To recognize and rank images, Google Images uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. It can extract information from your website about the name of your image, the markup, size, location, etc. and this is where you can use image SEO to manipulate the technology and get yourself up the rankings.
How to use Image SEO to drive organic traffic to your site
Multiple factors influence your Google Image ranking that ultimately determines the traffic driven to your site. Ranging from the captions on your image, the attributes, load time, relevance, as well as the popularity of your website in general. It can seem like a complicated field to crack but here are some simple steps to get your image SEO headed in the right direction.
1. The name of your image is important
In order for Google to be able to find your image and take meaning from it the name of the image needs to be relevant to the image. So, rather than keeping the original file name of your image i.e. IMG60046.jpg change the name to the subject matter. Make sure the name is descriptive but simple and avoid attempting to plug your title with keywords.
2. Get descriptive with the alt text
The alt text is something that you have likely seen but perhaps never known what it is. When it comes to using image SEO now is the time to find out. The alt text, also known as alt tags, is the written copy that will be there in place of the image on your webpage if the image isn’t able to load. The alt text is used by visitors to your website who are visually impaired as a screen-reading tool uses this to describe the image to them. It is also used by search engines to be able to crawl through your webpage for the purpose of indexing and ranking your site. The advice for optimizing your alt text is similar to naming your images. Avoid keyword stuffing, ensure it is descriptive and detailed, and keep the wording under 125 characters.
3. Opt for the best file type and size for your site
The speed in which your page loads has a huge impact on SEO (not to mention bounce rates). This can be massively affected by the type of files you use for your images, so this is another way to get you up the Google Image rankings and help to drive organic traffic to your site.
The three main image file types are JPEG, GIF, and PNG. There is very little difference between the appearance of an image when using JPEG, GIF or PNG however there can be a huge distinction in the file sizes. JPEG is the smallest file type and is significantly smaller than the others so opt for this for your images to minimize your page load times. The same goes for resizing your images as this also affects the page load time and ultimately the amount of traffic that is directed to your site. Img.vision has a great tool for assisting with resizing your images.
4. Consider using a CDN
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. CDNs are multiple platforms of servers that are hosted around the world and help to reduce delays in the loading of web pages as they reduce the distance between the person viewing the page and the server itself. If you are attempting to broaden your horizons, or you know that you have traction in specific places a CDN will ensure your images have less far to travel, load quicker, and be rated more favorably by Google. Img.vision offers fast image loading thanks to our partnership with a leading CDN provider, so hosting your images with us is another great way of helping to drive organic traffic to your site.
With a few simple alterations and tricks up your sleeve, using image SEO is an easy way to drive more traffic to your website in an organic way. Instead of investing in pay per click campaigns or other costly initiatives these tricks can help you on your way to increasing your web traffic.