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How to Best Optimize Your Images for SEO

Posted on 8.24.2016

:: By Keval Padia, Nimblechapps ::

A picture is worth a thousand words may be an overused phrase, but it holds true. Images make posts, pages and more interesting and compelling, but failing to optimize them for both engagement and search engines is a mistake.

Below you will find six killer tips to optimize your images.

1. Select the Perfect Photo 

Before considering anything else, we must begin with the type of images required for each type of content. Well, while the options are many, knowing what works great in which context is crucial. The most important thing is, most of these types of images are available free on the Web.  

Custom graphics made with stylized typeface can give your post a unique feel. There are also many free tools to make them from scratch like Canva and Pagemodo.

Screenshots are great if you want to describe a digital product or app. 

Stock photos offer a variety of options but you always need to be contextual in using them. Moreover, if you can tweak them a little by putting text over them or resizing them or simply by changing the color effect, they can allow uniqueness. 

Memes are great for adding a little humor in your posts.

Infographics are great in posts where you need to build up a logical argument with the help of raw data and insights. Infographics are demanding in respect of skills but can be highly effective and engaging. 

2. Make the Name Descriptive and Search Friendly 

Just think does the name of a product image DC1000852 mean anything to the user browsing products online? Obviously, such image names are meaningless and confusing. On the other hand, an image name describing your product in detail can tell a lot about the product in unison with the image. Moreover, by using keywords within the name you can further boost the SEO score for that image, post or page. Here are some tips for naming your images. 

Consider the product names users search your website for before following a naming pattern. 

E-commerce websites in this respect can take help from website analytics to know the phrasing patterns used by customers in searches. 

In case you do not know the popular search phrases, optimize the image names with search-friendly keywords. 

3. Optimize the Alt Tags

Alt tags are created to let search engine easily find your image files. Without appropriate alt tags your images fail to perform for searches. Here are some tips for optimizing alt tags for images. 

Provide a description in plain English like the image names.

The model number or a serial number of a product can be used in the alt tag.

Do not stuff all your alt tags with keywords, because that can negatively impact your search rank. 

Lastly, using alt tags for images that serve a decorative purpose is not recommended since this can be considered over optimization and can be penalized. 

4. Reduce the Image Size 

While loading speed is a crucial consideration for most search engine ranks, non-optimized image sizes can be a deterrent factor. To ensure faster loading speed, you have to compress the images. Compressing images while you can ensure faster-loading speed, images continue to serve the purpose of visually engaging users just as usual. 

5. Choose the Right File Type 

Images commonly are used in formats like JPEG, GIF and PNG. All these image formats are different and serve specific purposes on Web pages. Deciding what type of image file you should use is crucial for a good user experience. All image file types do not look great when compressed, so you need to know about image file types. 

JPEG is still the best choice for most users because even after compressing JPEG images you can ensure optimum visual quality with them. 

GIFs, on the other hand, are lower quality images that are generally used for icons, animated clips and for decorative purposes. Naturally, for express visual purpose or depicting a product or visual element, they are not a good choice. 

PNGs are bigger in file size and can create an overload for their file size. But the size apart, the quality of this type of images remains constant over several resaves and this file type supports a wider variety of colors. They can be great if you use in very limited numbers. 

6. Optimize Thumbnail Images

Thumbnail images are popular across Web pages with product catalogs and for category pages in e-commerce websites. Without grabbing too much screen real estate they allow users to scan and browse quickly without investing too much into expanded views of articles or products.  But thumbnails often deter the loading speed and they often fail to load when used in great numbers. To address the problem consider these tips. 

First, use as small of a thumbnail file as possible. In some images, you can even compromise quality a little to ensure faster loading speed. Remember, when loaded properly the accumulative effect of the thumbnails will ensure a bigger effect. 

Use different alt tag text for your thumbnail image and the bigger version of the same image. This is done to ensure that the thumbnail version is not indexed instead of the bigger one. 

Finally, to allow your images being noticed by Google it is extremely important to use an image sitemap. Google image sitemap can just do this fine. By locating the images in your Google sitemap you help search engine crawlers to find those images.

Author Bio

Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing web app development and mobile game development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lure him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.

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