Image SEO can be game-changing for your business.
Similar to how the content you write needs to appeal to both your target audience and Google bots, so do your images.
In this guide, Ignite Visibility CEO John Lincoln is going to break down everything you need to know so you can successfully optimize your images for SEO.
What We’ll Cover:
What is Image SEO?
Image SEO is comprised of all the activities used for getting your images to rank higher in search engines’ organic listings.
Contrary to popular belief, search engines are always trying to make sense of images. In order to ensure your images rank high, you need to consider elements like file name, size, and positioning on the site itself.
Why Optimize Your Images?
For one, images provide search engines with critical contextual information. They also speed up page loading times, which in turn increases user engagement and Google rankings. And last but not least, they help strengthen your brand and elevate your website to make it more visually appealing to visitors.
When it comes to image SEO, there are three main goals in which you want to focus your efforts:
- The image should support both the page rankings and the traffic. For instance, let’s say your keyword is “internet marketing company San Diego,” you’ll want to make sure the images featured on the page relate to the keyword. That way, when Google crawls the page, it will be ranked higher for that specific term since the image has been optimized properly.
- Your image should rank as high as possible in Google Image search. Remember—once your image is indexed in Google, it can appear in three different search environments—Google Images search, Google Web search, and Google Discover. The image-ranking algorithm in Google Images specifically weighs factors like authority, freshness, and context, in addition to the image itself. So pay close attention to these elements as they can make or break the chances of your images showing up in searches.
- Your images need to be displayed correctly across your social media. Getting your images to look good on sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a challenge since the recommended sizes and dimensions are different with each platform.
Tips to Optimize Your Images for SEO
With each image you decide to use on your website, be sure to follow the following tips so you can optimize them for search engines:
- Determine your keyword: Once you’ve defined the keyword for the web page, you need to integrate it into the image file name, keyword, and title.
- Craft SEO-friendly alt text: The alt text offers a text alternative to images when browsers are unable to properly render them. To provide Google with useful information about your image, the alt text needs to be keyword-rich and descriptive.
- Consider image file structure: From a technical standpoint, your image should be the correct file size and pixel width for the web page.
- Save your images for the web: You can reduce the file size of your image by using the “Save for Web” feature in Adobe Photoshop. Be sure to strike a balance between decreasing it to the lowest file size possible while also maintaining quality.
- Include images in sitemaps: By including image content in an XML sitemap, you can help Google discover content to potentially include in image search results.
- Make sure images don’t create a new HTML attachment page: Doing so can result in your image getting indexed, as well as duplicate content issues.
- Add metadata to your image: There are three categories of metadata, including technical, administrative, descriptive. Only worry about the latter since it’s the only type that makes the image more easily searchable.
- Select the right format: While there are a ton of image formats to choose from, JPEG and PNG are the most common. JPEG allows you to adjust the quality level of your image. PNG typically comes with a larger file size, but produces higher quality images.
- Watch out for content delivery networks: These can result in faster load times for images on your site. But, it could possibly change your URL and lead to a drop in rankings.
- Create customized image file names: When naming your image file names, choose a descriptive name the includes relevant keywords so Google can better understand what the subject of the image is. Avoid keyword stuffing as doing so could get you penalized or possibly banned by Google.
- Add structured data: To help your images stand out, consider adding structured data. This will result in your images being displayed as rich results and ultimately, drive more traffic to your website. Google Images supports structured data for a product, a video, or a recipe.
Watch this video for more image SEO tips!
Tips to Optimize Your Images for Social Media
The quality of your images on social media matters, especially when you’re trying to maintain a cohesive brand image across each channel. And since you’re competing with so many other businesses online, you need to pay attention to every element.
But, it can be tough to keep track of all the social media image dimensions on the web. To help you format your high-quality images faster, I’ve created a quick little cheat sheet for each platform:
With nearly 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world. And one poor image choice could spell the difference between successfully engaging your user base and being completely overlooked by them. Keep in mind that when choosing your photos, there’s a difference between how they’ll appear on your personal timeline and how they’ll look in a user’s newsfeed. So be sure to define dimensions based on where the majority of viewers will come across your image.
- Profile image—170 x 170 px
- Cover photo—851 x 315 px
- Shared image—1200 x 630 px
- Highlighted image—1200 x 628 px
Twitter currently boasts 313 million monthly active users, and is one of the social media channels that your customers will use most often use to talk about your brand. While Twitter will only display part of the photos tweeted, users can access the full image by tapping on it. To ensure your photo is visible even when it’s collapsed, you’ll still want to adjust the center and focus of the image. Note that you can tweet up to 4 images per post.
- Profile photo—400 x 400 px
- Header photo—1500 x 500 px
- Tweeted photo—440 x 220 px (minimum)
- Tweeted photo—1024 x 512 px (maximum)
- Shared link image—800 x 418 px
Instagram is a social network that specializes in photo-sharing. It’s the ideal place for novice and professional photographers to showcase their visual creativity. Originally, the platform supported only square images, but now supports both horizontally and vertically-oriented photos. While this expands your brand’s options, it does make image dimensions a bit harder to get right.
- Profile picture—320 x 320 px
- Landscape feed photo—1080 x 566 px
- Portrait feed photo—1080 x 1350 px
- Square feed photo—1080 x 1080 px
- Display thumbnail—161 x 161 px
- Stories—1080 x 1920 px
- Stories ads—1080 x 1920 px
- Carousels—1080 x 566 px
- IGTV—1080 x 1920 px
- Ads—1080 x 566 px
Compared to other social media platforms, LinkedIn is geared towards professionals and B2B businesses. Pairing your LinkedIn updates with high-quality images has consistently been showed to boost comments and sharing. Not to mention, the better optimized your photos are for the site, the more professional your brand will appear.
- Profile photo—400 x 400 px
- Profile cover photo—1584 x 396 px
- Blog post link images—1200 x 627 px
- Sharing link in update—1200 x 627 px
- Stories—1080 x 1920 px
- Company logo—100 x 100 px
- Spotlight ads—100 x 100 px
- Spotlight ads custom background image—300 x 250 px
- Sponsored content image—1200 x 627 px
- Sponsored content carousel image—1080 x 1080 px
- Company page logo—300 x 300 px
- Page cover—1128 x 191 px
- Life tab main image—1128 x 376 px
- Life tab custom module—502 x 282 px
- Life tab company photo—900 x 600 px
- Square logo—60 x 60 px
Like Instagram, Pinterest is more focused on visuals than other pieces of content and can be a great way to drive referral traffic to your website. This is mainly due to the fact that 90% of Pinterest pages are external links. That’s why it’s critical that you optimize your Pinterest page as often as possible using the appropriate image sizes for your pins and boards.
- Profile photo—165 x 165 px
- Profile cover photo—800 x 450 px
- Pins—1000 x 1500 px
- Story pins—1080 x 1920 px
- Fleets—1080 x 1920 px
- App install ads—1000 x 1500 px
- Carousel pins and ads—1000 x 1500 px
- Shopping ads—1000 x 1500 px
As you can see, images play a key role in SEO.
While you continue to analyze your website’s overall performance in search, make sure you spend time optimizing your images too.
You’ll be glad you did!