10 Image SEO Tips to Create a Website Users Will Love
Run an analysis on your pages with a lot of images with WebCEO’s speed optimization tool to see how well you’re doing.
Pay special attention to the Cumulative Layout Shift metric, as this is another Google ranking factor and is also affected by images. If you want to lower your CLS, look for the Avoid large layout changes point in Optimization opportunities.
4. Make your images responsive
Let’s dig a little deeper into the dimensions of the image.
Ideally (and realistically) you want your images to be clearly visible on all types of devices. But screens come in all sizes, with PCs and phones being the most obvious options.
So how do you ensure that the same image displays perfectly everywhere?
The trick is to make your image responsive. That is, automatically scale it to fit any screen.
How to make images responsive
WordPress automatically makes images responsive, but if you need to do it manually, here are some options:
- Define the CSS lenght 100% ownership and the size at car. This way the image will be scaled both up and down.
- Put it on maximum width 100% ownership. In this case, the image will never be enlarged to be larger than its original size.
- Use the attribute . It displays a different version of the image for different screen sizes. The catch is that you have to prepare different versions of the same image to use this attribute.
Here is an example :
sizes="(max-width: 320px) 280px, (max-width: 480px) 440px, 800px" src="https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/image-800w.jpg" alt="Description">
5. Optimize image names, alt text and more with keywords
“Keywords” is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear “SEO”. Or maybe it’s just me?
There is a whole list of ways keywords can make your images more SEO friendly.
You just need to know where to use them.
How to Make Images More SEO Friendly
Try adding targeted keywords to these five placements to up your image SEO game:
- File name. Avoid generic names like image1, pic2 etc These names mean nothing to search engines.
- File path. Domain and subdirectory names can provide additional context that search engines can interpret. For example, if you have an online fishing tackle store, you can structure an image URL like this: https://fishing.com/images/fishing-rods/spinning-rod/falcon-bucoo.png.
- Surrounding text. This is what users see and what complements the images best. Just a bit of relevant text near your image (even a caption) will be enough to boost its score.
- Anchor text. If you have a link that leads directly to an image, descriptive anchor text will help search engines understand what’s inside.
- Alternate text. One of the most common SEO mistakes is forgetting to put anything in the ALTs of your images, not to mention a description with a keyword or two. You might think it’s no big deal, but empty ALTs are a problem for users who rely on screen readers. And Google takes accessibility seriously.
Then verify your site in Overview of WebCEO on-site issues for any missing ALT text.
6. Geotag Your Images for Local SEO Benefits
A local SEO advice for all stores. Adding geographic metadata to your images gives search engines more information to work with.
If there are coordinates attached to an image of a place, the search engine can tell where exactly that place is. And if there’s a user interested in that particular location, maybe that image is relevant to their search query.
How to geotag your photos
7. Create an image sitemap
Sitemaps are the fastest way to help search engines discover the pages on your site. But a separate sitemap just for your images?
This may seem excessive at first, but Google actually recommends it. Here is a quote from The Google Blog:
Image sitemaps can contain URLs from other domains, unlike regular sitemaps, which apply cross-domain restrictions.
So you don’t even have to host an image on your own domain, and it will still work for you. Sounds like a dream, right?
How to Create an Image Sitemap
However, there is a catch: websites usually contain tons of images.
Doing a sitemap for them yourself is a valid option (and Google provides a Example), but manually entering hundreds or thousands of image URLs would take forever. And, unfortunately, there are very few free automated services to do this for you.
Of course, you could just write a script to pull the URLs from the images and put them into a sitemap – if you’re a computer god. For puny mortals, we can recommend Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider, which comes with a XML sitemap generator. Its free version can create image sitemaps with up to 500 URLs.
8. Use image caching to speed up your site
Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for life. Teach a browser to cache images and it will hold them for as long as needed.
Ok, you don’t need to teach browsers anything, but you get the idea.
Once an image is saved in the cache, the browser will fetch it from there instead of reloading it the next time you visit the website. It’s a real time saver.
How to Set Up Image Caching and Speed Up Your Site
Open your site .htaccess file and set expiration times for your images. Here is an example :
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresActive On ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year" ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year" ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year" ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year" ExpiresDefault "access 1 month" ## EXPIRES CACHING ##
Expiry times may be less than one year. Feel free to set yours based on how often you update your images.
9. Tag images with structured data to help Google understand your content
Structured data tells search engines what is on a page.
All websites can benefit from it, but it is a real boon for e-commerce sites in particular. It’s not just regular search results that can become rich snippets; image search results also get more fluff!
Look at this little badge saying Product and the words In stock? You bet the user is one click away from visiting that site.
How to tag your images with a schema
In order to generate structured data code for your pages, consider using Google Structured Data Markup Helper. It’s free, but it requires a Google Search Console account associated with your domain.
It works like this:
- Select a data type and paste the URL of the page you want to tag. Hurry start marking.
- The tool will display the page. Highlight an item you want to tag. From the menu that appears, select the appropriate tag. For example, if you click on an image and then select Image; if you are highlighting the price of a product, select Offer->Price.
- When you’ve marked everything you want, press the Create HTML button to generate the code.
Markup Helper can also test and validate your code. If you want an alternative, there is also Rich Results Test (another free tool).
Easier than expected, right? The only drawback is that the effect will not be immediate; it can take up to three weeks.
10. Make your images shareable
Get an extra boost from social media. You can never have too many.
The more shares your pages have, the more important and relevant they appear to search engines.
How to make your images shareable on social networks
First things first: users are more likely to share a single image. If you make an honest effort to create your own visuals, that’s a good start.
Now let’s move on to the technical part.
Normally, enabling the option to share your images does not require any hard work. WordPress already makes hero images shareable. Simply copy and paste the page URL when posting your social media post.
WordPress does this trick by inserting OpenGraph tags into page metadata. Here is an example :
The secret lies in – you guessed it – these property=”og” things. If your website does not generate them automatically, you can put them yourself in the metadata of your pages.
However, it is much easier to install a plugin like Share this picture. Then, users will be able to share your site images on social media with just a few clicks.
Google is experimenting with AI and developing new types of search, but images aren’t going anywhere. On the contrary, image search is bound to become even more advanced in the near future, which means there will be new image SEO techniques.
But the existing base is unlikely to change too much. Master it now, and with higher rankings, your website will be ready for the eventual big storm of image SEO.