Image optimization (Search engine optimization of images) – How to optimize images for Google Images?

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You must be wondering how Google Images manages to find specific images in the search engine after entering a given keyword? Unfortunately, robots (robotic devices) cannot independently define yet what is visible in the image. They require support from us, e.g. correctly entered alt texts or a file name itself. Thanks to it, Google knows what is presented in the image and can help you find what you search for in the search results. Adequate optimization of images for Google Images may deliver satisfactory results for your website. Unfortunately, Image SEO effects are frequently underestimated by website owners. However, it is as useful strategy of digital marketing as “typical SEO actions” on a website.

What is image optimization?

Image optimization (also known as Image SEO) is the process of optimization of images on a website in a way they are suitably friendly and visible for Google robots. Image optimization in Google Images may significantly increase the quantity of traffic to our website through the search of an image and help maintain our ranking.

How to perform a proper optimization of the images in such a way that they are placed in the image search engine?

It is super easy! We are required to comply with the relevant items outlined below: We enter all necessary image metadata: Alt tag optimization (in other words, “alternative description”) – is a piece of information embedded in the HTML source code of the website that reports a text alternative to Google. Alt tag pops up when an image is not displayed on a website because of too long content rendering time. Alt-tag is also the main reference point for search robots (crawlers) to help them define what our website is about. An alternative description may also be of use to the blind and visually impaired persons, who avail themselves of software capable of “reading” the content. What is seen in the image should be provided in an Alt tag, preferably using the keywords.

Title Tag optimization

Title tag is embedded in the HTML source code of the website, however in this case it is a piece of information strictly addressed to users. This text is visible after pointing a mouse cursor over an image. It is worth ensuring that alt and title tags are unique and contain a keyword.

We name images respectively 

When it comes to naming the images, the relevant nomenclature of an image file is of great importance too. The name for an image should contain a target keyword of the web page and fit a format of an image alt tag. Alt text, a title and an image name can be set in the „Media” section in WordPress – fields, completing of which takes literally a while, may bring substantial benefit to your website!

We use unique images 

Even though you might feel tempted to download somebody else’s images, it is not the best approach. It would be best if pictures of the products or services were taken or developed by us or a professional photographer or a graphic designer. What are the pros of unique pictures? Original pictures may become a showcase of your website, Google will appreciate resources the Web had been lacking before. In the event that we do not have any opportunities to develop professional and unique images, we can create customized graphics using so-called Stocks (the database of photos), by means of image processing tools. Correct cropping or application of filters may breathe new life into such photos! Caution: Remember to utilize purchased images and / or hold a license for their use in order to avoid infringement of copyright.

We use high-quality images 

Images of high quality will have a much higher engagement rate and will be much more interesting to recipients. Good quality of the picture and well matched colours will also have a positive impact on UX (User Experience) and not only!

We use proper image file extensions 

Image file formats have an effect on the way graphics are displayed on a website. Remember to select a suitable image format before it is published. Here are several examples of most commonly used graphic formats: PNG – Format used for the majority of non-standardized graphics, screenshots and logos. PNG files can have transparent backgrounds. An essential feature is the fact of lossless data compression. JPG – Most often used for images. Unfortunately, the format loses its quality significantly when compressed. SVG – Extension most often used for custom graphics, which are displayed in a wide range of sizes. This format is characterized by the property of scaling up and down to varied sizes without any loss of quality. GIF – Format used for animated and motion graphics. WebP – WebP is new image format, which ensures a lossless and a lossy compression of graphics. Lossless images in WebP format are on average by 26% smaller compared to PNG, whereas WebP lossy images are on average by 25-34% smaller than images in JPEG format.

We use adequate sizes of image files

Attention should also be drawn to the fact that good quality of images is not all! Unfortunately, too large-size images can slow down your website loading. Long load time negatively impacts UX, but also has an effect on rankings in Google search results. In order to reduce the file size – on other words, to compress graphics – we can use such plug-ins as:
  • WP Smush,
  • Optimus,
  • TinyPNG (available tool online as well).
Above plug-ins are available through websites placed on WordPress. We create images-sitemap.xml images-sitemap.xml will make indexing of images by Google robots more efficient. Thanks to it, images will be visible (prominent) much sooner in Google Images search results.

How to create images-sitemap.xml?

Using the tool Screaming Frog, we crawl the web page:
  • We filter the results into Images type of files – images:
  • We select an option Sitemap from the toolbar => Images Sitemap:
  • We adjust proper settings – we recommend using the default settings:
  • After all settings have been accepted, we download .xml file.
  • The next step is to enter .xml file to FTP via Filezilla.
  • The last step is to add images-sitemap.xml to Google Search Console.

Does optimization of images in the Google Images search engine make sense?

It depends…Activities based on image optimization manage to be very effective in the clothing, catering and tourist sectors. Fine stylizations, breathtaking holiday sceneries or gourmet restaurant dishes – such images will attract users much more effectively than standard text advertisements. However, bear in mind that even your line of business does not belong to these more “visual” ones, still users can search for desired images in Google Images. In such case probability that they land on your website increases significantly. If you deliver images of good quality as one of the few, your website will naturally become a place more often visited by users. Are you interested in our other articles? Learn how to optimize PDF and how to optimize your images in Google Maps And if you are seeking help in optimization or need the audit of a website, do not hesitate to contact us.
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Author: Wiktor Jacheć

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