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People love SEO because it’s supposedly cheap and logical. We find our clients constantly want more focus on SEO, but when we get into discussions on the finer points of this marketing method, it appears many of them have a limited understanding of it. Those with more advanced knowledge never consider an image’s value in boosting a ranking on a search engine’s results page beyond its size. It’s not just clients that push images to the back of their minds – sadly, many marketers do too! The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than words so why not put some science into your SEO efforts?

Here’s why images should form a much more considered part of your SEO strategy.

Why Is Image Search Relevant?

You may know that 93% of online journeys start with a search engine. While image searches are not as popular as website searches on Google, they are far more popular than the other options (news, maps, shopping, etc.). They’re also amazingly popular on the internet in general. In 2018, Google image searches made up a staggering 22.6% of ALL internet searches. That’s a tonne of potential new visitors eyeballing your wonderful website!

Pie chart showing percentage share of image searches online
 

Why You Should Optimise Images for SEO

Recently, Google updated their image search feature and received extremely polarising reactions. The ‘View image’ button has been removed and clicking the thumbnail of the image now takes you to its web page. This means more website traffic and users will have to scroll down the page to locate the image, rather than retrieve it in one click. There has never been a better time to think about optimising your images than now.

If you’re a smaller organisation, you can outrank your huge competitors. Even larger companies don’t think about image optimisation often. On the image results page, smaller brands frequently rise to the top instead of bigger ones. Only a paltry 8% of retailers have bothered to optimise images in their inventory so the small amount of effort this takes can have very visible results.

How to SEO Optimise Images

1. Use relevant file names, titles, alt text and descriptions for each image, thinking about user intent and Google’s algorithm.

2. Place your images around informative and relevant text as Google will use the surrounding text to help determine the usefulness of your images.

3. Use an XML image site map to list images.

4. Ensure image sizes and resolutions are reasonable and don’t take ages to load.

5. Avoid using decorative images on a page whose sole purpose is to make the page look pretty, e.g. dividers, icons, graphics, etc. These can confuse Google’s SEO image crawl.

Make sure your SEO strategy is as advanced as possible. It can be time-consuming to go through your whole website, so start with your most popular pages. There’s a good chance your competitors have neglected this search engine goldmine, so get a head-start before they read this blog and start optimising images!

 

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