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7 Tips for Optimizing Images for Search Engines

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Did you know there are over 8,600 image searches every second?

Far too many website owners undervalue the importance of image SEO. The fact is, over 12% of Google searches are Google Image searches. That may not sound like much, until you realize that adds up to more than 8,600 image searches every second. So, let’s go over key tips for optimizing images for search engines like Google.

1. Build Context

Google’s page crawlers are advanced, but they’re still evolving. As for now, they continue to rely on the context your website provides to determine what an image actually contains. As such, you should use all the resources at your disposal to give these crawlers context.

  • Use “alt” text to describe what’s in the image. This will only show if the image is unable to be displayed. Those using text-to-speech software will also hear the alt text read to them to help them understand the visual aspects of your page.
  • Use a caption for more context. The caption is visible to your site’s readers, so use it offer helpful info, like a short description of what they’re looking at and/or a citation of where the image originated.

2. Optimize Placement

Your images should always be placed in an intuitive spot, ideally near relevant text. When one image is more important than any other, consider placing it at or near the top of the page.

tips for optimizing images for search engines
Want to learn how to hide your full-sized images? Read the article she’s reading here.

3. Avoid Embedding Text

You shouldn’t embed important text inside the image, especially a page header or menu item. After all, translation tools won’t take this text into account and, more than that, not all of your users will be able to access this info.

Keep your content accessible by providing alt text for your images. Use HTML for all important text on the page.

4. Design for All Devices

If your website isn’t already responsive and mobile-friendly, you better get to it! When it comes to images, in particular, the majority of Google Image searches are done from mobile devices.

A mobile-friendly test tool will show you how your pages display on mobile devices. Beyond that, you can begin optimizing everything else, like your images, to ensure they load quickly for all users.

5. Properly Structure Your URLs

Google will use the URL path and the file name of your images to better understand them. You should consider reorganizing your images library so the URLs are logically structured.

how to structure image URLs

6. Check Your Title and Description

The title and snippet Google generates and shows alongside your image will help users determine if they want to click on your image or not. Therefore, you should make sure Google has as much helpful info as possible to write the best title and snippet for your image(s).

Your page’s title and description will play a big role in this process, so follow Google’s title and snippet guidelines:

  • Specify a title with a <title> tag
  • Make the title short and descriptive
  • Avoid stuffing keywords into your page titles and snippets
  • Focus on human readability
  • Add structured data to produce rich snippets

7. Write Quality Content First

When it comes to these tips for optimizing images for search engines, you have to remember that Google will take many factors into account, including the quality of the surrounding content. Your webpage also helps build the all-important context so Google knows when it would be relevant to show your image in search results.

That’s why we always tell people that SEO is about quality writing more than anything else.

This is part of our mini-series: Climb The SERPs. In this series, we strive to offer bite-sized tips and tactics that you can easily digest and implement so that you can start getting better SEO results.

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