So you’re already optimizing your website for search engines and seeing the results of increased traffic to your site. That’s great! But what if you could be attracting even more visitors to your site? What many people don’t realize is that images can generate a lot of traffic from image-based search engines, such as Google. And if you want to gain some of this valuable traffic you need to make sure you’re optimizing your images.
I’ve read through Google’s Image Publishing Guidelines and outlined the 6 most important aspects you need to consider to make it easier for Google to find and index your images.
1. Image Formats
Google can only index images that are in the following formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP or SVG. So if you want your images to appear in Google’s search results then you need to ensure your image is in one of these formats. Simple as that.
2. Descriptive Filenames
The filename helps give Google clues about the subject matter of the image. So it’s important your filename uses descriptive words related to the content of the image. For example, my-new-dalmatian-puppy.jpg is much more informative than IMG00117.JPG.
3. Image Alt Text
As Google has a hard time “seeing” images, alternative (alt) text is used to describe the subject matter of an image file. It’s important because it provides Google with very useful information that is used to help determine the best image results for a searcher’s query. Additionally, alt text helps people who are unable to see images on a website – whether the users have visual impairments or are using devices with low-bandwidth connections – be able to interpret images.
To give you a better idea, the following are Google’s examples of not so good, better, and best alt text for an image.
Not so good: alt=” ”
Best: alt=”Dalmatian puppy playing fetch”
4. Image Sitemap
If you are unfamiliar with a sitemap it is basically a list of pages on your website. It’s important because it helps to tell Google about pages on your website that they may have not otherwise discovered. Image sitemaps are very similar, they help Google learn about your new images and determine what those images are about.
Google recommends submitting an image sitemap in order to help them discover images that may not have been found and identify the most important images on your site. To learn more about image sitemaps check out Google’s Webmaster Tools help guide.
5. Image Size
When it comes to image size Google says there are no file size restrictions and they are happy to index images of any size. Image file size may not matter when it comes to indexing the image, but it’s important to keep in mind that extra large images can slow down your page load times. Most visitors won’t wait longer than a few seconds for a web page to load, so make sure the image is optimized and loads quickly.
6. Anchor Text
Anchor text is the visible, clickable characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another location on the web. Although you don’t have much control over the anchor text other websites use to link to your images, you do have control over the anchor text you use in the links on your own site. So make sure your anchor text is useful, descriptive, and relevant to help the user understand the link’s destination.
For example if you are linking to an album of images of your new dalmatian puppy, the anchor text might look like: Photos of my new dalmatian puppy.
Images are an essential part of a website nowadays and it’s not enough to just take photos and upload them onto your site. If you want to see more traffic coming to your website you need to be optimizing your images for Google search. The good news is that it’s fairly quick and simple to do and you can get started right away!
Are there any other tips you have for optimizing your images for Google search? Share them below!