It’s no surprise that high-quality images can make a website more appealing to a visitor. Who doesn’t love looking at a beautiful site? What you might not realize is that the images you use on your website can actually impact your SEO as well – and by paying attention to the details, you can squeeze more SEO value onto every page through the careful use of images.
Why Images Are More Important Than Ever
The early internet was pretty boring, by today’s standards. Websites were mostly plain text, with hyperlinks to other text documents. Although web design has come a long way since then, search engines still “read” the web in much the same way, paying attention to the coding and text on a site rather than the way it looks. That’s why most SEO strategies are built around written content, linking strategies, and other similar factors.
However, Google’s image search technology has become increasingly sophisticated. It is now possible to search by image to find other visually similar images – as well as locate all of the other places on the web a particular image has been used. And, of course, people use Google Image Search every day to find images related to keywords and topics of interest to them. Capturing image search traffic can be a major boon for certain industries, especially because the top-ranking image results for any given keyword don’t always match the top sites from the main search results.
For example: Imagine you are a roofing company that specializes in Spanish tile roofs. If someone is looking for inspiration on their next remodeling project, they might type “Spanish tile roofs” into Google or Bing’s image search and browse pictures. If they see one they like, they might decide to visit that page to learn more or consider hiring you for their project. But if your site images aren’t optimized, you won’t show up in those image results.
Boosting the SEO Value of Your Site
Not every business will benefit from drawing in search engine traffic from image search, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to maximize the SEO value of your site’s photos! Here are a few things that can make a big difference:
- Use your own photos rather than stock photos. Stock photos work great for the basic design, but unique images will stand out in search engine results rather than being hidden as a duplicate. Instead of using a stock photo of your body shop’s welding machine, for example, post one from the interior of your shop – it will add authenticity and personality to your page while giving you an additional way to be found online.
- Choose high-quality photographs that will catch a searcher’s attention. They should look professional, meaning they’re well-lit, fully in focus, and have nice composition with no elements looking out-of-place. A professional-looking photo will inspire a click where a user might skip over something that looks blurry or amateurish.
- Use informative file names. The file name of an image makes up part of the site’s code, and using keyword-based file names that reflect the subject of the photo can help squeeze additional keywords onto the page (and help Google identify what the photo portrays so it appears in the right search results).
- Utilize alt text and descriptions. These are bits of text that accompany a photo, serving to make it easier for search engines to identify the subject of a picture. They also help people using screen readers to visualize what’s happening on the site. If descriptions, alt tags, and captions are properly optimized for relevant keywords, you can potentially drive a lot of traffic to your site that may not have found you otherwise.
All of these optimization strategies are things that our SonicSEO.com Inc. design team will do for your site. Let us know if you have questions or would like to learn more about how your choice of images can make a big difference to the way your site appears in image search.