Optimizing Images for SEO
Updated: Aug 10, 2020
Image optimization for SEO is really important when it comes to getting ranked on Google. Not only can it get your whole entire website ranking higher but it can also get just your images ranked in search engine image searches; therefore, technically, doubling your chances to get found online... and when you get found online, you increase that cash money flowing into your business!
There are two separate buckets you want to look at when optimizing your images... you want to make sure they are being optimized FOR SPEED and FOR KEYWORDS!
You want to make sure your website loads FAST, the faster your website loads the higher up in the ranks you will rise! One of the quickest ways to increase your website page load speed is making sure your IMAGES LOAD FAST!
Want to know how fast your current website loads? Use this Google PageSpeed insights!!
What is Page Speed?
Page Speed is how long it takes your web pages to load when you click on your URL. We now all know that page speed is an important factor in your website’s search engine rank, but even if you aren’t concerned with SEO, you should still care because it also affects user experience. A slower page load time is directly correlated with higher bounce rates!
You can test your page speed at Google’s PageSpeed Insights website. It will give you a score and options on how to optimize your website. Most people, however, won’t feel comfortable making Google's tweaks on their own... and frankly probably won't even understand how to translate what it says. This is where you should have a SEO specialist or a web developer step in.
Another thing to note is that these are suggestions that ONLY take speed into account but might not make sense for your brand. For example, it will tell you that it doesn’t like your Insta feed on your website, but if Instagram is a big part of your marketing mix then you probably want to keep it.
Even if you can't fully understand Google's optimizations language, below are 3 optimizations that you CAN make today, SANS an SEO specialist, to start speeding up your website so you can increase page rank and user experience:
1. COMPRESS FILE SIZES
Compress all images and documents that you are going to upload to your website. The files should be as small as possible without affecting the quality of how they look on the web. There are several ways to do this, and here are just a few that I use:
Use compression websites and Wordpress plugins such as Optimizilla or TinyPNG. These are best if you want to compress multiple image files at once or if you need to keep transparency on an image.
Save your image down via “Preview”. Open your image in preview (this is automatic for most users on a MAC). Click on “Export” under the “File” dropdown menu. In the pop up slide the “quality” ticker all the way down to least (or however low you feel comfortable going without diminishing quality). You can see that my image went from 3MB to 241kb and still looks just fine!
Take a quick screen grab and use that. For MAC users, you press Command+Shift+4 and then select the image you want to copy. The screen grab will automatically save to your desktop.
2. COMBINE BACKGROUND IMAGES
Grouping your background images on your website into one image decreases the number of links in your code, which helps search engines crawl your page faster and helps your page load faster. A win-win all around! To do this in your website builder, select all the images you want to group together and then click “group”. This will either be a button that pops up or should be in your right-click settings.
3. SCALE IMAGES BEFORE UPLOADING TO YOUR SITE
I know this isn’t always the most efficient option, but you should do this when and where you can because it will help you immensely in the end… Promise! Save your images to the exact specs you need them at for your website builder. If you upload a large square overlay but then resize it to a small, long rectangle, this adds more code to your backend, which again, makes loader slower and crawling less efficient, which will penalize you.
I highly recommend this plugin and use it ALL THE TIME! YSlow analyzes web pages and makes optimization suggestions that will improve page load performance. It will even link you to your specific images and code that need optimizing.
PRO TIP: focus on one keyword and its variations/synonyms for each page!
1. Put Keywords in your image file name.
For example instead of your image file being "randomlettersandnumbers.jpg" it should say "your-keyword-goes-here.jpg". Just like anything else with SEO, you don't want to stuff a bunch of keywords in there. ONE is just fine! And if you do too many Google could flag it as spam.
2. Fill out Alt-text.
The alt-text of an image gets inputted AFTER the image is uploaded to your website. You will find this area in the image settings. It is used SPECIFICALLY to help out the hearing impaired, so first and foremost you need to respect that. If there's a picture of me wearing a red shirt I will make sure to included that; HOWEVER, you can still add a keyword if it makes sense.
For example, if there was a picture of me wearing a red shirt I could create the alt-text "Caitlin Strempel, SEO Expert, wearing a red shirt". It clearly explains that there's a picture of a girl wearing a read shirt AND I got my keyword "SEO expert" in there.
ALRIGHT!! There's ONE little secret that nobody ever talks about and I'm SPILLING THE BEANS... right here, right now IN THE VIDEO BELOW!
3. Add Keywords to the Actual Image File!
This is an extremely effective SEO tactic that NO ONE is talking about! This is an image SEO tactic that needs to be completed BEFORE the image gets uploaded to your website...
Check out this video, it's a sneak peek of just one of the SEO secrets that is shared in my e-course that nobody is talking about!!
And if you like this tip check out my SEO E-COURSE!
**Full Video Transcript**
Let's chat image optimization. We all know that we have to optimize your images on the website. However, what most people don't know or they just skip this step is that you need to optimize them before you even upload them to your website. I want you to go find some photos that you want to upload to your website. You're going to come and just like your title tags and meta descriptions, you're going to name them with your keywords. You're going to put the most important keywords at the beginning.
Here, you'll see I put SEO-Expert-Phoenix. One thing that you will see some filenames that look like this with the underscore or just the space, but what Google really likes is the dash. I don't know why, but that's what they like. You want to make sure that you are renaming those before you upload them. If you have several pictures for the same page, again, you're going to want to use synonyms. You're going to want to switch it up a little bit to make sure that you aren't looking like spam to Google. Now that I've renamed it, I'm going to go in, and then right click and go to Get Information.
It might be slightly different in different applications or different computers, but this one is for Apple in the Finder. It's always there and there might be a Save As. You just need to dig around and look for it. We're going to go to Get Information. You'll see the title pops up here, and let me actually just delete that so you can see it. It says, add tags. This is another area that people don't really know where you can add more tags. I wouldn't go crazy here but definitely add a few that align with your keywords.
We'll put SEO expert. You do not really use the dashes here. These are just spaces. SEO consultant-- Put SEO consultant phoenix, and then put phoenix SEO specialist. Perfect. Then once I close it out, then it's going to be completely saved. There's also this area for comments. I would put in here; maybe we'll talk about CRS digital marketing, and just describe what the images, and maybe even link the pages. It sounds to me it will be like SEO Services page.
Again, play around with that. Get creative. Use keywords that are similar to the same one that you are trying to rank for on your website, and definitely use the one that you are going to try to rank for on the website. Just don't use it over and over and over again, and start keyword stuffing, because you'll start looking like spam.
That's it for optimizing images before you upload. Next, we're going to talk about optimizing images when you upload to your site.