If you’ve thought about exploring Google Image search for SEO purposes in the past but never got round to it, now is your best chance to finally launch an attack on this awesome traffic source. In this article, I take a look at the importance of using image search to drive traffic to your blog, as well as how to do it the easy way.
It’s 2018, and everyone’s talking about voice search. But while voice search promises to be a real zinger, image search shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, it should be right up there on the table as you look to polish up your SEO efforts.
Check this data from Moz: While the likes of Facebook are starting to rival Google as a search engine, they’re still miles off. Not only are there many times more searches performed on Google than there are on Facebook, but there are also 40 times more Google image searches than there are Facebook searches.
In short, Google Image search matters to blogs. And think of it like this: Since images are probably on every single page of your website, why wouldn’t you optimize them and get the most out of them?
And yet instead many of us are wasting time with oversized stock images that we haven’t given a title to – and that are so big that they slow down our page load time – which in turn bumps our bounce rate up.
Image optimization benefits you in so many ways, including quicker page load times. It also makes it easier for people to find you.
Use these top tricks for getting traffic to your blog from Google Image search.
1. Name your images.
This one is going to take some time if you’ve already got lots of images on your site, but it’s well worth going through them all and renaming them.
When we first upload an image to our website, it usually has a default name that looks something like IMG_555859.
Not only does that make it hard for you to find the image, but it also makes it impossible for Google to know what to do with it.
Google wants some context from you so that its crawlers can understand the image's subject matter. Once it understands this, it can rank the image appropriately and match it up with users who are looking for your information.
Before you upload any images, rename them first. Let’s say you’ve got an image of the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. You could name it simply “Cristiano-Ronaldo-Footballer.”
All your file names must be short, to-the-point, precise, and they should include a keyword for proper SEO.
2. Optimize your alt tags.
Just as important as naming your images, you should also work on optimizing your alt tags with appropriate, SEO-friendly text. Google themselves have stated the importance of alt text.
An alt tag describes the contents of each of your images. If an image can’t load for whatever reason, users will instead see an image box containing the alt tag. This allows them to know what would have been in the image, and it also boosts your SEO efforts when you use keywords. When someone searches for an image related to yours, there’s a good chance they’ll find it in the Google Image search results if you’ve used the appropriate keywords in your alt tag. Google uses the information you give them via an images alt tag to rank it accordingly.
It’s sloppy practice to lazily name an image like the one below as “BMW 1 Series.” That doesn’t tell Google enough about what’s really in the image, and you’ll find it hard to get it in front of the right eyeballs. A better, more optimized alt tag would be something like “2018 BMW 1 Series Rear.”
Especially if you’re showcasing a product, adding the year before the description is a good idea.
3. Add captions.
Jakob Nielsen wrote about how to write for the Internet back in 1997, and not much has changed regarding the following:
“Elements that enhance scanning include headings, large type, bold text, highlighted text, bulleted lists, graphics, captions, topic sentences and tables of content.”
People scan articles. Sometimes, they read the captions beneath an image more than they read the article itself. In this way, captions that accompany an eye-catching image can bring a reader back into the game provided they are compelling enough. And, ensuring that said reader then makes it all the way to your CTA at the end of a blog post.
For SEO purposes, captions are important because a) they give Google Image search more context about an image, and b) they’re a great way to slip more keywords into your post.
There’s no need to add captions to every single image. If a page has a lot of images, too many captions might annoy the reader
4. Pay for original, standout images.
For blogs, the aim should be to use visually appealing images. Good images get attention. If an eye-catching image accompanies a post on social media, it’s got a ten times better chance of being read. This could increase its shares and its chances of going viral, which boosts traffic.
If you’re on a budget, it’s tempting to use free, stock photos for your blog. But as you know, these aren't always the best.
Stock images might look drab and unoriginal. They also look like stock images, which can harm your overall appeal. Well, like this one:
Just ask yourself this:
If you’re perusing social media for advice on something, are you going to open the blog post with the eye-catching, hugely original image, or are you going to open the blog post with the same generic, poor resolution image you’ve seen a million times before?
To reduce the potential headache of using a copyright image by mistake, consider websites like Shutterstock. They let you pay a set fee for a certain amount of quality images.
5. Scale the images properly.
The scale is a bit of an issue among newbie marketers who might not be aware of how page speed affects SEO. If your pages take too long to load, it can badly affect your rankings. And one of the biggest reasons for a slow loading page is – you guessed it – huge images.
If you can get your pages to load faster, it makes it a lot easier for Google to visit and index them. Then, it can rank it better.
Of course, the question now becomes: What’s the best image size for a blog?
The most important thing you need to take into consideration is how big your blog content area is. If it’s 690 pixels in width, you don’t want to size an image any bigger than that. If you do, it will be shrunk. So not only will it slow down your loading time, but it will also look epically bad.
It’s also a good idea to save all JPEGs at no more than 85% quality range. Any higher means you risk slowing down your page speed.
6. Build an image sitemap.
There are numerous free Sitemap Generator tools you can use on the Internet to submit your images to. If you’re using WordPress, you can use their Google XML Sitemap for Images plugin.
Included in the submission will be the subject matter of the image, any captions, the type of image, its title, licenses, and its location.
Make your blog picture perfect.
Getting traffic to your blog via image search is fairly straightforward and, unlike your other SEO campaigns, doesn’t require a great deal of effort. Use these tips and remember to optimize your images each time you add them. It will save you a lot of time!
Do you have any other tips for optimizing images? Are you guilty of uploading images named "IMG_12345" or "asdfghjkl;" to your blog?
Share your stories in the comment section below 😉