Image SEO: Optimizing images For Incredible Rankings in Google

Image SEO
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Are you aware you can rank in Google using image optimization?

It’s true!

Just like you can rank your blog posts on Google using Search Engine Optimization, you can rank on Google using Image SEO as well.

In fact, Google Image Search is on the rise. According to a March 2020 source, Google Images are responsible for over 25% of all web traffic.

Did you know Google removed the “View Image” button and replaced it with a direct link to your website?

Clearly, you are missing out on website traffic if you don’t optimize your images.

This guide covers the importance of Unique Images, Image Compression, and Structured Data in image SEO.

This post will tell you how to rank on Google and boost traffic using images.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Create Unique Images

There are certain factors that boost the chances of your images ranking:

Make sure your image is high quality. Clarity counts.

Make sure your image is high on your web page. The higher “above the fold” your image is, the more important it looks to Google and the more visibility it will get.

Make sure your image is unique. This means your image should not be a widely-used stock photo. Canva is a popular graphic design tool that allows you to create your own unique images.

You should also avoid using someone else’s image. Today, most webmasters have their names or watermarks on their photos. If you use someone’s photo without giving source credit which includes a link to the site where the image originated, you can be in violation of copyright restrictions.

In fact, my friend’s guest author used someone’s image without consent, and my friend, the host blogger, was fined.

Make sure your image is relevant.You might enjoy looking at flowers, for instance, but if the bouquet is unrelated to a post about how to make money, avoid using those tulips.

Make sure your image is the right size. I prefer using 1024 x 683 pixels.

In 2021, Google will be prioritizing ranking according to “Mobile First.” In other words, which web content is optimized for mobile?

You don’t want your image to be too big for the smartphone or it will look distorted. Scaling your image to the right size is important for SEO.

Make sure when you upload the image, you name the image or video whatever you want your keyword to be.

This guide assumes you already have a keyword you want to rank on Google.

There are many keyword tools you can use to find keywords you can rank for. I recommend the MozBar which is my personal favorite.

The MozBar is a free Google Chrome extension that gives you unlimited search engine queries. When you download the MozBar, you get additional perks like competitive analysis. Here is a MozBar tutorial.

A quick refresher on finding a keyword: Make sure the monthly search volume is high but the online competition difficulty level is low.

If your image is saved under a different name than your keyword, right click and you can rename your image.

Note: This step won’t work on a MAC since you can’t right-click on a MAC.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-seo.png

Put the keyword in the Alt Text, the Title, and the Description. I’m writing a post on the importance of entrepreneurship, so that was my keyword.

Step 2: Image name

Make sure your image name contains hyphens if your keyword is more than one word long. My keyword is medium tail since it contains three words.

Look above the red boxes in the screenshot. You see “Original image: keyword hyphen keyword hyphen keyword.jpg.”

This is how yours should look. Mine reads “importance-of-entrepreneurship.jpg” and follows this formula.

It should go without saying that your spelling is accurate.

Does .jpg matter? If you are given a choice of a .jpg image or a .png image, does it matter which you pick?

Yes, .jpg has better quality than .png. In addition, .jpg are more SEO-friendly than .png. Save .png for transparent images and screenshots.

Once your keyword is in your post, you can adjust the image’s size here:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-seo-2.png

Click Preview/Mobile

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Are you a WordPress blogger? WordPress lets you see how your image will look on a mobile device.

Image SEO: Optimizing images For Incredible Rankings in Google Click To Tweet

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-seo-4.png

Looks good! I don’t need to alter the dimensions of the image.

It gets better!

This post offers empirical proof in the form of data that these tips work.

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This Ahrefs screenshot shows my content is in Position 1 for the keyword term “good vibes quotes” with a monthly search of 2,400.

Look under SERP Features. Do you see a blue square with an image in the middle?

This tells me my image is in Position 1 on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages.

Which image? I have many images accompanying the post. My dominant image can be found in Page 1 in the SERPs for the keyword. This is the image that is highest on the page, above the fold.

As you can see from the screenshot, my post actually ranks for 14 keywords. Six of them have the target URL in the image pack!

Let’s recap what we’ve learned about image SEO before moving on:

1. Your image should be original.

2. Your image should have strong clarity.

3. Your image should be high on the page.

4. Your image should have your keyword in your Alt Tag, Title Tag, and Description.

5. Your keyword should be based on research.

6. Your keyword should be medium tail or long-tail. Avoid one-word keywords.

7. Your keywords should be spelled correctly.

These tips are of the utmost importance for people involved in ecommerce. If people like the product images they see, they will click the image and be brought to your site.

Step 3: Image Compression

You need to reduce the file size. Image loading slows your site.

The longer the loading time, the longer the search engine user will need to wait, and the less likely Google is to show your content.

In addition, if people get frustrated waiting for your site to load, they will leave to go to another site. This worsens your bounce rate which also discourages Google from showing your website to web browsers.

Clearly, user experience is of paramount importance to Google.

There are many image compression tools you can use to reduce the image size. I have personally used many.

Ewww Image Optimizer, Squoosh, Smush, and Optimole are all image compressors I used.

Lazy Loading

The issue of how image loading affects site speed is actually a controversial one.

For instance, Lazy Loading will only load your images when the visitor comes to the image on your page.

The advantage is clear: Your page loading time is improved. However, what isn’t clear is if Google will rank all your images before the fold.

Caching plugins

Caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache, also helps speed your site’s loading time for return visitors.

The caching plugin keeps your site in your visitor’s memory speeding up the site’s loading time on their return.

W3 Total Cache is free and is available for WordPress bloggers..

If you have concerns about your site’s loading speed, go to GTMetrix is a free tool that will assess your website’s loading speed.

Step 4: Structured Data

When you add structured data, web surfers get additional information about your pages. Your image appears as rich snippets.

Google images supports structured data for three types of content: recipes, products, and videos.

Image SEO: Optimizing images For Incredible Rankings in Google Click To Tweet

Bonus Image SEO Tips

Link Building

No post about SEO is complete without a discussion of link building. Image SEO is no exception.

Traffic Generation

Here’s a trick using Image SEO that boosts your search traffic:

Make an infographic. Infographics are free with tools like Canva and Piktochart.

Ask an authority blog to link to your relevant content and offer them your infographic. Many will agree. That’s how popular infographics still are.

Regardless of the image you choose to put in your article, images are a valuable source of traffic generation.

First, as this post has shown, Google Images gives visibility to unique images placed above the fold.

Next, there are ways you can use your images to boost traffic on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. On Twitter, you can use Twitter Cards to make your images more prominent. Add your images manually when you promote your web content on Facebook and they’ll look bigger than other Facebook users’ images. On Pinterest, you use rich pins to make your images stand out.

Clearly, when images stand out, they are more noticeable which leads to a traffic boost. When people click on the image, they are taken to your website. This is true at Google Images as well.

In addition, are you aware most people are visual learners who would rather learn from images than plain text?

Let me share some data:

According to Forbes, 65% of all people are visual learners. This staggering statistic emphasizes the importance of images.

Plus, the more images you have in your blog post, the happier the majority of visitors will be.

Also, people remember images more than text. This results in return visitors for you which leads to social shares and more traffic for your website.

Wrapping Up: Image SEO

This post included empirical evidence, data from Ahrefs which proved these image SEO tips effectively boost your Google rankings and web traffic.

You can track your own metrics. Ahrefsis a premium tool, but Google Search Console and Google Analytics are free.

The blogging world is competitive and getting more competitive over time. You need to step up your game in 2020 and beyond.

This post explained how you can boost your chances of ranking and traffic generation by optimizing your images for Google and social media sites.

Author Bio:

Janice Wald is the founder of She is an ebook author, blogger, blogging coach, blogging judge, freelance writer, and speaker. She was nominated as the 2019 Best Internet Marketer by the Infinity Blog Awards and in 2017 as the Most Informative Blogger by the London Bloggers Bash. She’s been featured on Small Business Trends, the Huffington Post, and Lifehack.

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