Updated January 10, 2023Reading Time: 3 minutes
More than Words
Content optimization is something that we talk about a lot. How many keywords to use, what to put in the meta description blah blah. But what we don’t often mention is the other things you have on your website next to the text. Images. Image optimization is almost as important as text optimization. So if you want to squeeze every ounce of SEO juice out of your website, take a look at these image optimization steps.
As you might know, Google can’t “see” what’s in an image. So, one thing they look at is the name of the file. So if you’re uploading files to your site called ‘image100404.jpg’ you’re missing an optimization opportunity. As long as the image matches your keyword, you should try and coordinate the two. If your blog post is about bananas and the keyword is “banana split”, don’t call the image “banana dessert”.
We’ve spoken about alt tags recently, so we’ll keep it short. Alt tags are the hidden text that helps Google add context to an image file. Here you can add a description of what is shown in the image. Imagine that Google is blind and you’re adding some details in braille so they can understand what is shown (this is an especially useful way of thinking about alt text because if a user is visually impaired the alt text can be read aloud to them).
Captions are like alt text, but visual to everyone. Sometimes adding a caption is required, sometimes it isn’t. You’ll know best when you should use a caption to help with explaining an image, but as it is visual to all users you shouldn’t use them all the time.
Google will also look at the words around your image to help work out if the image fits. So if you’ve written a paragraph about bananas and placed screwdriver.jpg bang in the middle of it Google might notice something is up and will be less likely to fully understand the content on that page. Which in turn, may lead to a bad rank for the page, and for the image. So try and keep things on topic.
Another important point to consider is that image dimensions do matter. Google tends to look for images that fit certain ratios (16 by 9 or 4 by 3) and square images. Google is generally not looking for very small images. They also tend not to show gigantic ones, although they sometimes will scale it down. So don’t upload those satellite photos you took of your ex-wife’s new boyfriend’s backyard.
If you follow the steps outlined above your images should be as optimized as your text. Meaning Google is happy, and your page rank increases. A lot of SEO is about getting the small things right, and this is one of the fiddly tasks that can often be ignored. But, now you know what to do, you can get started!