How to Optimize Images for SEO

The fact that human beings are visual animals can hardly be disputed. You just need to take a look at the popularity of such sites as YouTube and Instagram to understand what we are talking about. For bloggers around the world, producing content is no longer simply about coming up with a bunch of words. Instead, images and videos play an important role in the ways in which people consume the content that is on the internet.

people prefer images to text

Do computers see images?

What many of you may not be aware of is that Google and other search engines do not actually see the images that you place in your articles. Instead, what they see is the alt text. Yet images can constitute more than half of the “weight,” of your website. It’s important, in any case, for bloggers to make sure that their images are properly optimized for SEO. The image optimization tips that are give below should get you along the way in this regard;

  1. Use alt text to inform search engines about the existence of your images

We have already mentioned that Search Engines do not actually the contents of the images that are in your articles. What they see are the titles, descriptions and alt text.

What is the alt text

The term alt text refers to alternative text. What this means is that this text can be used in place of your image. It, therefore, needs to be descriptive, as it serves as a place holder, in the event that your image cannot be displayed for whatever reason.

  1. Use your keywords in the alt text

One of the things that you need to do as part of the process of optimizing your images for SEO is make sure that you include your target keywords in the alt text. If you are writing a how to bake bread article, then the perfect alt text for your featured image would be; “how to bake bread.”

You could also have other images in your article with alt texts as; “self raising floor,” “beer bread,” and much more. The thing to remember is that you need to have your keywords at least on some of your image alt text.

What this does is help Search Engines determine the contents of your post and it’s relevance to the queries that are being made by people across the web.

  1. Reduce the size of your images

When it comes to SEO, page load speed tends to be one of the most important factors. That is particularly the case for searches that are made from mobile devices. People do not have the time to wait around while your page is slowly loading onto their devices, and you are likely to be penalized with lower rankings by search engines should you have slow loading pages.

page load speed is important to ranking

One of the factors that determine page load speeds are the images that you use on your site. Having extremely big images will mean that devices will have to take more time loading your pages, which is detrimental to your SEO efforts.

It’s important, therefore, for you to make sure that you use lightweight images on your site. The good news is that there are many image compression tools out there that you can use to reduce the size of your images.

But before you do that, it’s a simple matter of choosing images that come in smaller sizes. As an example, we constantly try, on this site, to use images that are no more than 70kb in size. Should an image be bigger than that, we simply do not bother using it.

  1. Use captions on your images

Captions are an easy way through which you can increase the volume for your target keywords in an article. People actually read captions, so it’s important for you to get them right. You do not always need to add a caption to your images, however. Sometimes the image by itself is worth a thousand words and you should avoid over optimizing it.

  1. Get high quality images

Finally, you need to only use high quality images on your site. Doing otherwise runs the risk of negating all your other good work. People tend to read books by their covers, and your images need to be of the highest quality, with the proper placement, to achieve the desired results. If you are looking for free images for your site, feel free to check out Pexels or Pixabay.  These sites have thousands of images that come absolutely royalty free.

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