Just to put things into perspective and how important images are, Backlinko recently conducted a project to analyse 1 million sites in Google’s search results and to report on their findings. They found that content with at least one image displayed in its content significantly outperformed content that doesn’t have any images in its copy. Interesting stuff right? Well, it’s about time we got crackin’ and started adding images to our content.
Optimising Images For Search
Of course, every CMS is different and the way we add images to each of our sites involve a different process, however, the end results in the code will always look something like this:
Here you can see some plain HTML, it doesn’t matter what CMS/website software is being used on your site, it will probably always be rendered as HTML, therefore the code will look very similar. Googlebot will take a sneak peak and the poor beggar won’t understand it, primarily because we aren’t telling the bot what it’s about, therefore we can add some tags to better its understanding.
Adding an ALT tag
<IMG SRC="YOURIMAGE.JPG" ALT="PICTURE OF SMILING DOG">
Here we have added an ALT tag, otherwise known as an alternative tag and it can be used for both UX and SEO purposes. If for some reason the user’s browser cannot load the image, for whatever reason that may be (slow connection etc) the browser will then load the ALT tag. On the other hand, Google also reads the ALT tag to better its understanding of the image. If your page is all about dogs, then it’s worthwhile sticking something about d dogs in your ALT tags, Google will then know it’s relevant to your page all about dogs – then it may rank you for dog related terms. Even Google themselves say ‘Create great ALT text’ on their image publishing guidelines page.
To take things even further, we can re-name the file image to something relevant. At the moment we are using ‘yourimage.jpg’ – once again, this signals absolutely nothing to Google. To give google a better understanding, we can use the following:
<IMG SRC="SMILING-DOG.JPG" ALT="PICTURE OF SMILING DOG">
Adding a Title tag
I don’t think any explanation is needed for what this image is about, of course, it’s going to be a smiling dog (yay). It’s important to give your images detailed, informative file names to signal to Googlebot what they’re about. This will not only give you a chance of ranking better (slightly) but will also increase the chances of your site appearing in image search. On the other hand, if you’re looking to take UX into perspective also, we can implement a title tag to our images:
<IMG SRC="SMILING-DOG.JPG" ALT="PICTURE OF SMILING DOG" TITLE="PICTURE OF A SMILING DOG">
The title tags content will appear on hover-over, just like the image I have included below.
There you have it, you now know how to better optimise your images for SEO, it’s fairly straight forward. If you aren’t optimising your images, I’d start doing it moving forward as it will be a pain in the backside to go back and re-visit all of your images. They’ll probably need a re-upload too if you’re looking to change the file name too.
What are your thoughts on optimising images for SEO? If you have any questions regarding the above, please do leave a comment, we’re keen to hear from you. Have fun optimised, SEO warrior!