SEO for Images to Increase Traffic & Engagement

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4 min read

Optimising website images offers dozens of SEO benefits. Highlights of these advantages include improved website performance and user experiences. Adhering to image SEO best practices can also uncover new sources of organic traffic and enhance a brand’s reputation. Even so, most onsite SEO efforts focus on text more than pictures or graphics. This overlooked aspect of SEO can help a business website score some quick wins for higher search ranks, better visibility, and improved user engagement.

Why Improve SEO and User Experiences With Images Optimisation?

SEO for images can provide quick returns for a relatively small investment of money and time.

Better Performance and User Experiences

SEO for images and graphics to load quickly can help speed up a slow-loading page. Search engines favour pages that load reasonably fast, especially for mobile searches. Just as important, users will enjoy a better experience when they don’t have to endure a frustrating wait for massive image files to load. In particular, mobile users may have concerns about consuming too much of their plan’s data. 

Uncover New Traffic Sources

Advanced search engines have grown adept at understanding images, indexing them, and using them to help understand a page’s context. In addition, services like Google Images and Google Image Search allow businesses to appear for image-based searches that don’t depend solely upon the website’s text. 

Best Practices for Image Optimisation

Businesses that follow these best practices can maximize the value of their digital image optimisation.

Resize Images

Resizing images will offer many benefits. Besides loading faster, smaller files take up less storage space. Still, people who need to manage large, established sites may feel concerned about the time it takes to optimise hundreds or thousands of images.

Luckily, SEOs can choose between many good programs to automate the task. Popular examples of image compression software include ImageKit, Cloudinary, and ShortPixel. Look into available plugins for WordPress and other CMS systems for a push-button solution. These programs can process older images in bulk and scan each new image before uploading.

Add Context to Images

The top search engines have gained the intelligence to understand and identify photos and graphics. At the same time, Google makes it clear that supplying more context to images helps ensure relevant categorization and indexing. 

To gain the most SEO value from images on web pages, consider these suggestions: 

  • Optimise the placement of images close to relevant text on the page: Positioning images near relevant text ensures people and search engine bots will understand them. 
  • Use relevant pictures or graphics to add value to the page: Some websites use pictures to attract attention and engage users more than to complement the rest of the content. Think of the surprised faces on the thumbnails of many popular Youtube videos, no matter the topic. These engaging images may work for their purpose but add little SEO value. 
  • Leave critical text outside of the images: Make sure the search engines will understand the context by placing the most vital text in HTML form, not embedded inside graphics. 
  • Develop mobile-friendly pages: Google says that its users employ image search from mobile devices more often than from desktop or laptop computers. 

Also, Google looks at the filename and URL structure for images. Photo names like image1.JPG won’t offer any information to help the algorithm categorize the photo. However, a filename like mountain_ebike.JPG or teeth_whitening_kit.JPG will. 

Add search terms in the alt text attribute of the image’s tag to further describe the picture. Make use of titles and captions for more opportunities to include keywords. Some people can’t see the images. Examples include people using a screen reader for vision problems or users with low bandwidth. The text in the tags helps these users understand what the images mean while ensuring that search engines can also decipher them. 

Google suggests using short but descriptive text in the alt text attribute. Use essential search terms that describe the image, but don’t stuff them with keywords. 

Employ Structured Data for Increased Visibility 

Structured data allows websites to earn increased visibility with Google’s Rich Results entries on search pages. The schema can use image metadata, making the search entry even more eye-catching and informative for users. This action can prove especially fruitful for eCommerce sites, visual artists, and local businesses. Google offers instructions to help website owners customize this feature and encourages its use. 

Rely on High-Quality Images 

Businesses should pay attention to image quality from the beginning. Many websites use the same images for thumbnails on listing pages and larger pictures on product pages. It takes high-quality photos to look clear when they are small and distinct when enlarged. The quality of images can influence a user’s perception of a brand and their willingness to purchase. 

Also, good image optimisation software can do an excellent job preserving quality when it reduces the graphic’s file size. However, it can only accomplish this goal when it starts with a high-quality image in the first place. 

Why is SEO for Images Important?

Websites may not need images to rank. At the same time, well-optimised, high-quality graphics can help in multiple ways. Image searches can open new traffic streams and entice existing visitors. Most of all, good graphic content can offer value to website visitors, making it more likely they’ll remain engaged long enough to turn into customers. 

For instance, Google has started showing more images in the top search results on the regular search page. According to SearchEngineLand, over one-third of first-page search results have entries with an image box. This additional visibility helps improve CTRs, an excellent outcome for increasing traffic and improving search ranks. 

Also, compressed images help reduce load speed, a technical SEO step that often rapidly improves search ranks and reduces storage requirements. High-quality images that load quickly should also keep users engaged longer to increase conversions and satisfy multiple Google quality metrics. 

Image optimisation remains an important but often overlooked part of SEO. At the same time, everything businesses do to improve their image SEO also benefits website visitors. Even non-technical people should find the basics of image optimisation a straightforward process. Good tools can automate much of the work, so the process should offer good returns on the investment. In particular, businesses that feel stuck in their SEO efforts might consider image optimisation as a way to score an easy victory.


Gideon has over a decade of experience in internet marketing, working with globally recognised brands as well as small local business. With his knowledge of both worlds, it brings a competitive edge to the table, ensuring even the smallest business is taken care of like it was his own. Gideon's technical background ensures that each and every campaign has a strong foundation and key elements are in place for the success of whatever the goals are.
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