Image SEO, is it about using SEO friendly alt tags? A part of it? Yes, but all of it? No! There’s a whole lot about image SEO that you must know to get more organic traffic.

Why not just ignore the images? You would think. It may be easy but not healthy especially for your site. Most importantly when you are thinking about getting more organic traffic.

But still, I will give you three big reasons why images should be an important part of your blog posts. 


Yes, there are 3 big reasons.


So let’s begin.


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image seo tips for 2021


Why You Should Use Images In Your Blog Posts?


First things first, if you were thinking about ignoring images, Well, that was a good thought, less work to do less trouble! But unfortunately, not a good idea. 


Because there are always extra marks for extra efforts. Let’s count those extra marks one by one.


(A) Google Uses Images To Rank Sites.


Yes sir!


Of 300 and more ranking factors that Google uses to rank a site in search engines, images are one of them. 


Yes, Google uses images to understand what your content is about using the information that you put on your images. 


I’ll tell you in a bit how to effectively put the correct information to tell Google about your blog posts but for now, let’s just keep it to that Google uses images to rank sites. 


You know that a keyword-rich article is an SEO friendly article and thus has more chances of getting ranked. 


But do you know that images are just a smarter way to do that? Yes, using images throughout the blog post and putting target keywords in alt tags or titles is a way to that.


The Yoast SEO plugin also recommends using at least one image in a blog post. 


If you don’t know what Yoast plugin is, it is a plugin that helps you to write SEO friendly articles. It’s a premium plugin but you can also install the free version. Check here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/


That’s one of the reasons why you should use images in your content.


(B) Readers Use Images To Go Through A Piece Of Content.


Seriously! 


Don’t expect me to read a long, 2000-word, black & white blog post without images! And so the rest of the readers!


Generally, eyes attract colors. And using colorful images that are also soothing to the eyes is a great way to attract your target audience.


You must have heard of the quote “Images speak better than content.” or maybe a different version of it but the meaning is the same.


Your reader is more likely to stick around to the end. That’s when you have created a blog post full of entertaining text (informative also!) and eye-catching images.


PRO TIP:


If you aren’t utilizing the featured image then you are missing on a lot of potential readers. Because the featured image is the first image a reader will see whenever he sees your article anywhere else such as social platforms. 


Start uploading featured images. Along with more images!


(C) Images Are Also Ranked On Search Engines.


You would have seen this many times. 


When you put a query on the Google search there are options like images, news, and more. Clicking on the images option would send you to another screen with a lot of images.


This is called Google Image Search.


These images are actually ranked by Google after running its various ranking tests. And a big portion of the audience visits a site after clicking on these images.


So if you are not having images on your site you are missing a big target audience.


After going through these 3 points it is clear that a well-optimized image that is also inviting can help you get more visitors to your site and more loved by Google. 


Hence, Image SEO optimization should be an important part of your SEO strategy.


But before I add it to my SEO strategy, what exactly is it?


What Is Image SEO?


It’s a practice to increase your chances of ranking on Google. 


We can also call it “Google image SEO” for a better understanding.


According to Ryte, https://en.ryte.com/wiki/Image_SEO


“Image SEO refers to the element of on-page search engine optimization which primarily relates to image files. In practice, it is usually referred to as image optimization. The objectives of image SEO include improving rankings of a website in the Google Images search, as well as generally helping to increase the visibility of a website.”


Thus, our goal with image SEO is to help Google understand better about your website and so Google can reward you by ranking your posts higher.


Don’t worry (if you are worried), these 11 image SEO best practices will help you become “dear” to Google in no time.


11 Image SEO Best Practices To Get More Organic Traffic in 2021


These 11 easy image SEO tips you should follow to get your images also rank on search engines.


1) Use High-Quality Images.


High-quality images are prioritized by Google. Some of the characteristics of a high-quality image are.


  • Clear
  • Not blurry.
  • Vibrant colors.
  • Original and more. 


Using low-quality images is also not good for branding your website. A brand is more likely to be trusted if it looks professional and inviting. 


Another fact is that bad images also ensure a poor user experience. A user who sees blurry or unclear images would never click on them, and if he/she clicks on your image won’t trust you and as a result, would easily leave your site. 


This would increase your bounce rate also and hence can hurt your online image.


Therefore, to get more clicks on your images you must use beautiful high-quality images.


2) Use Original Images.


What do I mean by this? I mean the images that are not anyone else but yours. 


You can’t download any image that you liked while scrolling through a website and use it on your website.


This is illegal and can get you into a lot of trouble. 


So what is the best way to own an image? To click your own! But not everyone is a skilled photographer.


At least not me!


Therefore, the remaining option is to use stock photos. Using stock photos unlocks two benefits.


  1. These are high-quality images clicked by professional graphic designers, therefore maintaining your brand.
  2. You are licensed to use these images without worrying about any legal trouble.


Check out these 4 sites that have beautiful stock images that you can use on your blog to make it look professional and yourself a brand.


3) Must Compress Images (Most Important)


Have you ever checked your website speed? If not, you can check it from here. GTMetrix is a free site from where you can check your site speed.


If it’s a number less than or equal to 3 seconds your site is good to go but if your site speed is more than 3 seconds then that’s trouble. 


Follow these steps to reduce your site speed.


Moving on, A big reason behind slow site speed are big sized images. And in general cases, these large sized image files are the only cause.


But you can easily avoid this. By compressing images. 


Compressing images generally means reducing the file size without affecting the quality of images.


You can compress images in 2 ways. 


  • Installing a plugin - Smush Compression and ShortPixel are two popular plugins that do great compression. Here you don’t have to compress each image. 


  • Using a Tool - Photoshop or TinyJPG (TinyPNG for PNG images). The only problem is that you have to compress each image before uploading them.


I personally use TinyJPG to compress all the images. It’s better because I don’t have to install an extra plugin and it’s free.


4) Choosing The Correct Format.


Images come in many formats like JPEGs, PNGs, SVGs and etc.


They are because each of them has a different purpose. And it’s important to choose wisely the correct format to use. 


For example, 


In PNGs, you will have a high-quality image with a large file size. While in JPGs you will have a slightly low quality with a small file size. 


Google suggests using the JPEG format to upload blog graphics. To know more about image format selection check out this guide.


Therefore, keep an eye on the format in which you are uploading your images. 


5) Smartly Choose The Title (Image File Name).


Yes, I’m talking about the file name, the one we don’t even pay attention to when creating our images. But it’s so important. 


Because Google prefers (prioritizes) the images with a keyword-rich file name. 


However, it shouldn’t necessarily have to be keyword-rich but it must be explanatory enough to tell Google about the image.


Because Google can’t see images. The algorithm works after collecting these small pieces of information. 


The file name will tell Google about the image.


Let me explain it with an example for you. 


Suppose you want to use an image of an apple pie in your recent blog post about a recipe. The image file name that Google prefers would be something like this


Apple pie with cherry.jpg 


And that Google doesn’t like would be something like this


IMG103245.jpg 


Because such file names fulfill no purpose. I mean without looking at the image not even you can tell what the image is about.


But after reading the file name we can understand that it is an apple pie.

  

Also, about the keyword-rich part, if you can use keywords smartly in your image file names, brilliant!


Google loves you already!


6) Writing A Keyword Rich Alt Text.


This one is not a brainer. 


So many times we have heard that an alt tag image is a great example of image SEO. I know it’s not completely true but also it’s not completely false. 


Alt tags are the best place to use your target keyword. If you remember, I told you about a smart way to use your target keyword. 


These alt tags are a perfect place to use your target keywords and using these alt tag images throughout the blog post is just the icing on the cake. 


You don’t have to worry about keyword stuffing at all. But at the same time, a keyword-rich alt tag doesn’t mean only the target keyword only.  


A meaningful sentence that also relates to the image is far better. Google keeps a close eye on such things.


Therefore it is highly advised to use images that are related to the content. 


An apple pie in a medicine-related article will only confuse both Google and your readers. Unless it’s an example.


7) Make Sure Title Tags Aren’t Blank.


When uploading images to your WordPress media you must have noticed a title tag under each image. 


It is generally filled with the file name of the image that you give while saving them on your desktop. 


So there’s not much to worry about.


All you have to make sure is that the title name isn’t blank. 


8) Write Helpful Captions. 


Captions are another great way to inform Google more about your blog post. In fact, you get to explain more here. 


You can easily write an informative 2 to 3 line caption to explain your image and so that Google (and also your readers) understand your image.


Again, a keyword-rich caption is the icing on the cake.


9) Enable Lazy Loading.


When a webpage has a lot of images, it takes a lot of time to load.


Because, before showing the page to the user, the system downloads all the files. And it displays the page only if all the files are downloaded. This takes a lot of time. 


And the reader as well as Google both hate slow loading sites. But images are also important. 


Lazy loading is a feature that will save you from this trouble. 


Lazy load basically means to download and display only those images that are on display screen size and as the reader scrolls down the next batch of displayed images are downloaded and displayed.


This way fewer files are downloaded at a time and hence the loading time is also reduced.


You can install a lazy load plugin. I use a caching plugin Total W3 Cache.


10) Upload Responsive Images.


More than half of the world’s population uses mobile for internet use. Therefore, your site must be mobile-friendly. 


Another important factor that Google uses to crawl websites!


Responsive images are images that adjust their size (dimensions) based on the type of device they are viewed. 


For example, the full-screen size of a desktop is different from the full-screen size of a mobile.


Responsive images load to their full size in both these devices.


On WordPress, it is easy to upload responsive images. Check out this article to learn how to create responsive images.


11) Including Images In Sitemap. 


Including your images in the sitemap is directly telling Google that these are your images and Google should start ranking them.


If you have already created a sitemap of your site it’s time you update that. 


You can do this by this blog post from Rocketclicks.


I had also created my blog’s sitemap using the Yoast SEO plugin.


Conclusion


So these were my 11 best practices for image SEO optimization. If you follow each step clearly you will see your images ranking on Google Image search in a few days. You can also check related post on  SEO Trends for 2021


Here’s a list of 8 key takeaways from this blog post about Image SEO: 


  • High quality and original images.
  • Appropriate Filename and in a correct format.
  • The images that follow alt tag SEO best practices work the best.
  • Always compress images.
  • Writing helpful captions helps.
  • Sitemaps. 
  • Lazy load enabled.
  • Using responsive images.


I hope I have helped you in some way with my image SEO guide.


If you have any questions in mind please ask them in the comments section, I’ll try my best to clear them for you. 


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