Engineering the future of technology has made great strides; yet, many still do not invest enough time in image optimization for search. In fact, most people neglect image search optimization or forget about it altogether. But image search offers powerful capabilities to transform your website from ordinary to extraordinary. Google determines image search results by using various algorithms.
So if you want to bolster your website’s search appearance, you must learn how to appeal to this algorithm. User experience dictates the ranking for image search. Google ranks images based on two factors, relevance and quality, which are generally measured by the number of clicks they receive based on popularity. Hence, the formula seems short and sweet; gain popularity and your business will flourish with image search. With that thought in mind, here are some simple tips on how you can maximize your efforts with image search and help your business succeed.
Select Quality Images to Reflect Your Product
The first appearance of an image will be a heavy hitting factor in making or breaking popularity to the masses. Did you know 63% of consumers claim that product descriptions and images are of high importance when making buying decisions? This is because consumers associate product quality with how it looks in a picture. Be sure to use high-quality images when advertising your product.
Maintain Your Neglected Images
While this may not initially seem like a problem, many webmasters foolishly name their images by their default file names. A standard image file name usually follows the format IMG_XXXX. Each letter “x” symbolizes numbers between one and nine; hence, the file number could range from 1111 to 9999, resulting in over 200,000 combinations of file numbers. With this ambiguity, it comes as no surprise that images often become neglected in an image search.
Think for a second; an infinite amount of images make their way to image search engines such as Google using this naming method. A search for a particular file by this name is slim and rarely occurs. These files will remain unnamed while floating in the abyss of image search remaining untouched and undiscovered forever. To best optimize your images, businesses should title images by a specific product model or service qualities. Better yet, try to incorporate some targeted keywords into your file names.
Understand Image Ratios and File Size
The larger the image file size, the longer uploading time it will take. To avoid this lag you can take some measures such as removing unnecessary data with helpful websites such as Kraken.io, PunyPNG, and JPEGMini. Rest assured, this will not compromise the quality of your images.
While size should not be the determining factor of an image’s quality, you must understand how several images will look together when featured on an image search engine. It’s best to plan out how your images will look near one another in the search results beforehand. As a rule of thumb, standard image ratios are 16:9 or 4:3, and most images and image collections try to fit these ratios as often as possible. When reduced to thumbnail size, images should retain their high quality. If they are not of high quality, your image will not attract legitimate clicks or audience attention.
Be Wary of Stock Images
Though stock images may be high quality and affordable, these types of photos found on websites such as istockphoto.com or shutterstock.com can flash a sense of fabrication, especially for certain sections of your website. More importantly, you risk using the same images as other websites – specifically your competition. How do you expect to stand out from similar brands if you consistently use the same old generic images on your website?
Business should show off what their most genuine factors and qualities are, with the intent to make a personal connection with the audience. Audiences are less likely to click on images that they immediately recognize as stock images. For example, using stock images to replace your staff or facility can deter customers who already identify with your employees and place of business. Furthermore, Google will lower the ranking of the stock images compared to genuine images for image display that keep the quality true to your business’s goals and achievements.
Customize Labels, Tags, and Descriptors
Google indexes images when determining rankings, so you need to identify your image and its context. Here are five main sectors to consider when labeling an image:
- Image file name is a basic description of your image and what makes your image searchable. Choose a brief name that describes the exact nature of your image.
- Alt tags act as a description of your image. An alt tag is an alternate display of text and should incorporate keywords that describe the image. Most people don’t realize that alt text allows you another opportunity to include a keyword on a page you’re trying to rank for. Since search engines cannot scan the image itself for keyword usage, they can still scan the alt text. For example, a file name of a purse could have alt tags such as flowers, adjustable strap, or zipper.
- Captions give a title to or provide description displayed on the image. Expand your caption to stress your business’ goal and the product or service’s purpose.
- Descriptions are a full explanation of the product or service’s attributes and processes. Descriptions should include details about the image and additional links or information to learn more about the image.
- Context determines the relevance of images to search results. Google compares the context of every other independent factor around the image such as text content, image sitemaps, URL, website title and subtitles, and other similar images. Context combines both the quality and relevance of your image’s ranking. Optimize each of these independent factors surrounding the image’s context in unity and consistency.
While some of these elements may seem trivial, they can actually help boost your ranking in the long run.
Are Your Images Fully Optimized?
The way users search for images and the way images appear on websites is a changing factor in the digital landscape. Images remain central to reaching and engaging audiences and holding the interest of the audience is the most important tactic to any business. For more information about image search results regarding SEO, contact Premiere Creative today or give us a call at (973) 346-8100.