How to optimise your site’s images for better SEO

Site owners often think about optimising their webpage text, but rarely focus on their images. However, this can be just as important, and shouldn’t be neglected.

When people talk about SEO, often they’re referring to the text of their websites. Whether it’s content or keywords, a lot of focus is put on optimising the written word. However, in many ways it is just as important to make sure your images are tailored to both your audience and the search engine they will be using to find you.

So what does this actually mean? How does one optimise an image? Well, first off you need to give it a title when you upload it. So often, the filenames of images are a string of letters and numbers, which might seem fine to you, but it doesn’t help a search engine from working out what is on your page.

Google can’t understand images. There are efforts ongoing to develop computers that can work out what is in a picture as people can, but this is still a way off. For now, search engines are stuck with using the title of an image to ascertain what it is showing. When your title is meaningless, it doesn’t help your site at all.

Fixing this is as simple as naming the image after what is in it; “businesswoman holding meeting” for example, or give it the name of the specific product it shows. The more accurate you can be, the better.

This also applies to alt tags for images. This can simply be a list of words that apply to the image, although try not to be too spammy. You can also add a caption, which in addition to being picked up by search engines will also display if the image fails to load. For this reason it’s important to be nice and descriptive, although keeping it within a single sentence if possible.

Finally, remember that a huge part of SEO is about user experience. If your users arrive at your site to find basic stock images put there without any thought, they are highly unlikely to share your page, depriving you of valuable links. Instead, make sure your site’s visuals are planned just as carefully as you would plan what you write.