As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Can you imagine a website without photos or images? Only text… To avoid indigestion, it is essential to consider the image as a critical element of your website. However, an image without text on the Web is worthless for search engines. Indeed, Google is not yet able to interpret visual content alone. For Google, an image without text is equivalent to ghost content. To avoid becoming invisible to Google, knowing how to reference your images effectively is essential. Explanations.
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Why Optimize Your Images?
Google places more and more importance on images. From now on, the search engine giant displays directly in the results the pictures associated with the request (provided they are in the first results in Google Images). With Christmas fast approaching, Internet users will start ordering gifts online. Correctly referencing your images will therefore be vital for any e-commerce site! Indeed, being in Google Images will allow an e-commerce site to attract Internet users who need to see the product quickly before making a purchase.
Remember that if your image is well referenced in Google, it means more chances to increase your traffic and, therefore, your sales! Be careful; image optimization does not only benefit merchant sites! Any website or blog that has properly referenced its images will gain visibility on the search engine as the volume of requests on Google Images increases. To recap, properly optimizing your images has the following consequences:
- Increase sales for e-commerce sites
- Increase website traffic
- Gain visibility on Google Images and Google more generally
Now that you have grasped the importance of optimizing your images let’s get to the heart of how to reference your images correctly. Best practices for correctly referencing your images
A Meaningful File Name
The first good reflex to take is to rename your images. Between these file names: “109864387.jpg” and “google-maps.jpg,” which are the most relevant? Take care with the filename of your images by ensuring that it is short but descriptive with keywords. It is best to rename your files on your computer before uploading them to your CMS. Here are a few minor rules to follow for a correct file name:
- No special characters
- lowercase letters
- Dashes (no underscore) to separate words
- 2 to 3 comments maximum
The Title Tag Of The Image To Add
The Title tag corresponds to the text displayed when the Internet user hovers over the image with his mouse in the form of a tooltip. For now, this field is not very important for Google regarding indexing, but it provides additional information for the visitor during his navigation. This is not mandatory, but remember to do it on your site or blog for the comfort of your dear readers!
The Correctly Filled Alt (Alternative Text) Tag
The alt tag is the brief description of your image content displayed when the image cannot be loaded and is used as a link anchor when the image serves as a link. Although it has a low impact on the SEO of a page, the “alt” attribute is taken into account by Google. On the other hand, it is essential to fill in this tag to be referenced in Google Images.
To properly fill in the “alt” attribute, writing a short text containing the main keywords that represent the image simply and clearly is advisable. Here is an example : <img src=”/images/powertrafic.png” width=”634″ height=”753″ alt=”Referencing in Google Images”/> A word of advice: fill in the “alt” tags only for the images you want to see in Google Images. Exit the images that are only used for the design of the site. Excessive use of this attribute may be considered spam by Google.
The Image Caption
The caption is necessary because it gives the user information about the displayed image. Real added value for the user experience, the legend makes it easier to read and understand visual content. Search engines also appreciate it because it allows them to interpret the image’s meaning. Unlike the “alt” tag, the caption is visible to the Internet user. Be sure to insert keywords that are not identical to those of the “alt” tag.
The Weight Of The Images
We don’t systematically think about doing it, but reducing the weight of the images is one of the fundamental steps in optimization. High-resolution photos should not be uploaded to your site as is. You would dramatically slow down the loading speed of your site. You will therefore have to go through a tool to reduce the weight of your images, such as the online tool, Kraken.io, which I presented to you in the article on SEO tools.
Regarding image size, note that Google appreciates large images larger than 500×500. Regarding image formats, Google can index the following formats: JPG, PNG, GIF BMP, SVG, and WebP. BMP images should be avoided (cumbersome pictures because they are not compressed). JPG is more efficient for photos, and SVG is only sometimes considered by browsers.
Finally, remember to link to the page that contains the image; this is important for your SEO strategy. So write a link anchor using relevant keywords for pages that contain images.
The CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A CDN is, not to go into details, an additional data storage space (files, videos, images, etc.). These are computers connected to the Web whose function is to make content available to Internet users; in our case, these are images. The CDN has several possible functions: distributing the server’s resources (reduction of costs linked to bandwidth) and reducing the loading time of images for Internet users who are located far from a server. Finally, to finish, check that your Robots.txt file does not block the indexing of images, and we also advise you to create an Image Sitemap.
Remember that optimizing your images is a step that may seem tedious at first sight, but it is essential for your SEO. Once you have acquired the right reflexes, this will be an integral part of your SEO tasks. The most important thing is to rename your images appropriately, fill in the title and alt tags and reduce the weight of your files if you want to keep your site manageable. With experience, it will quickly become automatic!