How to Optimize Images for SERP

Posted on February 17, 2013


Wondering how to optimize image for search engines to drive traffic? Most of you and us use images in our blog and website. Did you know that search engines like Google and Bing have image results wherein they reflect images for the keyword typed in search box? They have a separete image search algorithm. One way to have more visitors for your blog or website is image optimization. There are many ways in which you may optimize image for your website or blog. This post is a brief overview of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for images in SERP (Search Engine Ranking Performance).

image optimization seo

How to Optimize Images for Search Engines: SEO

There are two kind of website and hence 2 ways to optimize images for web. There is Dynamic website and there is static websites. But there are a few things which – if taken care of – may optimize your image for both dynamic and static website.

Elements of Image optimization in SEO and SERP

Give your images detailed, informative filenames

Suppose you are writing a blog or creating a webpage for Qutub Minar and you have an image of Alai Minar. Now lets go to optimization.

First thing first for SEO

1. Name your image image for what it is. Don’t name it 001.jpg name it alai-minar.jpg

Don’t use space as it reflects %2B for Google use dash or underscore for space name your images to opimize it for search engines.

2. Think of Google or Bing index as a library where everything is stacked as per alphabets and categories (if you have any confusion visit Demoz and see how Google index pages) Name your images as you want them to be found.

3. There are three features which gives you control over how you want your images to be found in search results. There is title, caption, alt and then there is text which precede and procede the image.

4. Use ALT to describe your image for what it actually is make it descriptive to include more keywords. Use description to include your long term keywords and title of page (or blog). Use Title to exactly define your image and category.

  • Title: Alai Minar, Qutub Minar Complex, Protected Monuments in delhi
  • ALT: Alai Minar, Delhi
  • Caption: A View of Alai Minar in Delhi which was supposed to be twice in size of Qutub Minar. It was commisioned by Alaudin Khilji.
  • Description: Alai Minar was project of Alaudin Khilji which was supposed to be twice in size of Qutub Minar. This unfinished tower is one of the UNESCO World Heritage SItes in Delhi. The construction stopped as soon as the then Sultan of Delhi died.

Consider you are looking for a a book Siddhartha by Hermen Hesse. How would Google index it? It will start by category books, autors, book title and then description. So if you have a blog writing review of Siddhartha you will write Title as Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, Categoriy as Book or literature, and additionally a book by Nobel laurete winner Herman Hesse. This will make your image of that book come on top. Since while looking at index the Googlebot that is librarian will go as per alphabetic stack in which index of webpages are saved. ALT tag provides Google with useful information about the subject matter of the image. Search Engines bots use this information to determine the best picture or image to return for a query typed into search box.

Another thing is weight i.e. image size. Just like humans who would prefer lesser burden when they provide you with what you ask for;

search engine bots also look for less weigted images that would be easy to carry to return in search result. Hence always ensure to make your image as much lighter (in terms of Kbs and Mbs) as possible.

Why width and height specification is a must for all images
This is of utmost impotance. A web browser can begin to render a page even before images are downloaded, provided that it knows the dimensions to wrap non-replaceable elements around. Specifying these dimensions can speed up page loading and improve the user experience. Think of yourself in a movie hall. You have a ticket and you go there and you find someone sitting there. They will have to move and it will take time before you sit there. What it means is more page load time which is a bad user experience for most of the bots. Suppose Everyone knows where they have to take seat and then no where gets moving here and there and hence no one gets disturbed. Perfect experience. And even in SERP thats a rewarding experience. This is one of the most important way in which a web designer may optimize images for SEO. Another thing is how one resizes images for gallery. For photogallery with many colors even quality “ZERO” in photoshop reflects almost same quality images while considerably reducing the image size. Use png only for logos or icons or else the size will increase considerably.

Use Yahoo Smush to futher reduce your image size for SEO.


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