Strategic Use of Images in Google Search Engine

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When assessing page structure and layout, there is a subtle yet strategic way to use images in an SEO-friendly manner (beyond ALT tags) that improves your Google search rank while allowing you to integrate the necessary marketing message(s). Confused? Let’s look at an example:

Image SEO

Suppose you operate a travel site and optimize a given page for the term “Atlanta hotel.” Assume you also want to include an enticing marketing message such as “Book now and save 20%!”. The tagline, ‘Atlanta hotel’, lacks descriptive text but possesses persuasive characteristics. Likewise, you may want to place the tagline in the photo and the key phrase (i.e., Atlanta hotel) in a header tag. 

Emphasizes the desired term yet still provides a marketing opportunity without compromising keyword consistency. In other words, images are a great place to insert marketing messages that lack the necessary keywords and phrases. 

Google Looks for Clues About An Image

Google Looks for Clues About An Image

Google extracts information about the subject matter of the image from the content of the page. The extraction includes captions and image titles. Wherever possible, make sure images are placed near relevant text and on pages that are relevant to the image subject matter.

Leveraging this technique will ensure that descriptive text is indexed while less marketing jargon is overlooked. The combination of keyword-rich content and enticing messaging will satisfy both sides of the strategic equation.

Scale for SEO

Loading times are essential for SEO. The faster the site, the easier it is for users and search engines to visit (and index) a page. Photos can significantly impact loading times, especially when you upload a huge image to display it small. For example, a 2500×1500 pixels image displayed at 250×150 pixels size – as the entire image still has to be loaded. 

WordPress helps you do this by automatically providing the photo in multiple sizes after uploading it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the file size is optimized; that’s just the image display size. So think about the dimension in which you upload your images!

Use Responsive Images

Responsive Images

This one is crucial for Google Image Search as well, and if you’re using WordPress, it’s done for you since it was added by default from version should have the source set attribute, which makes it possible to serve a different photo per screen width — this is especially useful for mobile devices.

Reduce File Size

The next step in image SEO should be to ensure that your scaled photo is compressed, so it’s served in the smallest file size possible. Of course, you could export the photo and experiment with quality percentages. However, use the highest possible quality images, especially given the popularity of retina and similar screens these days.

Create a great user experience

According to Google, to boost your content’s visibility in Google Images, focus on the user by providing a great user experience: make pages primarily for users, not search engines. Here are some tips:

  • Provide good context: Make sure that your visual content is relevant to the topic of the page. We suggest that you display images only where they add original value to the page. Google particularly discourage pages where neither the pictures nor the text is original content.
  • Optimize placement: Whenever possible, place images near relevant text. When it makes sense, consider placing the most important image near the top of the page.
  • Don’t embed important text inside photos: Avoid embedding text in photos, essential text elements like page headings, and menu items. Not all users can access them (and page translation tools won’t work on photos). To ensure maximum accessibility of your content, keep text in HTML, provide alt text for photos.
  • Create informative and high-quality sites: Good content on your webpage is just as important as visual content for Google Images – it provides context and makes the result more actionable. Page content may generate a text snippet for the photos, and Google considers the page content quality when ranking images.
  • Create a good URL structure for your images: Google uses the URL path and the file name to help it understand your photos. Consider organizing your image content so that URLs are constructed logically.

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