How to Optimize Images So Google Can Index Them in Search – Part 2

By February 12, 2013SEO

Yesterday I shared with you 5 SEO tips for optimizing images so Google can index them in search. SEO-Tips-Optimize-Images-for-Google-SearchToday we have five more SEO tips to help optimize images online.  Optimizing all of your online content whether it be text, images, videos, etc., is vital in order for your content/your site/your business to be found online.

5 more SEO tips to optimize images for Google:

6) How About Image File Size?

Google certainly has the horsepower to index just about any size image embedded on your website. That said, slow loading files will be a negative user experience and excessive load times will be penalized by Google. Google states indexation of your image Sitemap will take up to 5 days.

7) Enable Text with Images to be Machine Readable

To Google, size doesn’t matter but what does is whether or not text can be read. DO NOT embed valuable keyword rich text within images. Important components to a page such as headings and navigation elements won’t be deciphered by spiders.  They’ll miss out on important keyword rich information. Use regular text-based HTML for all important text-based information you want to communicate to visitors.

8) Use Descriptive Anchor Text When Linking to Images

When deploying internal links, make sure this anchor text is descriptive of your images and clearly indicate to visitors the destination of your links. This clarity makes for a better user experience. Even though it’s difficult to control anchor text for inbound links, control what you can for internal links.

In addition to descriptive anchor text, try to incorporate contextually relevant text content in close page-proximity to your image. An example could be a caption with a few targeted keywords.

9) How to Protect Your Images

To say information online is easily sharable is a laughable understatement. Images are probably the asset type most frequently shared creating multiple copies floating around cyberspace. Few have the appropriate attribution. Remember the controversy surrounding Pinterest and users’ liberal use of images and attribution (or lack of) as a recent example.

Google tries to use as many signals as it can find to identify the original source of the image, they encourage users to provide as much attribution information as possible when using sourced images.

To mitigate others from not crediting or misusing the original images embedded on your website, allow use under an attribution license requiring users to attribute the source and link back to your website. A Creative Commons license requires proper attribution. Additionally you can provide a snippet of code to make it easy for others to embed your image content on their site appropriately.

10) Consider User Experience

As far back as the origins to the quote, “a picture is worth a 1000 words,” images are powerful attractants. Not only do pictures add to the aesthetics of a website but they can convey immense amounts of information in a way text cannot.  As is evident by the huge popularity of visual websites like Pinterest, using images and visuals is a great way to boost site traffic. Google recommends the following best practices for creating a positive user experience through use of images:

  1. High-Grade Images: Clear pictures displayed in Google Image Search are more effective and attracting clicks and links.
  2. Important Images Deserve Their Own Page: This is particularly true for visual content that can standalone in conveying of information such as graphics, data visualizations, and infographics.
  3. Place Images Above the Fold: Images are extremely powerful page elements. Use them to attract and keep visitor attention. The sooner a visitor sees and can connect with an image the more likely they are to explore the rest of the page content.
  4. Create Galleries of Similar Images: For businesses that rely on high impact visual images consider grouping like content. Just it makes sense for a European tour operator to group pictures by country or region, a business to business website should create galleries of like products and services.
  5. Image Optimization to Improve Page Load Times: Specify image dimensions so that a browser can render text around image placeholders. Doing so speeds up page load times. For more about optimizing your images and graphics see:  Google’s Optimizing Web Graphics guide for more info.

Remember, Google wants to provide the best user experience possible and access the most relevant search results for users. The best practices as summarized here will increase your chances of having your image rank well in search results. 

Related Posts
How to Optimize Images So Google Can Index Them in Search – Part 1
SEO for YouTube Videos Cheat Sheet
SEO for WordPress Cheat Sheet 


Eric Layland

Author Eric Layland

More posts by Eric Layland