The world wide web is becoming more visual. People prefer search results that are accompanied by images. And whatever searchers prefer, Google most likely includes in the algorithm they use for ranking web pages.
By now, we all know alt tags are essential. Labeling your photos using keywords you want to rank for will help Google understand your content and feed them to users. Being wary of the size of your images is also another widespread best practice. Nobody wants a site that loads very slow because of unnecessarily big and heavy images.
Since you are most probably very familiar with those image SEO tips, here are new ways you can leverage tools to understand better how to optimize images for ranking:
1. Google removed the “view image” option last 2018
Before this update, searchers can view images in a new tab without being redirected to the site that hosted the images. Of course, this resulted in a decrease in web traffic. Once Google removed the “view image” option, the organic traffic of websites that host images increased by up to 37%. This was excellent news to you if your site has been creating original content. Other people may still “pirate” or steal your images by clicking “save image as.” However, these same people would have to go to your website first (give your site some traffic) instead of just downloading the image directly from Google.
2. Use unique, original, high-quality images
In relation to item number one, this tip reiterates the importance of original and high-quality images. You may choose to use stock photos. But no matter how much you optimize them, they will not give you the rank you desire. Why? This is because you are not the only website using these photos. Several sites are using the same image at the same time.
Your subscription can give you thousands of images that are mostly site-friendly. However, they will never be as effective as original, branded, and creative photos. Some examples of quality images you can put up in your site are useful graphs from your in house studies and product images. These are the types of images that people will most likely share on social media and be used for reverse image searches.
More importantly, unique images make your page original, relevant, and valuable to your audience. Experts at Google give consistent answers when asked for advice for strong SEO: Create websites that offer helpful content and seamless experience to users.
3. Know more about image labels
Image labels are different form alt texts you have been using for your images. Using Google’s Vision AI, state of the art image recognition model, Google can now identify and label every single item found in a photo. Picture this: you upload an image of a person inside a coffee shop. Through Google’s Vision AI, Google can now tell that there is a man, table, coffee mug, bag, laptop, and pastry in your photo. An image usually has at least four items in it. Using this tool, you can now study the labels of ranking images in your niche. The insights you will get will help you be more specific in choosing images to put in your site moving forward.
4. Monitor your image search traffic
If you accompany your published content with excellent graphics and imagery, wouldn’t you want to know if people found their way to your content through the images? Finding out this information is possible through Google Search Console. Don’t be intimidated by yet another tool you have to start using. It’s not as difficult as you think. There are a lot of how-to resources online; you can check out to help you get started.
Before you get started, select which level you are currently in among these choices. This help section provides you with recommendations on how to best make use of the Google Search Console, depending on your role. After this, proceed to log-in.
You will see a Performance graph once logged in. Click the “Options Report” button at the top right corner to view the full report. Now, you will be seeing figures representing the impressions and clicks data of your web search. Since we want to see are image data, Click the “Search type” button at the upper left corner. Choose “Image” in the pop-up box that will appear and select “Apply.” Now, you are looking at the graph of impressions and clicks of your images.
You will get more interesting data and SEO insight once you further scroll down and to find a table. You will see the Queries (or keywords) report, which tells you what users are typing into Google when they see your images as search results.
Even more useful are data found inside the “Pages” table. Here, you will see which pages in your site are getting image impressions and clicks. How do you make use of the data here?
- Identify pages that are getting the most clicks. These pages are doing well compared to the others, but how else can you optimize images in these pages to further increase click-throughs?
- Are there images with high impressions but are not getting clicks? Since a lot of people are already seeing them, how do you think you can drive these people to click?
- If you think you have perfect images that should be helping drive traffic to your site, work on them more. Optimize further until they give you the results you want.
5. Make social sharing seamless
If you want your images to be shared on social media and drive traffic back to your site, you should know about Open Graph tags and Twitter Cards. These are tags found within your website’s HTML that make sure your images and descriptive snippets are correctly displayed when someone shares them on Facebook or Twitter.
If you are not sure whether you have these elements or not, you may search your source code to check. Another option is to try posting your page on Facebook and Twitter to see if the posts are displayed correctly. It will make a big difference to show your audience on social media a clickable image card with brief information about your page instead of just posting a one-off link.