How to maximise the SEO value of images on your website

The words people use when searching on the internet are becoming more specific. And they are using a number of different devices to do so.

At the same time search engines have also become more sophisticated and keywords need to reflect this. For instance, when once someone may have keyed in ‘Ladies shoes’ they will now type ‘Sensible low price ladies walking shoes’ to get a better result. 

To give your brand the best chance of success with SEO in relation to images you need to optimise the illustrations and photos you use.

Image sizes

The standard resolution for web images is usually considered to be 72 dots per inch (dpi), but some screens now have a much higher resolution. However, the more dots per inch in your image, the larger the file will be. So 72 dpi is fine for small file sizes and 300 dpi is not really necessary for image quality on computer screens and will make your web page load more slowly. The other measurement to keep in mind is pixels per inch (ppi). This dictates the actual size of the image on screen, and has nothing to do with image quality. 

Naming images

Don’t ignore your images when you’re considering which words will best attract search engines. They are just as relevant as the text. Headlines and titles are important but how images are labelled can also play a part. Google and other search engines are sophisticated enough to sometimes find a page regardless of the name of an image but you don’t want to rely on this.

Try naming images with keywords and phrases, but not too many, each separated by a hyphen, not an underscore.

And keep in mind that if you use a general image to illustrate your text, you need to call it something which reflects your message. For instance if you are a wedding consultancy and you illustrate this with a couple of champagne glasses, don’t call the image ‘champagne’. Instead use the word ‘wedding’ or an aspect of the service you offer.

Avoid short forms

Labelling your illustration with strings of numbers and letters will not register with a search engine, and make the best of your keywords. For instance put ‘wedding’ not ‘wdng’ for short. And if you must include numbers such as the size of the image, or coding, put them at the end, leaving out hyphens and unnecessary punctuation.

Be consistent when repeating an image

You may want to use the same image several times throughout your website and may also work with more than one designer. Make sure they use the same label for the image to avoid confusion or mistakes.

Alt attributes

Make the best of the ‘alt’ facility which is used by visually impaired searchers with screen readers or will be seen when images aren’t loading for various reasons. In either case search engines will find the alt text. It’s better not to just repeat the same words from the image name. Use up to 15 to come up with an alternative description to give maximum spread of your message. 

Image titles

Image titles can be seen when the user hovers over an image on a website page. They won’t necessarily be spotted by search engines but you could include wording to help promote your product.

Add captions

And why not add captions to your illustrations, as in printed matter. This is visible and can help with SEO. Use some different words to the keywords for the image title or alt text to give you every advantage..

Anchor text

The anchor text or link title is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink which leads to an image. Avoid writing simply “view photo here” but choose wording which will promote what the photo is illustrating such as “see our luxurious wedding venue here”.