A majority of the search carried out in Google is for images and about 12.5% of SERPs reflect image packed results. This fact implies that Image SEO is an aspect that cannot be ignored. The blog focuses on techniques that can enable you to rank high on Google Image Search.
Before we look into the various ways in which image search can be optimised, let us gather a basic understanding about what exactly image search is all about and why it is essential.
Reasons Why Image Search is Important:
You might wonder if it is at all necessary to perform an Image Search SEO. Earlier, when a user clicked on an image in the Google Image Search, the user would be directed to the website or webpage that had the image. However, now Google offers an expanded version of the image with the details of the website. This detail is enough for users and most of them actually do not visit the website. On the other hand, Google is just reflecting your image and you do not get any concrete data about the number of impressions or clicks. So, here are the reasons why image optimization is still relevant.
Image Search SEO primarily serves the following purpose
Products sold visually:
Research indicates that in most instances, image search is carried out by people to acquire more knowledge about products and services before they decide to choose a particular product or service. People might look up for images and decide to choose the service of a particular provider based on the images.
Designed to earn links:
Image Search SEO can immensely be helpful in situations where you are engaged in producing a graph, data or taking pictures and expecting people to use them and connect to you. An Image Search SEO can serve a lot of benefits in this case and can enable you to gain visibility before your target audience. When your image or graph is used by them in presentations or publications, you get the links.
Visual content licensees:
There are people who earn by selling images and image search SEO can be immensely advantageous in such cases. If you are an illustrator or photographer, you will definitely benefit from Google Image Search.
Research clearly indicates that a third of the searches conducted on Google are done on Google Image Search. This is a sizeable figure and reveals that image search forms an integral component.
Is it Necessary to use Original Images?
In Google Image Search, it is possible to buy images from other sources and use them on your website. You can still rank high on search results. Unlike web results, duplicates in image search are not considered to be a problem. Google Image Search usually takes a particular version of an image and ranks it. However, this image might not necessarily be the original one. It might just be a page that is able to perform well in Image Search. This implies that Google Image Search offers immense opportunities to drive extra traffic to a page. You just need to ensure that you have the necessary permissions required.
Ways to Figure Out if Image SEO is Right for You:
The best way to determine whether image SEO will benefit you or not is to ascertain the demand for images for your keywords. Let us take an example. When a particular search is performed on Google, you will notice ads right on the top. There is also an image block below this section. The image block is displayed by Google only in situations when there is a demand, searchers actually click on them and there are quite a number of images available for that particular search. This implies that a certain search can itself be an indicator to reflect whether there is demand for images.
Ranking Elements for Google Images:
If you have decided to go for image SEO, you need to consider the ranking factors. Even though the ranking factors are broad, they are not really complicated and are comparatively much more basic than the web results. The reason for this is the fact that as far as web content is concerned, Google emphasizes on relevancy and is concerned about serving the needs of the users. Link popularity is not as important in this context. Google, in this case, is not worried about spamming and manipulation and uses an old-school method algorithm.
Let us look at the elements that Google might use while ranking an image:
- File name of the image
- Alt attribute on the image is important and may enable an image to rank.
- Caption of the image: In case of images, the caption is more important than the alt attribute. A relevant caption below the image can immensely help in Image Search ranking.
- The content surrounding the text is important too. Google fetches images based on the content that is present around the image.
- The title of the page
- The URL of the page on which the image is hosted. This is a major reason why galleries of images actually tend to underperform on Image Search. There is very little relevant content around them. There are tons of images while Google is actually only looking out for relevant images about particular topics. This is one reason why certain images tend to perform extremely well on Google, not necessarily by themselves, but the fact that they are the primary image in the particular page.
- Popularity and image engagement is another vital factor that cannot be ignored. This technique has been tested and indicates that if you perform a search on Google and click a particular image that is further down and a lot of other people also do that, then the image will be moved up by Google. This clearly reflects that similar to web results, even in the case of images, the popularity, what people search for and what they click matters to a great extent. This makes it necessary to have interesting, superior quality and highly relevant images in search results.
- The dimension of the images also matters. You must have noticed that Google usually does not show images of unusual dimension. This means that an image that is more of horizontal than vertical, will probably not perform well. The standard dimension that is preferred by Google includes 16 by 9, 4 by 3, square images that can even be used vertically. A size more than this might create a bit of a problem.
- Google does not prefer images that are too small. At the same time, they do not show gigantic images. They may resize some of the larger images in certain cases though. If you search for an image plus ‘wallpaper’, Google will know that the search is intended for images of larger size and will accordingly yield results.
- If a particular visual is used on many different websites and pages and has been embedded multiple number of times, it will have a positive impact on search results.
- If a specific page ranks well for a search, the probability that images on the page will also perform well is higher. However, the reverse might not be true always. If you get ranking on web results, you can rank well with images too. This is a great opportunity as it will enable you to drive traffic from both sources.
Google also employs image relevance and visual match to rank images.
Steps to consider with Google Image Search:
Before you plan and implement your Google Image Search, you should consider the following factors.
- Establish your SEO goals and compare it with your keyword research list.
- Prepare an audit of the keyword list for image visibility. An effective tool that can be employed for this purpose is the Keyword Explorer. There are other tools too that can be used like MozPro. You just need to perform a search with your keywords and figure out the results that display image blocks. This will enable you to determine the opportunity that you have.
- Create content guidelines for publishers on your site. The guidelines will help anyone who is creating content on your website. It is extremely important to ensure that the caption that you add is relevant. You also need to focus on other aspects like size optimization, to ensure that the image loads well on mobile devices.
- Develop a definite target that you want to pursue. This aspect will include the set of keywords that you specifically want to target for your page. You can target keywords that have image blocks in them or the ones that you know are in high demand on image search.
- Perform an audit of the existing images. You need to focus on aspects like UX optimization like size, speed and compression.
Ranking well on Image Search requires optimization of both the image and page elements. With a planned strategy, you can easily get effective results.