The Google search engine is a powerful tool and one that the majority of people use on a regular basis. As a business owner, setting yourself up to get on the first page of Google is incredibly important, considering that 91% of people won’t go beyond this when sifting through search results, yikes!
That being said, there are more ways than one to land on the first page of search results. The images on your site and how searchable they are can make a huge difference on the number of eyes you get on your page.
Related: 6 Ways to Google’s First Page
First, what is SEO and why is it important? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Essentially, the more the backend of your website jives with the algorithms setup by search engines to sift through all the information available on the internet the more likely you are to be found by a given user. So, optimizing your website to be easily searchable by the big search engines will net you more page views. The words, titles, links, words used in links, and your reputation (number of pages with fresh content including quality links) will boost your SEO rankings.
It may seem like all you need is the right written content to be found online. While it’s true that the text on your page is very important, images play just as big of a role in getting you noticed.
Images help people viewing your website to understand and connect with your content. For example, say you’re starting a backyard renovation project and are looking into privacy bushes. You search “privacy bushes” online and come up with tons of search results. Terrific! But sadly, most of the pages you come across don’t have a photo of a single bush. How do you know if it has the density you’re looking for? Or flowers? Or what the writer is referring to when they say “taller than average shrub”? Having photos would help you in making the decision of what plants to consider buying.
What’s more, humans are visual beings. We gravitate toward content which stimulates us visually and readers would much rather see something than read about it. Visual marketing techniques help engage customers and draw them to your page. If you landed on a site that had nothing but blocks of text for days, chances are you’d move on fairly quickly.
Having plenty of images on your site also makes it more shareable via social media. When hyperlinking sites, creating social media friendly images that are great for sharing will encourage people to spread the word about a positive experience they had with your company, or inspire them to share your content. This in turn will help to build your social media presence as well.
Ranking high on a Google image search should be on the top of your radar when creating an SEO-friendly website. People routinely search for images only. Tutorials, how to’s and DIY projects are popular and without images explaining concepts can become difficult.
This is even more important if you have an e-commerce site. Online shoppers need to see high quality and plentiful images before deciding to make a purchase. Providing product images and even use cases makes it that much easier for a person to decide to click “add to cart”.
Other industries where images are important would be:
It all comes back to our previous point that people like visuals. If they can’t see what they’re getting themselves into they’re likely to look elsewhere.
Luckily, climbing your way to the top on Google Images doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re a new business or a mature one trying to get noticed, try putting some of these practices into place to see what a difference they make.
Google counts how quickly your page loads against you. As it pertains to the images you use, going with images made up of the least amount of coding will help your page be found first. Don’t go making them itty bitty just yet. You don’t want to give up aesthetic value just to be catapulted to the top of the page results. You can still include high quality images on your website with large dimensions, as long as the file size is not too large. Images that are a modest size will also help with mobile loading speeds therefore helping your SEO rankings.
Naming the image file is just as important as the keywords in your page’s content. If you have an image of a giraffe don’t name it jpeg483947389. Instead, call it giraffe-safari-africa. You’re basically telling Google what the content of the image is so they can feed that information to someone searching ‘how to spot giraffes’ on their African safari next month!
An alt attribute is text that will appear in place of an image that, for whatever reason, will not render. These are used as accessibility tags and should be treated with the same rule of thumb as the file name. The shorter and more accurately descriptive of the actual image the better. You’re normally allowed 125 characters but try not to be tempted to use all of these. Including keywords is a major plus.
Using captions to surround the image will boost its ranking. It also helps once the user gets to your site to add context around the photo making it more impactful for the viewer. It’s not totally necessary and if you find it interrupts the visual flow of your page, don’t worry about cramming it in there. If you’re able to make it work though, it will help with SEO.
Don’t underestimate the power of the image search. While optimizing your written content is of the upmost importance, it’s crucial to remember that searching by image only is very popular and you’d be remiss to leave visual elements off your site.