As a small business owner, you probably know that SEO, or search engine optimization, is what helps people find you in online searches, thus driving traffic to your web site. But, did you know that people, more and more, use image searches to help them find products, accomplish a task, or learn something new? If your images aren’t optimized, your web site is not working to its full potential.
Last month, John Mueller, an analyst at Google, tweeted “images are (once again) gaining importance overall on the web, … [T]hink of them as a way of enabling users to find your content through Google Images/image search.”
Below are five ways your web site images can increase you ranking – whether through a regular search or image search. (Click image to view larger or download .pdf)
Pin this to remember these tips:
1. How you name your image files can make you easier to find.
Whether your web site is DIY or you work with a designer, make sure that your images are named with SEO in mind. File names should include a descriptive phrase – one that viewers might search for – with the words separated by hyphens. Additionally, utilizing the alt text capabilities give search engines and potential clients yet another opportunity to find your ecommerce products.
2. Images affect how long visitors stay on your site.
The longer people stay on your site, the better your ranking. Have at least one image on every page. Images, more than text, receive the most viewing time on a page, according to eye-tracking research. How long people stay on your page affects Google rankings. If visitors don’t immediately see something that catches their interest or gives them an idea of what kind of content is on the page, they move on. People stay on pages longer if there is a high-quality, relevant image that helps them understand the content.
3. Images make your content more shareable.
Another reason to have photos on every page is when your content is paired with a relevant image, it is more shareable. It’s easier for people to share on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and to some degree LinkedIn. And once it’s shared, people are more likely to look (and re-share). That will drive more people back to your site, increasing traffic, which increases search engine ranking.
4. Whether your images are original or stock have an impact on SE0.
And speaking of relevant images, pages with high quality, original photos are better for your SEO rankings than stock images. Studies have shown that people know stock when they see it, and they ignore it. Not only will visitors stay on your web pages longer, you will stand out in search results. Need more reasons to say “no” to stock photos? Here are seven.
5. The file size of your images matters.
Image files that are too big take too long to load – especially on mobile. Anything that loads slowly will negatively affect your Google ranking. Make sure your photographer or web designer formats your images specifically for the web.
With these five tips (well, seven if you look at the infographic above for two bonus tips) , I’ve only scratched the surface of image SEO, but by following through with even one of these suggestions, you are contributing to the optimization of your web site and increasing its potential to be seen by your target audience.