Incorporating images onto a webpage can be a great way to improve user experience. Often, they can enrich the textual content of a website significantly by segmenting a seeming text-heavy webpage into attractive sections of informative writing. Not only can images contribute to a positive user experience, but they also have the potential to drive relevant traffic to a website. For example, if a person would like to take a holiday to a certain place, they might do a Google search for famous landmarks within that area. In modern SERPs, other verticals (images, videos, news, etc.) are incorporated onto the first page of results directly. So, if a person runs a travel agency website, for example, if an image from their site is properly optimised it could have a chance of appearing on the first page of results and possibly generating a conversion. Obviously then, image optimisation does have a place in SEO strategies, so here are a few tips to help you make the most of your images.
The search engines are not able to read images directly, hence why it is so important that search engine optimisation professionals make the most of the other signals that the search engines use to interpret what an image is. The first of these signals is the filename. The search engines will often use the file name to determine the content of an image, so obscure and irrelevant file names are not advised. It is also an opportunity to include keyword-rich text on your webpage, as long as the image is relevant to the keyword.
An example that might be used to illustrate how filenames can be used is if a website sells certain products. To ensure the most thorough image optimisation is achieved, each product should be saved under the unique filename of that product, as supposed to an umbrella category that could be used to describe the product generally.
The ‘Alt attribute’ allows a description of the content within the image in the HTML coding that constructs a webpage. This textual description is arguably where the search engines derive the most information about the content of an image. Again, it provides another opportunity to use keyword-rich text on the webpage.
These two examples of techniques that can be used for image optimisation show how keywords and general semantic themes of a website can be further reinforced. These techniques are both particularly effective for ranking highly in image search, which as mentioned above, can possibly generate a higher conversion rate if optimised effectively, and relevantly.
Other techniques that can be used to optimise images include captions and boldface text. However, generally, these are considered to be not as important as the previous two strategies, although again, they do provide an opportunity to reinforce the semantic and keyword structure of a website.
While images can contribute to a positive user experience and to driving in relevant traffic, it is worth remembering images, and image links are not as important a signal as text-based links for the search engines. Image optimisation should always be considered for SEO, but as a brief caveat, it is not advisable to sacrifice other aspects of SEO techniques.