Optimising images is often overlooked by website owners however it can often be the difference between ranking on page one or two of the search results.
In this video I'm going to take you step by step through an effective and easy method of Image SEO that you can implement yourself for great results.
G’day and welcome to episode 7 of Rapid SEO Expert live. I'm your host, Shane Walker. And in today's episode, we're going to go through the correct way to optimise images for the search engines.
So, first up, why would we want to optimise our images for the search engines? Well, like everything, we want to optimise for-- so we can be found when you get more people to come and see our message but when we do our optimization, we always optimise first for the reader and secondly, for the search engines, not the other way around.
So, one of the main reasons we want to optimise images and use the correct images in a post is it makes it more engaging to the reader.
If you just got a 2000 word article, no images, nothing else, generally when people go to look at it their eyes will skim over it and they will go, it's just too bland, I can't be bothered with this, and they'll click away.
So we want good engaging images that make the reader want to read our articles. Secondly, when your images are optimised correctly, it gives a really really huge boost to your SEO.
It's part of what we call or what is known as your On-Page Optimisation. And also, the correct use of optimising images can help your readers understand your article better.
So in summary, the main reason that you want to do it is that without proper optimisation you’re actually wasting valuable SEO resource from both a rankings and a conversion point from your customer.
How Do We Optimise Our Images?
Well, before you even look at optimising an image, the first thing you want to do is make sure that the images actually relevant that it is, if you haven't, if you have an image that is not relevant, you can confuse the reader.
For instance, if you're a plumbing site and if you had a picture of a monkey on there, the readers going to be looking through it and going im interested in this plumbing, you know, gonna find out more about plumbing.
What is this got to do with it? I'm confused now. And they're going to click away.
Unless of course your article is about monkeys in the plumbing business that you know, rip people off and aren’t qualified, that will be a different story.
Make Sure The Image Is Relevant
But generally speaking, you've got to make sure that the image is relevant to what you're trying to portray on your page. So there's a number ways, generally speaking if you can, you should use your own original images but that is not within the realms of 90% of people. So we tend to go through what are known as stock images.
There's plenty of sites out there like Shutter Stock where you can download royalty free images and use them on your website. Problem with those is that they all look the same. Now especially if you're a corporate business and you're trying to give a corporate feel of professionalism and you have the same image of the smiling businesswoman or the businessman.
And it's on dozens and dozens of websites out there well then you lose a little bit of credibility. So if you're going to use stock images and there's nothing wrong with using stock images, I suggest you don't take them over to an image modifying program such as Canva or Youzign. Now that's the one were use and what you can do from there is you can add elements to the image.
You can put some text on it. You can change the look, you can put filters over it. So you can make a bland image that everybody has got look totally different for your website and that way you can get out of the, you get out of having the same look as everybody else.
So I highly recommend that if you're going to use stock images, you got an imaging editing tool such as Youzign and modify them so they are reasonably original for your website. So once we have our image chosen and it's relevant and we've modified it in our editing software, it's time to apply it.
So the first thing we want to do before we do anything if we want to change the name of the file to either the keyword that you wanting to rank for or to a synonym. Now for instance if you are wanting to rank for the term "SEO Expert", the file name could be SEO Expert or might be search engine optimisation specialist, that's a synonym, or search engine optimisation expert or something similar to that.
But you've got a filename telling Google that this is what the image is about because again, when we do this, we've got to make sure that we're consistent right across the board.
Optimise Your Image Filename
If you watch episode 6 about videos, images are very much in the same boat as our videos in that Google needs text to be able to understand what they're about. So the problem with most images, people upload them and they've uploaded them off their camera or their hard drive.
They've usually got a title of something like an image_384162.png, well, that's not telling Google what your image is about and they've got absolutely no idea of what this image is about and it's not going to be able to help your SEO.
So when you do your file name, once you've worked up the file name……... you want to do your keyword rich file name or your synonym rich file name, you've got to make sure that it has no underscores in the…...that it has hyphens but no underscores in the file name.
But what do I mean by those? I open up, I open up my white board and we'll see here we just put some text in and so, what most people do is they have…. And they'll optimise it and have something like “Your Image Name”
Well, Google doesn't like that. They've said many times. That is hard for their bot to understand because when their bot…..when it transfers into HTML which is the background of a website code, it actually comes up as something like “Your%Image%Name”. So that confuses the search engine bot.
Now, another naming convention that google is very strict on saying that they don't like is this underscores. And that is generally how most computers or most, sorry most software will name the image file. So when you do your image file, what you have to do is hyphen. Look.
We need “Your_Image_Name.jpg”, or whatever your extension is. So that is how you should name your image file name before you upload it to the, to your server. So that's, that's the file name.
Remove Previous Image MetaData
Okay. Now when you go to do…..sorry the next thing we're doing after that, is we strip any metadata out of it and we put it our own in. Now metadata is basically coding. It is in the back of the image and especially if you're going to use stock images. A lot of times there will be coding in there saying, if you're using maybe……..I don't know if this is the case with Shutterstock.
This is just as an example but it will have the Shutterstock URL in it and a title corporate man looking really looking really happy or something like that.
Well, if you haven't ripped out metadata out and you use it on your website, Google's going to know that it's exactly the same image as on everybody else's website because all of the metadata says corporate man looking happy from Shutterstock.
So we want to rip the….we want to rip the metadata out of it. So the site we use to rip metadata out is…….it's hard to say that's why I'm putting it up here but it's the theexcifer.net. Now, this is a really really good tool we use for all our images.
Then the first thing we want to do when you put it in there is you strip any metadata out that's already in there. Now that only step one. So that gets rid everybody else's junk that they’ve got in the image.
Add Your Own Metadata To The Image
The second thing we do once we've stripped the metadata out is we add our own metadata. So, the first thing I will do is I will change….. I would change the name of it to exactly the same as the filename without the hyphens. So if I was doing an image for SEO Expert, my image file name would be SEO-Expert.jpg for example and then, in the metadata, I will have the title as “SEO Expert” without the hyphens.
I would also put keywords in it. You can put keywords in the metadata. I would put “SEO Expert” in as the keyword.
A description, I would put in a description in the metadata of what the images are about. This is the SEO Expert in Brisbane, Australia who does search engine optimisation for companies.
And I would write that data in there. Now, once you've done that, that's pretty much what you do for a normal image on your website. But if you want to rank for local terms and this is a big one we do, no just with our own but with our clients as well.
Add Local SEO Information To The Image
If we want to rank for local things is in the metadata, you can sit a lat long for the business so that is like the GPS coordinates. You can also put in that the photo is from, and for instance, we put the address.
For example it's from Australia, from Brisbane, from Queensland. Then put in the Rapid SEO Expert's address 69 Ann street in Brisbane. And we put that…... we put that all in the metadata of the photo. So, when that photo is on the website, Google's going come along.
Firstly, they're gonna get a lot more of an understanding of what the image is about because all the data is in there saying the image is about an SEO Expert in Brisbane.
And if I'm trying to rank for a local terms, for local SEO such as SEO Expert in Brisbane, well Google's going relate to my website being from Brisbane and about a Brisbane a lot more simply because all the data and the images, as well as the text, is indicating to them that the website is from Brisbane.
So that is a really good thing for local SEO. It’s not necessary, unless you're trying to rank for local terms, well with the lot long and the location but the rest of it definitely strip out your metadata and then, place in your own metadata with your keywords. Etc. Alright so now, it's time to upload the image to your website.
So, again, we've got our file name and we've made sure that it is that it's all good to go. So when you, when you upload it, now especially with wordpress and other websites, it was will be the same.
You upload it and it will ask you the name of the image. So we need to be congruent and that's the key to all of SEO for images, for your image optimisation.
When we upload it, we call the image name exactly the same as the file name without hyphens. So if it is my image again for my example would be SEO Expert. So then it will have an alt text. It will ask you an out text.
Now, what an alt text is, is if there was something in other person's browser, in the viewer's browser that blocks the loading of the image, for some reason image couldn't come up the alt text will be written there so they still understand what that image would be.
So, we want our all alt again to be exactly the same as the file name, exactly the same as the everything else that we've called it. So we would put SEO Expert again in our alt image so that if that image isn't loading that's what shows up. So then you have a description.
In wordpress, it says the description of the image, other websites…... Some websites do and some don't. When you've got a chance to do the description, fill in as much as you possibly can again because as I said, Google doesn't know what the image is about.
It needs to scan text. So it will go through, if you write a bit about the what the images are about and what help refers to an SEO Expert in Brisbane or whatever your particular business is.
Google gets a better understanding of what that image is and can relate it to being relevant to the keyword and your website. So that's really really important bit.
Compress The Image
Now, once it's uploaded, we need to make sure that we use some sort of an image optimisation to make it so that it uploads faster text any any unnecessary……. not metadata but any unnecessary…...it basically what it does is it makes images smaller but you don't lose quality.
So, therefore, your site loads faster, the image doesn't take as much out space on your server and that basically makes Google a lot happier as well because the bigger images, the longer they will take to load on your website.
Therefore, the slower your website loads, therefore, Google doesn't like you as much because they like really fast loading websites because they give a better user experience to the viewer.
So there's a number of things that can do this. There's a WordPress plugin that we use and it is called WP Smush Images but there's plenty of them out there and there's others if you're using Joomla or anything like that.
There are others that do it as well. Now, the important thing to be careful of when you're having your file sizes optimised for your images is, just goes through the settings in there because when some them may have the setting to strip all the metadata out.
And if you optimised correctly but putting in all your own metadata and your lat long and all your local information, some of these image optimisation tools will strip that out and you'll lose all the SEO benefits that you've just done with theexifer to help you rank in the search engines. So it's very very important just to keep an eye out for that.
And make sure that it hasn’t been striped out because we've been caught with that one in the past ourselves.
So that is pretty much it for optimising images to rank in the search engines.
The big thing with it is, as with all the optimisation as I've said is that when we optimise, we optimise for the user experience first, the search engine second. There's always a balancing act that you will find because perfect optimisation for the search engines would tend to be gobbledygook for a person.
So we got to find a good balance but doing it this way is a really really good balance where the user would get a good experience, the search engines will get to understand what your site is about more.
And the more the search engines understand and know about your site, the more chance they've got of ranking you in the search engines.
So that's all I've got for today. If you found this to be of use, please share it with your friends.
And your action points for today, I'd like you to go away. Review the images on your website, re optimise when necessary and then come back and comment and let me know how it went for you. So until next week, that is all I have and I'm Shane Walker and we will talk soon.