Image SEO is important not only to strengthen the on-page SEO for your important pages, but it plays an increasing important role in general SEO ever since Google began including images in its universal search results. This example shows how a search for a stainless steel lighter bring up 5 images right after the 4th search results. If I am a consumer looking for a general stainless steel lighter and I don’t really know exactly what I’m looking for, I might be more tempted to click on the image than the results above since it looks similar to what I want.
The first tip begins with the filename of the image. It’s important to make sure the name of the image file actually contains part, if not all, of the key phrase you are trying to target. If you are taking images with a digital camera, by default the camera usually saves the images as numbers. Before uploading these images to your website, make sure to rename the image files to include the keywords you would like it to rank for.
I’d also recommend using a more common image format such as .jpg or .png that will be able to be picked up by the image search engines like Google image.
The second tip I’d recommend is adding an alt tag to the image. Since Google and other search engines can’t actually see what the image is, it is important to tell them what the image is relevant for by inserting an alt tag describing the image. In this example, we would use “Stainless Steel Lighter” as the alt tag to describe the picture. It is also important not to overstuff the alt tag with keywords as it may be identified as spamming and hurt the images potential to display in search results.
The third tip is using anchor text if and when linking to the image. For example, if there is another page of the site that is going to link to the image, be sure to use text like “stainless steel lighter” that will help indicate what the image is, similarly to the alt tag.
This next tip may seem obvious, but it is important to make sure the image is relevant to the tags you’ve optimized for it so it won’t be penalized. Google Image search, along with other search engines, allow users to report an image if it is offensive or not relevant to the search query in order to ensure that the most relevant images are displaying.
The final tip is to make sure the content on the page is also relevant to the image. Although this tip isn’t as important as some of the other ones in helping with image SEO, it could play the deciding factor if two images were identically optimized and Google was trying to figure out which one to display first.