SEO for Images: How to use images for better SEO

SEO is a big and important topic for any business with an online presence. It can make the difference between having enough people come to your website to buy products and  struggling to make sales. There is a lot of misinformation out there and much of the good advice is centred on text and technical aspects. So, I asked Mark Williams-Cook to help us get a better picture of SEO for images. In this video interview we cover plenty of useful and actionable tips that can help our businesses get found. 

Mark starts off by giving us tips based on Google’s own advice that can help us spot agencies that we might want to avoid hiring. All too often, we receive emails making exaggerated claims about what they can achieve for us. Mark suggests ways to evaluate SEO agencies to make sure we don’t waste our money and only hire those that can really help us.

SEO confusion - who should you listen to? (Illustration)

During this interview we cover the following questions:

  • How do we know who we should listen to when it comes to SEO?
  • What role can images have in SEO?
  • When choosing images for a website, what matters most from an SEO perspective?
  • What mistakes should we be careful to avoid?
  • What could clients do when preparing images that would make your job easier and your work more cost effective?

SEO for Images

We then go on to look more specifically at SEO for images. This includes things like optimising image files by using the right amount and type of compression. But we also looked at how the images themselves might be the hook that brings someone to your site. For example, your images can turn up in a search in Google Images. You then can make it more attractive for potential buyers to click through to your site by making sure that your image is the most appealing in that category.

So, for example, if someone is searching for a vintage kettle that you sell, your image could appear in the image search results. If your image is an eye-catching professional one then they are more likely to click on that than a poor quality snapshot.

Mark also points out that this means having your own photography is much more useful than using stock images. If hundreds of sites use the same stock image then Google (or other search engines) are unlikely to list all of those. They will probably pick one and stick with that. So, unless you happen to be top of the list, you won’t even feature. Whereas, a unique image stands a much better chance. (For more on stock photos, check out my article on the dangers of using stock images.)

Here’s a quick summary of some of the other tips Mark gives for SEO for images in our video above:

  • Compress image files so that they load faster
  • Make sure that your images are of a good quality & resolution (not pixellated)
  • Use images to help clarify a point or illustrate a fact
  • Alt tags help provide a good experience for accessibility
  • Images should contribute positively to the user experience
  • Target images for search results that may be image based
  • High resolution images are more likely to appear on Google Discover

Mark is an SEO expert with Candour web & digital marketing agency based in Norwich, UK. 


© Joe Lenton, March 2021

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