Strategic Use of Images in Search Engine Optimization

  • April 17, 2014
  • SEO
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Strategic Use of Images in Search Engine Optimization. When assessing page structure and layout, there is a subtle, yet strategic way to use images in an SEO-friendly manner (beyond ALT tags) that improves your search rank while allowing you to integrate the necessary marketing message(s). Confused? Let’s look at an example:

Suppose you operate a travel site and you want to optimize a given page for the term “Las Vegas hotel”. Suppose that you also want to include an enticing marketing message such as “Book now and save 20%!”. The aforementioned tagline lacks descriptive text, but possesses persuasive characteristics. That being said, you may want to place the tagline in an image and the key phrase (i.e. Las Vegas hotel) in a header tag. This places emphasis on the desired term, yet still provides a marketing opportunity without compromising keyword consistency.

In other words, images are a great place to insert marketing messages that lack the necessary keywords and phrases. Leveraging this technique will ensure that descriptive text is indexed, while less marketing jargon is overlooked. The combination of keyword-rich content and enticing messaging will satisfy both sides of the strategic equation.

Strategic Use of Images in Search Engine Optimization

On the one hand, if you fill image HTML attributes properly you strengthen your page semantic and help Search Engines understand your content.

On the other hand, image optimization can improve your loading-time and your user experience: there is no good article without any good images.

In this guide I will make a wide sweep of what you need to know to make the most of your images for search engines, but also for your users. Google SEO starter guide is very clear on that!

All the tips and hacks I will mention in the guide are somehow aimed at improving SEO AND User experience.

Why is optimizing images for Search Engines so important ?

Image SEO matters

Facts don’t lie: the marketing and SEO power of images is insane. SO insane!

Before creating our plugin WordPress for Image SEO, I combed through each relevant SEO and Marketing studies about the impact of images on Search Engines and customer behaviors. Here is a summary of what I discovered:

Impact of Image optimization for Search Engines

  • Image search represents about 30 % of all queries generated across the top 10 US web search properties (Source Moz);
  • More than 1/3 of all search keywords now contain Google Images and one out of two, when images are in the 10 first results, they are actually ranking in the top 3 positions (source SeoClarity);
  • Every day more than one 1 billion of queries are made in Google Images (Source Google);
  • There are more than 600 million searches on Pinterest every single month (source Pinterest);
  • Images are returned by Google for 34% of search results (source Econsultancy);
  • Tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets (source crazy eggs);

Increase your conversion with optimized images

  • Content with optimized images increases user engagement by 90% (source Buffer);
  • Tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets (source crazy eggs);
  • On average, people forget about 90% of information 72 hours after being expo to it. Adding a nice picture can improve recall up to 65% (source MGAdvertising);
  • About 70% of customers say that the quality of images on product sheet is a determining point in selecting and purchasing the product;
  • When using images, Pinterest ads have an amazing 8.5% conversion rate (source Heap Analytics);
  • etc, etc, etc.

This means that optimizing your images will increase both your organic traffic (SEO optimization) and sales (UX Optimization).

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