Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important term that you’ve probably heard a lot of by now as a business owner. One of the best ways to increase your customer base and make your business noticeable is by getting your website seen at the top of Google searches. The value in this is enormous.
Why Are Images Important for SEO?
There are many search engine ranking factors that go into boosting your SEO such as page speed, mobile friendliness, and domain age just to name a few.
Basically, the more user-friendly your site is, the more likely it will appear at the the top of Google searches. An impressive site with a high search ranking isn't something that you can build with just a few tricks. It's important to put the work in and focus on the details. Even small tweaks can help push you past your competitors and place you in front of future clients or customers.
One very simple and overlooked method lies within the images on your site. Have you ever gone to visit a site based on the Google image you found? Well, so do about 63% of all users who click on images on Google, according to a study published by Search Engine Journal.
Images are important for SEO because they provide additional organic exposure on the search engine results page, improve click-through rates, and increase engagement.
Common Problems With Images and SEO
Images are a small change that can make a big difference in building rankings and search traffic for your website.
But, if that's the case, why are creating and updating images so often neglected in SEO strategies?
Stock Photos Are Everywhere
There are hundreds of stock photo websites like Shutterstock and Dreamstime.
But here's the harsh truth — stock photos suck. And they're not cheap!
We've all visited a website with clearly generic stock images. It gives both the site and company a cookie cutter feel. It’s very impersonal. It does nothing to make you stand out from competitors.
Your site is your company's first impression. Steer clear of the cheesy and basic images that don’t adequately represent your company.
Creating Custom Graphics Is Time Consuming
So you can’t use stock photos? Why not make your own graphics?
Well it’s a lot more difficult and time consuming than you would think. Sites like Visme and Mural, can help you achieve this, but if you're not a graphic designer, the outcome is less than desirable. Images do not look as polished and professional as you first set out for, and it’s back to square one.
Hiring A Freelance Graphic Designer Is Expensive
There are plenty of places to hire freelancers. Most of them will charge an hourly rate from somewhere between $30-75/hour depending on skill and experience. But they are trading hours for dollars. And to produce quality designs they need time too.
Say you want a custom illustration and hero image for the top of you blog post. It may take even the most experience graphic designer a few hours to produce a final product. And that's if they nail it on the first try. Before you know it, you're already in the hole a couple hundred dollars for one image. Yikes.
Pulling Images Off Of Google Is Risky Business
It's tempting to go to Google Images and just grab something that “works.”
Don't do that.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) can issue a takedown notice if the owner of the image flags that you used it without permission.
Worse than this, you can be fined a lot of money, especially from popular image sites like Getty, Shutterstock, DepositFiles, etc. if you don’t have a license.
Using Unlimited Graphic Design Services for SEO
Unlimited graphic design services can help eliminate the headache of trying to find (or design) quality images for your site.
These platforms allow you to outsource your graphic design needs on a month to month basis for a flat fee. If you plan your projects out in advance you can really get some bang for your buck, plus you know that these designs are completely unique to you and your business and you have full rights of those images.
When you work with an unlimited graphic design company, you can get a number of different images for your site including:
- Hero images
- Slider images
- Blog post graphics
- Product mockups
- Vectorized illustrations
Combining these unique images onto your web pages and blog posts and properly marking them up for SEO can be an absolute game-changer. Not to mention you can still maximize your subscription for other graphic design project like creating ads and promotional items!
My 5 Step Process for Ranking Images on Google:
When adding images to your site make sure you follow these guidelines to increase your search rankings.
- Identify a good page or blog post – The first step is to find a page or article on your website that is looking a little empty. Pages and posts that also have placeholders or stock photos are also good for consideration.
- Create a new project with your unlimited graphic designer – In this example, I'm going to be using Penji. All of the best unlimited graphic designers have some type of online portal where you can create a project request. Login to your account and share some details about what you're looking for. As a rule of thumb, I like to have at least a hero image and a supporting graphic for each of my major H2 sections.
- Download final images and rename the files – When you get your final files delivered, download them and unzip them on your desktop. They are not ready to be just uploaded directly to your site. Almost every single designer is going to use some weird naming convention that is not geared for search when they package up your designs. Unfortunately, Design37forMarySmith.jpg is not going to rain in love from the search engine Gods. I review each image and determine where it's going on the page first. Then, I'll rename file to include a focus keyword. For example, I changed the filename to this section ranking-images-on-google.jpg.
- Upload images to website and compress for page load times – Depending on how your website is built, you'll want to upload your photos to a folder and add them to the page. Most websites have some type of content management system like WordPress, which allow you to easily upload images. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and powers over 75 million websites. If you're using WordPress (good chances you are), consider adding a plugin like Smush to compress your images on upload. This will help reduce the file size and keep page load times to a minimum (another important SEO metric).
- Change alt text to focus keyword – The last thing I'll do is make sure that I add in an “alt text” for all of my new images. Again, if you're using WordPress, you can easily set this in the Media Library. Alt texts are descriptions that show up when your image doesn’t load correctly, or for users who are impaired and cannot view the images on the site. This image/ keyword association is proven to result in higher rankings. An example of this would be:
<img src=”workflow-1.jpg” alt=”workflow”/> . A better alternative text would be: <img src=”workflow-1.jpg” alt=”essential guide to workflow management”/>
Optimizing your images for SEO is worth it, especially when you have unlimited design resources.
In this world of shorter and shorter attention spans, visuals go a long way. Maximize your monthly graphic design investment and ask your team to provide you with a handful of graphics for some of your existing content.
One image could be all it takes to move you in the search rankings. Hire an unlimited graphic designer. Get more impressions, clicks, and ultimately leads and sales. At the very least, your website will stand out from the crowd.