If you’re wondering if you really need images for your blog for SEO, the answer is YES.
It’s simple: images make articles more appealing. When used correctly, they will capture the attention of your audience, set the tone of your article and provide an at-a-glance understanding of the blog. Research has shown that when images are paired with relevant information, people are also more likely to retain the information.
All this channels into providing a great user experience, which will boost your rankings on Google.
How to choose good images for SEO
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing images for your blog if you are trying to improve your SEO. A good image will be…
Relevant to your content
This means that the image makes sense in the context of your article. There should be a strong and obvious link between the content in the image and your article. This allows readers to gain an “at-a-glance” understanding of your blog post simply by looking at your image.
Appealing to your audience
Just like your blog content will be geared towards your intended audience (read: ideal client), your image should be too. Look for images which reflect the demographics or aspirations of your audience. For example, if you are a gym targeting professionals in their 50s and 60s, they are unlikely to to resonate with images of incredibly young and fit models.
Your image should also add original value to the page. Wherever possible, plan ahead and incorporate images which are relevant to your blog plan to your next branding photoshoot. More on planning your blog content here.
This means the most popular image from an image subscription service won’t work in your favour, as Google will always prioritise original content. Overusing stock images will also stand out like a sore thumb.
In-line with your brand
The images you use will help give your audience a feel for your business and approach. They should blend in with the overall aesthetics of your website and communicate the tone of your article.
Don’t just choose an image because it’s pretty or funny unless that is a key part of your business personality. For example, if your business is built around creating simplicity, use images with order and clean lines.
Images are incredibly effective at evoking emotions, which will provoke your reader to take an action. This may be to click on your article or scroll (faster) past it in their newsfeed.
If your image evokes emotion, it will make your content more memorable and increase engagement. Just like your content, your image should aim to make your audience feel something, rather than just communicate information. This is what will draw people to your content and may prompt them to share it with their peers.
But there’s more…
How to optimise your image for SEO
These elements will help you choose images that create a great user experience, which will boost your content’s visibility on Google. However, once you have chosen images there are other technical aspects to consider which will help Google understand your content and therefore, boost your SEO. This will help the search engine show the content to the right people.
Add good quality images
If your image is grainy and hard to see, it will look unprofessional and be less appealing to your audience. This decreases the likelihood of them clicking on your link and bothering to read your content.
Optimise for speed
Although you want your images to be high-quality, if they aren’t optimised they can slow down the loading time of your website and affect your SEO. This is important, as the majority of mobile website visitors will exit a webpage if it doesn’t load within three seconds.
You can analyse your site speed using PageSpeed Insights and optimise your images using techniques such as choosing the right format, correct level of compression and serving them in the correct dimensions.
Place the most important image near the top of the page and place remaining images near relevant text.
Google has come a long way in recognising the content of an image using computer vision algorithms, but it also extracts information about the image based on other content on your page. This is why it’s important to include information about what’s in the image in the alt text, file name and in your captions.
Alt text’s main function is to improve accessibility for people who can’t see the image. When writing alt text, use keywords which describe what is in the image and which also link to the content. Do not throw in keywords which are not relevant, as this will be seen as keyword stuffing and negatively impact your ranking.
These tips will help you choose and optimise images for SEO, putting your blog well on the way to showing up on Google. This will make it more likely to be read by your intended audience.
After all, what’s the point of a blog that nobody reads?
How to choose a good image for SEO
A good image will be…
- Relevant to your content: it makes sense in the context of your article
- Appealing to your audience: Look for images which reflect the demographics or aspirations of your audience
- Original: Overusing stock images will also stand out like a sore thumb
- In-line with your brand: Your images should blend in with the overall aesthetics of your website
- Use emotion: Evoking emotion will make your content more memorable and increase engagement.
How to optimise an image for SEO
- Add good quality images: Poor quality images look unprofessional
- Optimise for speed: If your website takes too long to load, users will exit the page
- Optimise placement: Place the most important image near the top of the page
- Be descriptive: Include information about what’s in the image in the alt text, file name and caption.