It’s no secret that Google is the major player when it comes to online search engines. After all, the brand has even become a household verb that people use in their everyday vernacular. While often, companies spend time trying to optimize their text content to make the search engine happy (which is certainly a vital practice), many organizations overlook the importance of optimizing their websites for Google image search.
Put yourself in your consumers’ shoes; think about the last time you tried to look something up but you couldn’t really figure out how to describe exactly what you were looking for. Sure, you might’ve looked for various words or phrases that seem remotely close, but in the end, you came up empty. This is where visual search comes into play.
Visual search gives you the ability to take photos and optimize them in ways so they’re directly available to find on Google. From there, the search engine can generate results for searchers that most closely match the objects in your images after they analyze the components of the photo. When someone looks for words or images that closely match the pictures on your website, Google can help direct future customers directly to your virtual front door.
Why Would You Optimize Your Website for Google Image Search?
Humans tend to respond quicker to visual content than the written word. In fact, some experts believe that people’s brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Additionally, according to Kissmetrics, 93% of consumers’ decisions when they’re choosing products are based on visual appearance. In other words, it’s vital to incorporate visual content into your marketing strategies on a regular basis, and you need to do so if you want your brand to compete with competitors in your local market. Not only do people’s brains rely heavily on the images they see online, but when you optimize your website for Google Image Search, you can also reach people who may have a hard time finding the words to describe the products that will solve their problems.
It all comes down to earning conversions. If you’re able to entice searchers with your images, they’re more likely to click on the photos you’ve given Google. This, in turn, can lead to them browsing your website, and if that’s set up correctly, you’ll soon have new customers in your database. People want to see images of your products, or, if you’re a service provider, they want visual proof that your finished jobs look like something they’d want to spend their own money on. In the end, your images can be the ultimate deciding factor on whether a prospective new customer picks your business or a competitor.
How Can You Optimize your Website for Google Image Search?
Knowing why optimizing for Google image search is just one part of the plan. You also need to know how to go about doing so. Let’s dive into six things you can do to ensure you’re being recognized by the world’s largest search engine when you post photos and images.
1. Add an Image Library to Your Sitemap
It’s important to set up your site in a way that makes it easy for search engines to scan your pages for images. In order to do so, create a large library of original pics, make sure they’re well-organized, and include them in your sitemap. When you add images to your sitemap, you’ll help facilitate Google’s web crawlers when they’re roaming the internet and indexing the content that lives in cyberspace.
2. Pay Attention to Image Sizing
Images make up an average of more than 25% of your webs pages’ total weight. Bear in mind, however, that you’re not trying to score the highest number in this game. Instead, less is more, particularly when it comes to image sizing.
When you’re exporting an image, choose the file type that fits your needs the best. JPEGs tend to be pretty easy to adjust while other formats, such as JPEG XR and WebP aren’t necessarily universal and may not work with all browsers. Of course, you still want to be sure you’re using high-quality images that don’t compromise the speeds at which your pages load.
As you’re exporting images, pay attention to the sizes of the photos you’re producing. During the export process, you can usually adjust quality, proportions, and other factors that ultimately affect the size of the file.
3. Adhere to Image Filing Naming Best Practices
Remember, search engines crawl both the text you put into your content, as well as the image file names. When you create file names and alt text descriptions, be sure that you use short, to-the-point verbiage that helps identify what people (and the search engines) will be looking at. Search engines do a good job at recognizing images visually, but you want to help them along by using relevant keywords that help them understand the context of the images on your pages. Each time you save an image, be sure to give it a distinct name so the web crawlers can be alerted of the content within the picture.
4. Use Captions to Add Extra Layers of Information
Captions help the search engines understand what’s going on in your images when they can’t be understood visually right away. While you still need image names, it’s important to realize that you still need captions that are directly related to the places where you choose to post your images. In other words, you can use the same image in multiple posts, but still give each one a different caption so the search engines can help direct the people who are most likely searching for the content found around the individual blogs, web pages, or threads.
Just as you would with your image names, when you create alt tags, you want to be sure you’re using SEO keywords to capture the attention of Google and eliminate as much confusion as possible surrounding your images. Captions add extra layers of information to your images.
5. Embrace the Power of Alt Tags
Alt tags enable users who may be visually impaired to understand the images you’re presenting to the world. People who rely on screen readers or use browsers that block images will still have access to the information you’re trying to share. Alt tags ensure that everyone can enjoy the content you’re presenting to the world, even if they’re not physically able to see the images.
When it comes to Google, alt tags play a similar role to captions and file names, but they come into play when a browser isn’t able to render the image. In terms of best practices, you need to write your alt tags with your audience in mind, rather than solely adhering to SEO standards. If you use too many keywords, Google might mistakenly file your content as spam.
6. Stay Active
Maintain your digital footprint by adding photos continuously to your website. Utilize your blog, services pages, gallery, and other applicable pages to help the search engines understand who you are and what you’re all about. Also, don’t forget about the social media sphere. You can add photos and gain traction (and traffic) to your website by offering your audience enticing photos they want to click on and share with others. The more photos you add, the more the search engines will pay attention to you because Google and the likes are always looking for fresh, new, and valuable content they can deliver to their searchers.
If you have great images to share with the world, consider building a business profile on Pinterest and Instagram. These sites were designed to be visually focused, enabling its users to see and virtually feel the products and services they’re searching for. Both work well for service-oriented businesses that need to showcase their finished products to the world.
No matter which platforms you choose to use, be sure to utilize as many photos as possible. Update your site and social posts regularly, and adhere to the aforementioned best practices when it comes to alt tags, captions, and image names.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
When it comes to helping businesses of all sizes (particularly small, locally owned establishments) get found on the internet, Surefire Local is the team you want to pair up with. Our team of pros knows how to go the distance for tight-knit communities so we can bolster brand awareness and help our clients make the most of their marketing efforts. If you’re ready to learn more about what we do, we’re ready to talk to you! Schedule a demo with our Surefire Local team today