Content Marketing, Search Marketing

4 Essential Tips for Optimizing Your Image Assets

Before we dig into some tips for optimizing digital assets, lets try a Google search of our own. Lets do an image search in arguably one of the most competitive categories on the Internet — cute puppies. How can Google possibly rank one over the other? How does an algorithm even know what’s cute?

Here’s what Peter Linsley, a product manager at Google, had to say about Google image search:

Our mission with Google Image Search is to organize the world’s images… We put a lot of focus on satisfying the end users. So when they come with a query, and they have an image that they’re looking for, our goal is to provide relevant and useful images for that query.

Whether you’re looking to share a helpful industry infographic, a funny image or any other digital asset, ask yourself – how can I provide relevant and useful information on my digital assets?

Tip 1. Take care in choosing the file name of your digital asset

Possibly the easiest tip is to tell Google about the digital asset using text, specifically keyword phrases. Whether it’s an image, a graphic or a video, always start with an optimized file name. Does DSCN1618.jpg mean anything to you? Probably not. But behind that generic file name is a photo of an adorable British lab puppy named Buster — and he really is cute!

Instead of an auto-generated or generic file name, try a more optimal name like, cute-siberian-husky-puppy.jpg. Now, we’ve covered a multitude of search terms in one simple, relevant file name. They include:

  • Husky
  • Cute Puppy
  • Cute Husky
  • Siberian Husky
  • Cute Husky Puppies
  • Cute Siberian Husky

Nice right? And by keeping the keywords in the filename relevant to the image, and the on-page content it’s connected to, you’re increasing your chances of having visitors find you. It’s critical to make sure the keywords you’re using are in line with whatever it is you’re highlighting in the digital asset. Just as important is determining a good set of keyword phrases to use with your digital assets.

When done right, this can be a complex procedure, but learning how to use Google’s Keyword Planner can help you determine better keyword phrases to use.

Tip 2: Use keyword phrases in your alternative image text entry

Also referred to as alt text, this is another place you’ll want to want to optimize digital assets to give search engines a heads up as to what the assets are about. Typically, your alt text can look very similar to your file name. The difference here being it should be more like a readable phrase.

Going back to the file name above, we might want to use, Cute Siberian Husky Puppies, or if we want to be more descriptive, These Siberian Husky puppies are incredibly cute. These do not need to be complete sentences, but should make sense to the human eye.

That being said, the more concise the better. You’ll want to avoid what’s called stuffing, which looks like this: cute dog dogs puppy pup pups doggies puppies husky siberian dog running in the grass. In fact, there’s a chance Google may penalize you for these types of stuffing tactics.

Here are some examples of alt text:

  • Bad: alt = ” “
  • Better: alt = “dog”
  • Even Better: alt = “siberian husky puppies sleeping”
  • Best: alt = “siberian husky puppies sleeping on white background”

Tip 3: Use relevant content that supports each digital asset

Google uses the content on your pages to further identify whether or not your webpage is a good match with a particular search phrase. The keyword phrases you’re using in your digital assets should also exist in places like your headline, subheads and page copy. You can also consider adding a caption for your images, or possibly a descriptive title.

Remember, if you’re hoping to optimize your content, be sure that Google can crawl booth the HTML page and the asset itself. In other words, don’t upload a PDF of text that Google can’t read.

Tip 4: Create a great user experience

When it comes down to it, Google is trying to create a great user experience, matching a searched keyword phrase with relevant results. If you want your digital assets to be optimized for search, you’ll need to create the best user experience possible. This will help up the overall authority of your website, making it easier for you to get found. Just like a real person, Google’s algorithm knows if your page offers a beautiful user experience, or a nightmarish one.

What does it mean to offer a good user experience?

  • Good, high quality images – Learn the basics of maintaining crisp, sharp images online. This will give your image an edge when side-by-side with other images that appear in the search results, which can lead to more clicks.
  • Place your digital assets near the top of a page – Keeping content above the fold will increases it’s likeliness of being viewed. Plus, images have the ability to increase engagement, making a viewer more likely to read the copy!
  • Specify a width and height for all images – This can help speed up page loading which enhances the user experience. You may need to play around this a bit to see what size looks best on your web pages.
  • Avoid misleading your visitors – Apply appropriate file names and make sure digital assets are relevant to the pages they are on. If your digital assets are about dogs, let’s not add the names of trending famous people just to get more traffic.

While I don’t have a puppy blog to help launch Buster into Google Search stardom, I hope these tips help you optimize your digital assets!

3 Comments

  1. 1

    Nice one Nate – I have actually started seeing the benefits of having long and descriptive alt tags with my images. It is another powerful marketing technique to have your images showing up in image searches. It is very likely that the user can click on the image link and actually visit your site.

    Is there any guidance about “description” and “caption” elements of the images ? (in WordPress though in case if you have used them)

  2. 2
  3. 3

    Hi Ahmad! If you’re following the four tips mentioned above, you’re images are pretty well optimized. If someone needs to know what an image is about, the Alt Image Tag will tell them, and Google is looking at the Alt Image Tag and the image name for SEO value. I personally don’t use the description or caption elements. If you populate those fields, I’d recommend populating those fields for human eyes. Thanks for reading!
    Best,
    Nate

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