A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words: The Steps to SEO Image Optimization

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Nearly everyone is familiar with the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This time-worn slogan sums up the power of images in conveying a message, illustrating a topic, or sharing a story. In the digital landscape, images can be a powerful communication tool. Search engine optimization – SEO for insurance agents – comprises many components, and images should be part of the online presence. There is more to adding images to websites than just sprinkling them throughout the content, however. By applying the principles of SEO, images can enhance search visibility dramatically. Here’s how.

The Power of Images in Web Content

Images have long been used to bring websites to life. Photos and illustrations can help flesh out a story or can be used to make points clearer. They can also be valuable in bringing traffic to websites. Every day, hundreds of millions of people around the world use Google image search to discover content on the web. In recent months, search engine user tracking has indicated a sharp uptick in the number and frequency of image results on search engine results pages (SERPs); Google now displays images for approximately a third of all search queries. Clicking on one of the displayed images typically brings a user to a website the image is hosted on. Due to this increase in visibility in search results, smart SEO professionals are focusing on this potential source of improved site traffic.

Image Optimization: First Steps

Images add value and detail to web content. Simply adding an image or two to a block of text can resonate with site visitors, and may even trigger search algorithms to rank such a page higher in search results. This process of adding images and hoping for the best is haphazard at best, and there’s a better way to use images to improve search visibility. SEO professionals have numerous tools and techniques designed to harness the power of images. Some of these techniques are easy to implement, while others may require more work to produce results.

The first step in image optimization is to select the images that will be used. Images should be relevant to the topic at hand and provide context to the product or service being presented. It is a good idea to stick to the JPEG format for images and to make sure that each image is no larger than about 100-150 kilobytes (Kb) whenever possible. Both of these attributes help webpages load faster, keeping in mind that page load speed is a ranking metric in Google’s search algorithm.

Optimizing File Names, Alt Text, and Title Attributes of Images

Once the appropriate images are chosen for use on the website, the next step is to optimize each image’s file name, a critical yet easily-overlooked aspect of SEO. Add relevant keywords to the image file, eliminate stop words like a, the, or in, and separate the keywords in the file name with hyphens. An example of an optimized image file name is “insurance-quote-homeowners.jpg”

Alt and image title text, or the words that appear when a site visitor hovers the pointer over a given image, can also be optimized. These attributes provide context to search engines, which can boost rankings. Here, SEO professionals use the same relevant keywords as in the image’s file name. Accessibility software picks up alt and title text for the visually-impaired, which can benefit the overall ranking of the page in question.

More Tips for Image Optimization

Appealing images can help tell your company’s story. When optimized for search visibility, these images can improve traffic, provide a boost to search results rankings, and create a favorable impression among site visitors. Some additional tips for optimizing the images on websites include:

  • Using unique images – images that are original and unique tend to rank higher in search results than do stock photos. Wherever possible, create your own unique images for the products and services your company offers to its customers.
  • Balance file size with resolution – search engines favor those images that are higher in resolution. Unfortunately, high-resolution image files tend to be massive, which can slow down page loading speeds. In SEO for insurance agents, it is important to use the highest-quality images possible while keeping the file size around 100-150Kb (as indicated in an earlier section).
  • Add captions – captions that appear under or over each image can improve context for site visitors, and has the potential to be indexed more accurately by search engines. Captions should include the targeted keywords or phrases found in the image file name and alt/title text where possible.

When these techniques and strategies are applied to online images, search engines index those images as relevant to search queries. With image optimization, you can unlock new sources of site traffic, improve search visibility, and bring in new customers, making the process of image optimization worth the extra effort.

About Agency Tsunami

Agency Tsunami is the digital marketing division of Neilson Marketing Services, who has provided the insurance distribution sector with innovative marketing and communication solutions for over twenty-five years. With our Agency Tsunami program, we have implemented an integrated marketing strategy that includes optimized, professional websites supported by high-quality SEO and Social Media for hundreds of insurance retailers and wholesalers. Our goal is to help your insurance business perform and generate new opportunities. Give us a call at (800) 736-9741 to learn more about how we can do that for you.

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