Google has updated its image search function. It’s taken away the view image button from searches so that you can’t view the original without first visiting the page that hosts it.
This may seem like a small change which doesn’t really affect you or your website. But it does.
Optimise your Images for SEO
Image search is one of the most widely used functions on Google. For shoppers and customers but also for people looking to use images without permission. How many times have you spotted an obviously stolen image in a PowerPoint or website?
For a while Google have been more than happy to give everyone access to images in that way, but a recent court case files by Getty Images could well be behind the change.
The idea is that forcing users to visit the actual site where the image lives will deter people from lifting them and reusing without permission.
How can your SEO benefit from the change?
Though this is bad news for image pirates, it’s great news for website owners who’s optimised their images for search engines.
If you’ve done your job properly all your website images will have alt tags which perfectly describe them. They’ll contain the key phrases you want the pages they are contained in to show for and they’ll be full optimised size wise too.
If not, then it’s time to carry out an audit of all your website images
On all your pages, you’ve already optimised all the text to ensure that your page is shown for key phrases typed into Google (you have done this haven’t you?). You also need to ensure that your images are correctly tagged using an appropriate ALT tag
Google is still pretty poor at identifying images, using ALT tags on your images gives Google a hand identifying them and why wouldn’t you want to do that?
As an example, if the search term you want to rank for is – Custom Silver Jewellery – then images contained in the that pages should have appropriate ALT tags in them.
Examples could be
- Custom Silver Jewellery
- Handmade Custom Silver Jewellery
- Custom Jewellery in Silver
- Bespoke Silver Jewellery
Check image sizes while you are at it
While you’re doing this check and audit, now is also the time to ensure your images sizes are optimised too.
Google uses the speed of a website as one of its ranking signals. You need to take note of it too from a user perspective. With over 60% of searches happening on mobile you want to ensure that you webpage loads really quickly for the person on the bus using a 4G (or slower) connection. And that means optimising your images.
Time and time again we see images uploaded to websites at thousands of pixels wide and at 300ppi (pixel per inch). They are then used in the design as a relatively small image, even if you want the image to be seen at a large size, these are still too big.
You can of course make your website do all the hard work and scale your image, but that’ll slow everything again. Basically, what’s happening is that your website asks for a massive image, which takes ages to come in to the site. The user’s browser then needs to shrink it down to the actual size it needs to show it.
A better, and quicker solution, is to make the image the right size in the first place.
To do this ensure that your images are the right width and height for your site. If you want a full width image and your site is 1200px wide then that’s the width your images need to be. It’s pretty simple.
What does this mean for the SEO on your site?
The change to image search means that if you can get your images to the top of the page for your keyword, users will now have to visit your page. If they visit you’ve more chance of getting them to interact with you, maybe buy something or make an enquiry.
Which makes it a very good idea to ensure your images are search engine optimised.