Several Google SERP content observation tools have recently noted a significant increase in the number of image carousels displayed in web search results. The image carousel most often appears in two forms: line or block (but is not necessarily in the zero position).
The share of images in the results pages is increasing. An additional opportunity to position yourself, provided that you meet the expectations of the search engine. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is it worth of results in blue links for Google? Difficult to answer, since depending on the themes of the requests, the images are more or less present in the search engine results pages. The only certainty, they are more and more numerous. We must therefore observe the SERPs before giving them a priority place in its SEO strategy.
There has been movement in Google’s SERPs since the start of the year, wanted or not. Between an unwanted deindexing of many pages and a major update of its algorithm, site editors have an interest in carefully monitoring their positioning so as not to experience disillusionment.
From this analysis, it appears that image carousels are appearing more and more in the search engine results page. From an SEO point of view, this means that care will have to be taken to optimize the images on your site. As a SEO Agency, we remind you what optimizations to make.
On the other hand, contrary to these two examples, the image carousels do not appear systematically in the zero position. They can appear at any position on any page of results. As for the image carousel at the top of the SERP, it is neither more nor less than Google Shopping sponsored ads.
Although they have always been taken into account by Google’s algorithm, it now appears that they are even more useful for SEO. It is therefore good to remember what optimizations should be implemented to improve the referencing of your images.
How to optimize your images?
Images on Google Images represent a source of traffic on your site and a gain in visibility that should not be overlooked. In addition, Google’s algorithm assesses the presence of images in the content present on your site, for example in a blog article. These arguments coupled with this change observed will eventually convince you to optimize your images. But how should it be done?
Rename the name of the images
First of all, be sure to rename the file of your media, be it an image, a GIF or even a video, before uploading them to your CMS. To rename them, there are a few rules to follow. The name of the file must be short and concise (around 3 to 5 words) while containing keywords related to the file and the article. Then, so that Google robots can quickly understand the theme of the file, it is important to respect these rules:
- Do not use special characters (example: accents) or spaces
- Separate keywords with hyphens (-) and not underscores, also called underscores (_)
- Do not use capital letters
- Avoid the numbers.
If you took a screenshot of results for example, do not upload your image as is with this file name: “Screenshot 2019-05-06 to 09.17.01”. Rename your file like this: “semrush-resultsats-seo-client”.
Fill in and optimize the Alt tag
The Alt tag, also called alternative text, corresponds to the text that is displayed when the image is not displayed correctly due to a connection problem for example. Google robots are also able to read it when they crawl your website since it appears in code. It therefore has an interest in natural referencing, it must be well informed.
As with the file name, the Alt tag should be descriptive and constructed, not only for Google robots, but also for users. In fact, the Alt tag will be read by accessibility tools for the visually impaired. Attention, it should not be over optimized by keyword stuffing, a practice consisting in inserting as many keywords as possible.
Compress your images
In order to optimize loading time, the weight of the images must be reduced. The loading time is indeed a criterion taken into account by Google. It is also an important criterion for the user experience. So remember to compress each image to make them lighter. There are free tools on the Internet to do this. You can also use Photoshop or Illustrator using the Save for web function.
Content of images
Google prefers that its results be different. When it presents blocks or carousels of images, it therefore tries to vary as much as possible the selected visuals. If you use an image purchased from an image bank, to position it you will be competing with thousands of other sites that use it too. However, Google uses filters to recognize images. In case of identical images, only one is selected to appear in the results. At the expense of others. And so, the more the competitors have already posted images on a main keyword, the more important it is to propose an original image.
Enter the title and caption of the image
To help Google understand the meaning of an image, it is also useful to contextualize it by entering the caption and the title. By default, the title will be the same as the file name. You can modify it directly in your CMS as well as the legend. It is also possible to enter the title attribute of the image, even if it has no impact on SEO. However, this may be of interest to users. They see it when they place the mouse cursor on the image.
What to remember?
The change observed by experts show us that images have a great interest in natural referencing. Their optimization is therefore an element that should not be overlooked. In addition to the tips above, you can also refer to an older article from our blog that is a bit more detailed on the subject of image referencing.