Improve Your Image SEO with New Google Guidelines

image seo

When you think about SEO for your business, the first things that come to mind are probably your written copy, meta descriptions, and keywords. While this type of content is crucial for your SEO campaign, there are other aspects that are just as important. The images you use might not immediately come to mind when you think of SEO, but they are an increasingly crucial part of your campaign. Why? Google recently removed the “view image” option, increasing the demand for improved image SEO. Below, Virtual Market Advantage will go over the steps you can take to make your images show up through SEO and help in building your traffic.

Why Remove the View Image Option?

Google added the “view image” option in order to simplify image searches for the user. Instead of finding a potential image, clicking on the website that contained it, and rediscovering it there, a button let you see a copy of the image, on its own and separated from its original website. While this was helpful for users, it was harmful to the website, especially for photographers and image providers, because it bypassed traffic flow to the actual sites.

For example, a lawsuit from GettyImages stated that Google was taking traffic away from their site by adding the “view image” option back in 2013. This suit ended in a settlement, prompting Google to make the image guideline changes.

This set of new guidelines means that the time has come to jump back into image SEO and build your web traffic around the new system, since you may find an influx of viewers who come looking for your images.

What do the New Google Guidelines Mean for Image SEO?

What Google accomplished by removing the “view image” option was to give everyone the possibility of getting back into image SEO. Google also updated their ‘Google Image Publishing Guidelines,’ adding in more details about page speed, structured data, and user experience details. These improved guidelines are full of updated content about creating a better user experience with images, complete with adding good context, embedding tips, optimizing placement, and good URL structure for your images.

Image SEO has Returned

Since these new guidelines have been implemented, it’s of higher importance to go back into your website and start building these images up with SEO. If your site was one that lost some traffic based on image search when Google added the “view image” option, you should definitely prioritize going back to those old images and starting a reboot. So how can you do that? Here are a few a steps you can take to start your image SEO right:

  • Content - On every image on your website, make sure you add some good content in its description. Use strong keywords and focus on the wording.
  • Site Mapping - Make sure you have good links with your image as well. This helps with the trust flow.
  • File Size - Make sure your images are a good file size to download on your site quickly. If an image takes too long to load, you quickly lose viewers and potential customers. In general, you should try to get your file size below 70kB.

Overall, the same rules apply for image SEO that apply for your general website SEO. Make sure you take the time to go into each image and implement the most recent SEO Guidelines, so that your images start showing up in Google. Just like any other SEO, image SEO will take time to properly develop, but when it does, it will be worth it for your website traffic. With these changes to your pre-existing images, you should already see a change in traffic to your website, but do take the time to set up a dedicated image SEO campaign. Yes, this will be time-consuming, but it will pay off in the long run. The resurgence of image SEO is just one example of how SEO optimization is ever changing, and we just need to go with the (search) flow!