Google recently released the guidelines adjusted for the findability of images, it was reported Marketing Facts last week. According to experts, the new guidelines do not contain any groundbreaking innovations, but there is now a complete overview of best practices that describe how to work with images on your website. Below are the most important things you need to know to get your pictures and images optimally indexed.

Create a perfect experience for the user

Google's very first, fairly general, advice is that you should optimize your pages for good user experience, not for good SEO. That said, there are a number of things you can pay attention to to optimize that user experience. First of all, provide a good context. The image you use in your text must have something to do with what you are writing about. Place images close to the text that relates to that image and place important images – if that makes sense – at the beginning of your page.

Do not use text in images. Apart from the fact that some users cannot see that text (think of web guidelines 2.0), that text cannot be translated and of course cannot be indexed by Google. Finally, it is an absolute must that your website is responsive so that it can be viewed properly on mobile devices.

Provide a clear page title and meta tags

Google presents since March of this year the image search also includes the page title and other meta information. So make sure that title and meta tags look good and are correct. Use Yoast's SEO plugin for optimal management of meta tags per page.

an example of page titles for image search results
An example of page titles for image search results

Add structured data

Another important addition to your website is the use of structured data. With structured data you ensure that videos, products or recipes, for example, can be optimally indexed by Google. In the search results, this content is then presented with “rich results”. In Google Image Search, in addition to the image, other product information is immediately visible, such as price, stock and reviews.

Example rich results that Google shows for structured data
Example rich results that Google shows for structured data

Don't make images too large!

Images are the biggest cause of a slow website. Images are often placed too large on the website and are not loaded optimally into the site. This causes a website to load slowly and weakens the user experience. Smaller and optimized images load faster, create a better experience for the user and therefore make your page and website more attractive (also for Google). Read more about optimizing images in last week's news item. In it, Donny gives 5 tips for optimizing the speed of your site, including a tip about images.

Use descriptive titles, alt tags and captions

Last but not least: give your images a clear title, alt tag and caption. This way you give your image even more context and Google understands even better what exactly the image is. Dzee snippet that Google presents on its guidelines page shows how best to approach this:

  • Bad (missing alt text): <img src="puppy.jpg" alt=""/>
  • Bad (keyword stuffing): <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="puppy dog baby dog pup pups puppies doggies pups litter puppies dog retriever  labrador wolfhound setter pointer puppy jack russell terrier puppies dog food cheap dogfood puppy food"/>
  • Better: <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="puppy"/>
  • Best: <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="Dalmatian puppy playing fetch"/>