Google is always looking for ways to improve the user experience on their search engine. One way they do this is by taking into account how easy it is to find the information you are looking for. This includes the images on a page. Google is known to place a high priority on content when ranking websites. This means that if you have a lot of high-quality text on your site, you’re likely to rank higher than sites that don’t have as much text. This is especially true with Google’s Panda algorithm, which launched in February 2011 to further crack down on poor quality content.
The purpose of the Google algorithm was to punish sites that have little or no original content, either due to duplicated information from other websites or useless articles filled with keywords just for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.
How does this relate to using images? Well, when Google indexes a site that contains a lot of images, it’s forced to treat the image as if it were yet another “little chunk of text.” This means that if you have too many images on your site, it could actually end up hurting your ranking. So, how many images is too many? A good rule of thumb is to keep the number of images on each page to a minimum. If you can’t avoid using more than a few images on a page, make sure that they’re high quality and add value to the content.
In addition to limiting the number of images on your site, it’s important that you optimize them correctly.
Here are a few tips for optimizing image SEO:
- Name images descriptively and logically using keywords related to the content on your site. For example, if you have a blog post about astronomy, name your image “telescope_astronomy.jpg” instead of “my_picture.jpg.”
- Write a description and add your keyword to the alt text of the image – this is an often-overlooked aspect of SEO, so don’t neglect it. Keep in mind that when you upload images directly from a device (e.g., camera, phone), they usually don’t have a description. In this case, you’ll need to add it manually after the fact.
- Add alt text that’s related to your page’s content. This means that if you have a blog post about astronomy, make sure the alt text contains the word “astronomy” instead of “image.”
- Use keywords in the filenames of your images – when appropriate. For example, if you have a blog post about astronomy, name your image “telescope_astronomy.jpg” or “moon_landing.jpg.”
- Use keywords in the URLs of your images – when appropriate. For example, instead of having an image URL like “myimage.jpg,” try changing it to “/images/username/imagename.jpg.”
- If you are using too many images, they may rank your page lower because it can be difficult for them to find and display the information Google thinks is important.
The ways Google ranks a page with too many images include:
- Not displaying any images: They may choose not to show any of your image results at all, if Google believes that the content on those images does not relate well to what Google believe is important for users searching for your site.
- Google could display an image carousel: Google will only show your images if Google thinks that they are relevant to the content Google is displaying. If Google does not think the images you have uploaded are relevant, Google may display their own carousel of images for this search query.
- Google shows an image with text placed over it: Google may show an image that has text placed over it, rather than displaying the image on your page. This is because Google believes that the user is more likely to be looking for information that is written out, rather than viewing an image.
- Google displays a small image: Google may display a small thumbnail image of your image, rather than letting users view the full-sized image. They may do this because Google believes that Google users are more likely to be looking for textual information, rather than images.