Google allows you to search not only for content but also for images. People love using Google image search because it provides a speedy process, straightforward style, clear layout, and various types of images. With just one click, millions of pictures related to countless kinds of topics and easily accessible to the public, quickly show up.
Are you curious about how Google collects and stores those images?
The answer lies in the process called “Google Image Indexing.” Every single picture that you see on the search result must go through the “Google index” stop before appearing on Google’s top pages.
In this article, we will explain the term “Google index,” how important it is to a website, as well as giving you some useful Google image index tips.
- Get to Know Google Index
- The Importance of Google Image Indexing
- 5 Useful Tips for Better Google Image Indexing
Get to Know Google Index
When you search for something on Google, you’re asking Google to show you all the relevant pages from their index. A Google index is similar to an index in a library, but instead of showing available books, it lists all the webpages that Google knows about.
The process of Google understanding those pages is called “indexing.” It includes analyzing content, cataloging images, video files embedded on those pages, and storing this information in the Google Index.
Similarly, Google image index is a huge library storing only images that are indexed by Google from thousands of web pages. Whenever you throw a keyword in Google image search, Google will use its ranking algorithm to sort the data in its image index and return the best-suited results on its first page.
The more images from a specific website appear on the search result pages, the more likely that site gains popularity among users. That can partly contribute to website rankings and play as a determining factor to bring in traffic to the site.
If you’re still doubtful about how it works, keep moving to the next part of how important Google image indexing is to a website.
The Importance of Google Image Indexing to a Website
The human brain processes images faster than text. Images no wonder perform such a vital role in any web interface. They attract the viewer’s attention. They make content more appealing and comprehensive to viewers, which helps increase the uniqueness and accessibility of a website.
According to Rand Fishkin’s analysis of Jumpshot and Moz data, image search on Google is the second most highly used search type. It’s performed ten times more frequently than Bing and Yahoo’s regular search combined.
So now, are you aware of the great benefit those sites will gain once their images are being indexed by Google? It is the opportunity to get a higher ranking and further, the huge additional amount of traffic to the site.
For online stores, the indexed images relevant to search queries are a powerful tool to help differentiate and promote a brand, product, service, or business.
However, not all images can be indexed by Google as it does set some specific requirements for image indexing. What are they and how to meet these standards?
Let’s take a look at some useful and easy tips we provide below for effective Google image indexing.
5 Useful Tips for Better Google Image Indexing
Google does set some requirements for image indexing. After considering, we’ve summarized the 5 following tips to meet those requirements. Each of them is detailed, straightforward, and easy to follow.
Tip 1: Avoid Using CSS to Insert Pictures
“Google Image Search does not index and rank images from CSS background code.” said John Muller – the Webmaster at Google
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is responsible for the look and the “feel” part of the website. It’s used to format the layout of a webpage, for example, control the color of the text, what background images are used.
Google will not be able to index the images inserted through CSS even if they exist on the website. The main reason is that they lack the attributes that Google is looking for when indexing (src, alt).
Therefore, if you want to have your images indexed and ranked in Google image search, you should best use a normal image tag with the source attribute pointing at the image.
For example, avoid inserting images using CSS like this.
Instead, you should use the normal tag with the attributes “src” and “alt” pointing at the image, like this:
Tip 2: Use Images That Enhance the User Experience
Google indexes images based on keyword relevance and quality. To meet its criteria, follow some detailed advice below.
Use Context-Relevant and Good Quality Photos
High-quality images appeal to users more than blurry and unclear ones.
Also, sharp images are more appealing for thumbnails and increase the likelihood of getting traffic from users.
Reduce the File Size to Optimize Page Load Time
The large image files can slow down the page load speed.
We recommend that you reduce the file size. Don’t worry, that does not harm your image quality.
Don’t Use Stock Images
You want your website to be recognized via your images, then you should not use stock images to represent your website’s signature. No matter how professional they are, they will likely be other people’s interpretation of the idea.
Be accurate and personal with the images you are using.
Provide good context
Google determines the relevance of images to search results by the context of everything else around them. It includes text content, other images, image sitemaps, page title, and page URLs. So optimize them all and keep your context consistent.
Tip 3: Optimize Image Data, Label, Tags, and Descriptors
You should pay attention to image labels, meta tags, and descriptors as they are all used by Google for indexing purposes. Google uses them to identify what your images are and the context in which they are used.
Some of the main labels, tags, and descriptors are image file name, Alt tags, captions, and descriptions.
Better indexing leads to better ranking in the search result. Make sure that you provide helpful, descriptive Alt tags and specific file names or descriptions.
Below are some examples for you:
- Image filename:
The filename can give Google clues about the subject matter of the image. For instance, Vietnamese-beef-noodle.jpg is better than IMG00023.JPG.
- Alt tags:
Alt tags are “alternative text” for an image.
Alt tags provide better image context/descriptions to search engine crawlers, helping them to index an image properly. When creating Alt tags, focus on creating brief, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.
Avoid filling alt attributes with keyword stuffing as it results in a negative user experience and may cause your site to be seen as spam.
Tip 4: Create a Good URL Structure for Your Images
Simply put, a good URL for images must help best describe the images.
For example, if you’re posting an image for Vietnamese noodles, a good URL must be something like this: wp-content/uploads/Vietnamese-noodles.
Google focuses on the URL and the filename to understand your images. Remember to create logical and specific URL structures for your images.
Tip 5: Use Supported Image Formats
Google Images support images in these formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG8, PNG24, PDF, RAW, WEBP, and SVG. Among them, GIF, JPEG, PNG are the most popular formats used on the web.
JPEG is an ideal format for all types of photos. JPEG files can be compressed up to 70% without losing much quality. However, if they aren’t compressed, they can be quite large and demand great server resources.
PNG is a good choice for screenshots or when transparency is needed. Even when this format is compressed, it still retains high quality. It works for both simple and complex images.
If you want a format for simple images and animations, GIF is the best choice. However, these types of images weigh a lot.
Another image format getting love from bloggers, designers, and developers all over the globe is WEBP. It’s an image format that Google has developed. WEBP achieves a superior lossy and lossless compression. It supports both transparency and animation. WEBP provides better compression and smaller file size compared to PNG, JPEG, and GIF, which means faster downloads and less data consumption.
This article has explained Google image indexing and its importance to websites. Similar to the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” in this case, a picture can worth a great amount of traffic if it is indexed and ranked by Google. Besides, we’ve also listed some easy and effective Google image indexing tips.
Remember to always use relevant, high-quality images that come with the right size, helpful Alt tag, and specific filename and description. Also, using Google supported image formats and creating a good URL for your images help the process of indexing run smoothly.
Leave a comment below if you have better tips or any additional ideas.