Optimizing images for search rankings can be confusing. Website owners frequently tell me, “I’m not interested in ranking in Google Images.”
But the benefits extend beyond Google Images.
How Images Help SEO
1. Images in organic search results. Google has blended organic search results with image search for years, and the trend is growing. According to Mozcast, 44% of SERPs contain images.
Images appear in search results when a query implies an interest in visuals, even for commercial-intent searches.
An image on a product page with structured data markup will show in both image search results and general search. Here’s a screenshot of general search results that contains an image carousel. The photos would likely entice a consumer looking to buy red shoes.
Make sure every product page includes clear images, and at least one of them is marked up with Schema.org’s Product type.
2. Images in search snippets. Google included images in mobile search snippets first. These days most search snippets — mobile and desktop — tend to include at least one square thumbnail, often more.
As Google’s SERPs are becoming more visual, failing to use images on your pages may lessen a snippet’s impact, reducing click-throughs (even if the page ranks in the top 3).
For category pages and lists, consider the ItemList type in Schema.org to include images for each list item. Google’s guidelines for that markup are confusing, seemingly implying that they apply only to courses, recipes, restaurants, and movies. In reality, ItemList can be used for any list,…