Google Image Indexing Tips

This guide will contain a few tips on how to make sure your images are indexed by Google. 

NOTE: The guide is and will remain a work-in-progress because the industry standards are changing very fast and new tips or best practices will always show up.

Tip #1 - Avoid using CSS to insert images

Google Image Search Does Not Index Images From CSS

This statement has been made by Google officials. Let's cover what it means exactly.

So, by default, Google will always prioritize the HTML of a page for indexing. All the tags, headings and images need to be in their rightful place in order to make your website fully SEO compliant.

Images have an <img> tag, an src attribute (from which the image is being requested and rendered) and an alt attribute which acts as a fallback in case the src attribute is not bringing any image. Other attributes are optional (e.g. width, height). Example:

<img src="smiley.gif" alt="Smiley face" height="42" width="42">

Another way for you to add images is to use CSS. CSS has various methods which one can use to insert images on a website: background: url('image_url');background-image: url('image_url'); and others.

However, the images inserted through CSS are not indexed by Google, because they lack the attributes that Google is looking for when indexing.

If the image is written like: 

<img height="42" width="42">

And then you insert the actual image with the following CSS:

img {
    background: url('smiley.gif');

Google won't be able to index this image, even if it exists on your site because the HTML side of this image doesn't have all the attributes Google is looking for (src, alt).

Tip #2 - Make sure your images are enhancing the user's experience

Google will analyze the surrounding content and index the image in that context if the image is relevant there. 

Google values relevance and quality in returning search results and thus, user experience feedback is a strong signal to Google for ranking purposes. Thus, the more popular an image and the more clicks it gets, the higher the ranking. Below are a few tips for providing a good user experience with your images:

1. Make sure that your images are of good quality and are appealing. Think as you would like your Facebook profile picture to best describe you as a person, and look awesome in it at the same time.

2. While overly large image file size hurts page load time, reducing the file size does not mean you have to sacrifice quality. So, it's highly recommended to use an image optimization service. We proudly recommend Optimole for that.

3. Stock images are usually easy to identify and often feel fake or insincere. Get personal with the pictures you're using.

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