Does an image need to be labelled?

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Symbol image SEO

Labelling images Does an image need to be labelled?

Published on 08.02.2022 by Cynthia Rousseau, Digital Commerce Trainee with Post CH Ltd

Researchers have found that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.

Good pictures stimulate emotions and are therefore important for a website. If there is too much text on a page and no breaks for images, it will often be harder to read.

Of course, nobody wants to see an endless number of pictures when reading a novel – adding images to a website, however, makes perfect sense.

Not only is it easier for users to read and process the text, but the site will also appear in a more prominent position on Google as a result.

But why is this type of page better ranked by Google compared to a page with lots of text and information?

Google attaches more importance to user experience than to long informative text. After all, user-friendliness is the most important aspect of a website. This is because it increases the likelihood of visitors returning to a website and, most importantly, increases the amount of time spent on the page.

If images are placed between the text, why do they still need to be labelled in the background?

This is all about Google.

Labelling pictures in the background means Google can also identify them and list them in the search engine.

The more detailed the description, the better the ranking. The website or item can therefore be found more easily by potential customers.

For some years now, Google has provided an image search function called Google Lens.

People often search for products online. Google Lens is a useful tool if the product was a gift, the product description or its packaging is missing or you simply do not know what the product is. It simply displays the same product or similar products when someone searches using a photograph.

If items from a shop can be found using pictures, why do they still need to be labelled?

  • There are still many potential customers who search for a product name, an item number, a brand, a GTIN number or a description. They can only find these products if this information has also been provided on the site, in the image or elsewhere.
  • Google operates a kind of library (a web index) where all images from across the web are indexed. All the images are compared with one another and then categorized (animal, place of interest, restaurant, product, etc.). Since there are still a large number of “unknown” images (new products, restaurants, etc.), it’s important to label the images. That way, Google knows what the image shows and can then present it to potential customers when they conduct a search.

What should you do to help your image SEO?

  • Name the image file using an appropriate keyword, e.g. the item name, brand and a short description (winter-coat-mammut-black), using a hyphen instead of an underscore to break up the words. Keep the description as short and concise as possible.
  • A suitable caption (e.g. the item name or a short description) and the text around the image can also help to improve the performance of the image.
  • If possible, use specially created images (unique content) instead of the manufacturer’s photos, which your competitors may also use. Good photos – and most importantly original product photos – can help you appear more favourably in the image search and attract new potential customers.
  • Make sure the images you publish are high quality (not pixelated or too small).
  • The file size should not exceed 150 GB if possible (use compression tools such as to avoid this).
  • If an image is used across multiple subpages, make sure that it is saved in the same image source (file path) each time.
  • When integrating an image into the domain, the title attribute (text that describes the image/graphic) and the alt attribute (alternative text that describes the image/graphic) should be labelled using the most important keywords (the image description).
  • You can choose to create a separate image sitemap for indexing and save it in the Google Search Console.
  • Make sure your images can be crawled by ensuring the relevant folders are not blocked by robots.txt.


Cynthia Rousseau, Digital Commerce Trainee with Post CH Ltd

Cynthia Rousseau is a trainee in the Digital Commerce team with Swiss Post. In this role, she supports retailer customers in improving their level of digital maturity by providing strategic advice relating to digitization and designing solutions.

Portrait Cynthia Rousseau

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