As the world continues to improve online, functions within the world of SEO continue to grow. Different platforms and applications are expanding their reach and GIFs are becoming a part of the SEO world as well.

GIFs give individuals an opportunity to express their emotions and feelings through moving interchangeable graphics rather than words. For businesses, GIFs can give their websites and media platforms the opportunity to better attract or captivate customers. Here we will discuss how SEO and GIFs have advanced into GEO.


What is a GIF?

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format which can be pronounced both as “jif” and “gif”. A GIF is an animated image format similar to a JPG or PNG. The difference between them is a GIF can hold multiple images in a single file and display them sequentially. These graphics help display the purpose of a GIF. GIFs express emotions, actions, expressions and scenarios in a more dynamic and entertaining form of files. 



The GIF format was developed back in 1987 by Steve Wilhite at CompuServe. His purpose in creating a GIF was to save memory when displaying images. Wilhite and his team used a compression algorithm to serve these images while limiting the number of colors used. The company that owned the patent for GIFs charged royalties in 1995 and the patent expired in 2003. Google images came around in 2001, but didn’t get an explicit feature to search for GIFs until 2013.

This algorithm continues to work today by creating high-performance photorealistic images. Web developers and designers both create animations via time delays through GIFs. The GIF format is the oldest file format still commonly used today. Because multiple images are included in the file, it’s possible to link those images together to create a loop video.


Why do People Use It?

Individuals prefer to use GIFs to help express or convey their intent better through messaging online. Just like using an emoji, GIFs are also a quick way to choose and explain emotion through text. With having the animated feature, it can create more of an entertaining and attention grabbing aspect to any form of content. Marketers use GIFs more within their content to engage with their audience. This also helps keep their content up to date and relatable to users.

Within the past 5 years, GIFs have become more popular to use and share amongst individuals. There are different applications users can download and find GIFs for themselves. Examples of these are GIPHY, Tenor, or searching through Google Images. Once they are found they can be used and are shared anywhere on any device.


What is GEO?

When individuals search for GIFs through a search engine or application, SEO must be present within the GIF. GEO is just like SEO but for GIFS! GEO (GIF Engine Optimization) is the process of creating, as well as optimizing, GIFs in order for them to rank in search engine results. Just like any search engine, GIF search engines want to offer the user the best solution for their search. When GIFs optimize correctly, they will match the searcher’s intents.

Some many question whether or not GIFs are good or bad for SEO. The answer is no. GIFs are like any other files, images, or article to create traffic for. GIFs are a great way to catch attention for your users. This could result in more traffic and clicks to your content. The only reason for GIFs being bad to your SEO strategy is if they aren’t optimized correctly. If they aren’t optimized correctly, then they can cause slower response times on your website or decrease accessibility. As long as they aren’t used heavily and follow accessibility guidelines, then GIFs can be beneficial to your website’s content.

GEO uses the same approach as SEO. Those approaches are:

Keyword Research

It’s important to find keywords that your users could be interested in or searching for. Having the right keywords brings relevance to your website, higher traffic, and helps your website stand out against your competitors. 

Planning and Creation

Having your GIF integrate into the right category of keywords gives importance to your GIF. When creating or using GIFs it’s important to rank for specific keywords which are appropriate for your business.


Give your GIF a reason to be posted or displayed. If there aren’t keywords or ways to notice the GIF it will lose its significance over time.

If your business has already established a strong SEO strategy, GEO will be a walk in the park for you. The branded keywords that you implement into your website most likely correlate into what you should include in your GIFs keywords. Beyond looking into branded keywords from your business, relevance is key to GEO. Invoking positive emotional keywords that associate with your brand help to improve your GEO. Once you’ve connected the right keywords to your GIFs, make sure to add tags with it and view how often they’re shared. This builds credibility and authority to search engines and customers.


Optimize GEO

Just like SEO, GEO can be a complicated process to know whether or not you’re taking all of the right steps. Just as important as it is to go through all of the steps, it’s crucial to know how GIFs are optimized. GIFs can lead to heavy page weights and sometimes poor experiences for users such as slow page speeds. Performance optimization matters for designing your website’s pages and having faster site speed is very important to SEO and GEO.

When it comes to search engines crawling and analyzing GIFs, such as Google, it’s similar to images being crawled by Google. There tends to be a greater focus on GIFs, only to make sure they’re found by the search engine and individuals.

When GIFs have a hard time being found, there are lots of different ways to fix this issue. Customize your file’s GIF name. Having a unique and creative way for others to find your GIF could be the winning ticket. Along with images, utilizing and writing good alt-text helps improve your GIFs accessibility. The top priority within all of this is to make your GIFs fast, responsive, and have good URL structures.

Adding GIFs and GEO into your website might help your SEO strategy. It can help attract viewers or entertain them in enjoying your content. As long as you implement the right keywords and optimize your GIFs, it could be a great way to strengthen your website’s content. If you’re looking for more ways to strengthen your SEO strategy, learn more here about how Boostability can help your business.


Ansley is the former Content Marketing Manager at Boostability. Since graduating from Utah State University with two degrees in Communication Studies and Journalism: Public Relations, Ansley specializes in creating engaging and informative SEO content for readers, customers, and partners through different marketing channels. Along with creating new content, Ansley works to keep content organized and creates and executes new content strategies. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, visit National Parks, and loves all things Disney.