Image Optimization for Good SEO
SEO image optimization is a key element of using SEO best practices. Unfortunately, many new internet marketers simply skip this important step or do not know how to optimize their images correctly. Properly optimized images can add SEO value to your content and should always be included in your optimization plan of attack. Here is a simple guide that even beginners can follow to make sure they are getting the most bang for the buck from their images. By following these steps, one will have better search engine visibility and thus have the potential for better rankings.
Use ALT text
To properly optimize images you must put yourself in the shoes of the search engine. These engines are designed to read text, not images or other various forms of media. What this means is that an image inserted into a webpage or blog post is unreadable by the search engine. For example, suppose you visit your favorite sports blog and see a picture of a person dunking a basketball. While you instantly recognize what is going on in that picture, the search engines do not. You want to make sure that the engines know what your page is all about. By adding alt text to the image, the search engine can “read” what the picture is thus giving the search engine further means to determine what your content is about. While good content should always come first, you also must always make it as easy as possible for the search engines to know what your page is all about.
Adding alt text to your images is simple yet can yield significant results. To make your images readable by the spiders, simply add alt=”subject of the image” to your image tag. For example, if you included a picture of a basketball on a page about different types of basketballs, you could use alt=”Wilson basketball” to the image tag. Now the spiders know that they are looking at a picture of a Wilson basketball. The image tag would then look like this:
Watch your filesize
One of the key aspects of a website or page that search engines look at is loading times. The faster that web pages load, the better the user experience. Search engines make their money by providing relevant results and a good user experience. This means that file sizes have to be as small as possible to help ensure that they load quickly. It is imperative that you use tools or resize the image yourself and do not let your browser do it. Fortunately, there are many free tools available online today for image sizing, such as picresize and webresizer. Paying attention to image size will help your pages load faster and thus gain favor with the search engines.
Name your file
You always want to name your image file using a descriptive keyword. Doing so will help you in the search rankings. When searching for images on Google, for example, you will see that the images that are highly ranked utilize the keyword in the image file. This is very, very easy yet can make a huge difference in search engine visibility.
Use image captions
The image caption is another simple and often overlooked tool in the SEO toolbox. While there is no known direct link between search rankings and captions, the fact of the matter is that captions can help your readers stay engaged with your site or page longer. This can equate to better search rankings indirectly as your bounce rate will improve. Search engines want to make sure their customers are getting a good experience, and low bounce rates tell them that customers are finding what they are looking for.
Good, quality content is a must for a website or page, however, when it comes to good SEO, the little things matter as well. Image tags are quite often overlooked despite the fact that they can have a huge impact on results. When employed properly, these simple and easy steps will boost your overall SEO efforts. By following these best practices, one can gain greater search engine visibility and thus boost their rankings.
For assistance optimizing your website images and page loading times, contact our SEO team at 805-964-3235.