Using images as part of your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy is often overlooked by many business owners. The fact is, photos and images are actually quite powerful and help to attract visitors to your company’s blog or website when used properly. I say “properly” because there are a few rules that you will need to follow in order to get the most out of the images you add to your content. Here is some insight on this commonly forgotten marketing strategy:
Choose images based on your content.
The very first thing you must consider before you take another step is to choose images or photos that are relevant to the content where you intend to post them. While pictures of kittens may be adorable, picking images just because they are aesthetically pleasing can lead to lost opportunities (you’ll find out more in a minute). Instead, choose an image that helps represent the title of the article or page you’re writing. Also, don’t choose photos that are protected by copyright. Turn to Creative Commons or Wikimedia.org to find copyright free images to use in posts. Purchasing images from stock photo sites is also an option if you are looking for professional style pictures.
Rename the files as you save them.
One of the most effective SEO techniques regarding images is to give each one a search engine optimized file name when you save it. Sure, we may use image titles and alt tags to tell search engines what our image is about, but most all search engines and even some web browsers look to what the file name is when it was uploaded to the website. This may seem like a little matter, but it’s actually a great big opportunity to use SEO where most other businesses do not!
Fill in alt tags.
Alt tags are a short text description of an image that appears in the place of the photo should it not be able to load (i.e. when a page times out, when an image can’t load on a mobile device, or if there is a script error when loading the page), or when the mouse is hovered over the image. Search engines like Google browse these alt tags to find out what the image is about or related to. Using keywords in your alt tags is a great way to give your SEO a boost and will also help your keyword density. The important thing to remember is that your images should be relevant to the keywords you are choosing as alt tags, otherwise it can be considered keyword stuffing and can in turn actually hurt your SEO strategy.
Consider image sizes.
Did you know that when your page takes too long to load, it hurts your search engine optimization? This is an important aspect to consider when choosing image dimensions because the file size can affect page loading time. The larger the file, the longer it takes to load on your page when users visit your website. Want to know something even more interesting? Many people attempt to get around this issue by loading up a large image and then resizing it on the backend of their website. Believe it or not, the dimensions of the original image will be uploaded first and THEN resized in visitors’ browsers so the loading time will still be adversely affected unless you upload a smaller sized image first.
Carefully select anchor text.
Anchor text is the text that is linked to a website or image and can be clicked to open the target web page or photo. Anchor text is a super important part of search engine optimization and generally appears as keywords in the content. There may be times when you want to link images with anchor text and this can determine just how well your image ranks for that keyword. The main thing to remember is to use descriptive anchor text that will describe the photo in an accurate manner. Don’t be a marketing newbie and link the image to terms like “photo” or “picture”. When you use keywords, search engines will be able to decide what your image is related to and thus rank it appropriate for those keywords.