3 Things you need to know about images and search engine optimization

10:52 PM Amer Bekic 0 Comments

What do some of your favorite websites have in common?  Off the top of your head, you might say great web page layout.  Then you might talk about fast load times.  After thinking a bit more, you might be motivated to say great content.  The three things you have just come up with are essentially the three pillars of SEO.  They are what make a website climb to the top of Page 1 of search engine results pages (SERP).  Someone, probably a digital marketing firm, made it possible.  What we don’t really consider or maybe even take for granted are the images that go along with our favorite articles on our preferred sites.

When deciding on what to post, it’s crucial to take into consideration the images we want the audience to see.  In the past, this wasn’t much of a big deal since people were more interested in the content than the images that went along with it.  As a matter of fact, people often didn’t even pay attention to the images, both the readers and those in charge of posting an article.   Those days are long gone now.  Images have steadily become a more important part of search engine optimizations (SEO).

They do so much more now than just give readers something to look at.  Images give a visual representation of something that is going on in the text or they can work as a complement to the title, sometimes even doing a much better job at letting the reader know what to expect, in the writing.  And that’s not all.  Search engines are now using an image’s metadata to help them classify and rank web pages accordingly.

 Therefore, it’s important to take into consideration some of the factors that go into optimizing images so that they can help anyone boost their rankings. 

Image courtesy of OVAN at Pexels.com

1. Alt and title text are there for a reason, use them.


One thing you cannot afford in the SEO business is to be lazy.  One of the most overlooked features of image optimization is not being willing to fill out certain fields.  The file name is obvious and we’ll get to that in a second.  Many people don’t take the time to fill out some of the following fields:

·         Alt-text

·         Title-text

·         Description

·         Caption

Mayor no-no.  Those four fields are SEO gold and you would be wise to fill them out.  First of all, Alt-text gives a more detailed description of the photo or an alternative vision of the image.  Secondly, the caption and title text will help the reader gain more understanding into what you want to express with the image.

Finally, the description field can help you complement the caption, the difference is that it won’t show up on the website.

2. The file name is just as important as the image.


Imagine you wanted to post a photo of your recent vacation to your blog.  You go to your files, look for one, and then decide to attach it to your post.  The file name is probably under the standard camera default, something like DCM-123.  This will do absolutely nothing to raise your positioning.  A name change is needed and it should be one that gives search engine robots.  The filename should include the most important feature you want to highlight from the picture and the secondary features.  For example, if your image is showing a couple rowing on a boat in a lake, a good file name might be couple-rowing-love-lake.jpg

3. Don’t be fooled, size matters.


Images are one of the factors that affect page loading speed the most.  And as you may or may not have heard, how fast a site loads can have a dramatic effect on rankings.  The longer a website takes to show all the content the more it can be a heart in the rankings.  One way to lower loading time is by compressing images.   You should do it to the point that if you were to put the original image and the compressed one side-by-side, there shouldn’t be a very noticeable difference in resolution.  You want an image size that can serve as a transition between paragraphs or ideas, not one that will completely distract the reader.  There are a number of offline and online tools that you can do that will allow you to obtain the perfect-sized image for a website.  Blogzuola will cover some of the most important ones in a later post.

While content quality, page layout, and load time will continue to reign supreme when it comes to SEO, image selection, and the information is looking to join the pack.  If search engine algorithms have already realized their importance, it’s time SEO professionals do the same.  The old saying, “Images are worth a thousand words,” could possibly end up becoming: “Images are worth 1000 hits.”  The more people visit a site, the more it rises.  It’s that simple.