Part of being successful online is being able to optimize your website so that users will actually be able to find you somewhere in the huge world of Google. The search engine can be made smaller by taking advantage of local search and focusing on specific keywords, but even in the “small” world of Google a website needs all the help it can get. You might optimize the backend of your website, the content on your website, and the usability of your website, but there is another huge aspect that helps a website succeed—images.
Most agree that including images are great because they help break up the copy and grab the attention of readers, but can images really help your SEO? Believe it or not, optimizing the images on your website also looks good in the eyes of Google bots. Optimizing your images is important for a few different reasons:
- Image Search. Images can help drive traffic to your site by showing up at the top of a Google image search (or any image-based search engine). Optimizing your images will help you show up at the top.
- Photo Sharing Sites. Optimizing your images will help your images show up on photo as well as social image sharing sites such as Flickr.
- Blended Search. Search engines such as Google try to incorporate different search results on your typical SERP, and this includes images. Making sure your image shows up on top is an easy way to avoid some competition and still direct people to your site.
Whenever someone finds your image on a search engine, that image is almost always directly connected to your website. If someone was to click on the image, they will surely be taken to your site and hopefully stay there and read the text that accompanies the image. So where do you even start when trying to optimize your images for SEO? Fortunately, the process is very simple (and one that might look oddly familiar).
Top 5 Tips and Tricks to Optimizing Images for SEO
The way you optimize images is very similar to the way you optimize a website. In other words, you have to worry about many of the same things on both the back end and the front that you worry about when it comes time to upload and optimize an article. Below are a few tips to help make sure your images are showing up at the top of image SERPs:
- Alt and Title Text – The alt text and title text will ensure that search engine bots understand what the image is all about. This is even more important when it comes to images because search engine cannot see the image, whereas they can detect certain words in a piece of text. You have to manually go in the back end of your site and find where the code starts with <img. Once you find this, you’ll see something that says alt=”___” /> and then add your alternative text in the blank!
- Size – Search engines care about loading time, so you have to make sure that your image is an appropriate size. However, changing the size of an image isn’t as easy as simply changing the height and width on the backend of your website. The trick is to upload your image the size that you want, and this is usually done with a photo editor such as Photoshop. If you fail to do this, people will still be loading a huge image and then your browser will make the image look smaller; thus defeating the purpose.
- File Name – This is an easy and important fix. You want the name of your image to be relevant to the image and include your keywords. You can change the file name by simply going into WordPress when you upload your image and changing what it says after it says “title.”
- Formatting – It’s usually best to format your photo as a JPG format. This will help search engines follow your image and index it correctly. If a JPG format isn’t possible, be sure to stick with something common such as GIP or PNG.
- Anchor Text – This comes into play when you are linking to your image from text. Just as you would want to utilize great keywords when you’re linking to an article, you want to do the same when you’re linking to an image. Bottom line: don’t use generic anchor text like “photo.”
Finally, it is worth noting that you should not be “stealing” photos off of the Internet unless you are going to give proper credit. This could get you in trouble, and optimizing someone else’s photo works just as if you were optimizing a piece of copied content. This won’t look good in the eyes of search engines.