Images are the perfect way to make your website come to life. Whether you’re adding product photos or spicing up a blog post, the images you choose are going to have an impact on both the visual appeal for your customers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Search engines aren’t able to see your images, so it’s up to you to do everything you can to help them understand your photos. SEO can be scary, but taking a few minutes to optimize your images can increase your site traffic and help you connect better with your audience. Here are 4 easy tips for optimizing images for search engines.
1. Choose Relevant Images
First and foremost, use images that are related to your website content. If you find a photo that you love but it just doesn’t make sense for a particular page or blog, save it for later. You don’t want to confuse your visitors before they have a chance to explore your site. Not sure what kind of images you should use or where to find them? Here’s what you need to know about royalty free images.
2. Optimize Your File Names
Because search engines aren’t able to view images, you will need to give your files appropriate names. If you are taking your own photos, there’s a good chance your camera gives your images names like, “00234.jpg.” This file name does nothing to help Google understand what your image is, and it’s very unlikely your customers will ever search for that image name.
When it comes time to upload (or download) images, take the opportunity to use important keywords. For example, if you’re adding an image of Yosemite National Park to your website, you don’t want to save it as “DSC4300.jpg,” you want to save it as “yosemite-national-park.”
When naming files, use relevant keywords but keep it short. Use a dash (-) to separate your words. Search engines don’t know if you are using more than one word, so you need to make it as clear as possible what’s in your image. Any spaces used in file names will appear as a percent (%) symbol in your URL, try to avoid this.
3. Optimize Alt Text
Alt tags, or text alternative, appear when a visitor hovers over an image with their mouse. If an image isn’t available for your visitors and they hover over the blank image, they will still see the alt tag you created for that photo (depending on their browser). Alt tags give search engines more information about your website and your images, and while keywords should be used, keep your descriptions short and relevant. Alt tags are also important for special screen reader software used by those with visual impairments, so your text needs to make sense. Using our Yosemite example, your alt text may read, “Sunrise at Yosemite National Park.”
4. Image Size Matters
Have you ever visited a website that took forever to load? There’s a good chance they were using massive photos. Your visitors have a short attention span, and if they have to wait more than a few seconds for your site to load, they will probably leave.
Reduce the file size of your images whenever possible. The larger the file, the longer it takes to load. As a rule of thumb, try to keep your image files at or below 30k. How do you make image files smaller? There are a number of different image editing tools out there like Photoshop, or if you’re looking for something free, a quick internet search will give you plenty of great options.
Need help optimizing your website for search engines? The experienced SEO team at Blindspot can help you increase your rankings on the major search engines, ultimately increased your website traffic. Contact us today to learn more!