SEO is not only about optimising written content. The recent increase in visual content online has brought with it new opportunities for product optimisation. Optimising your images and videos can increase a site’s search traffic up to tenfold.
Having well optimised visual content gives your website additional chances to be found via image search. A well designed logo or some eye-catching graphics that pop up in google image search results are just as effective at bringing visitors to your website as written content.
But where should you begin with optimizing images? And what factors do you need to bear in mind? In this guide from Pathwwway, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about optimising visual media on your business website.
It’s a well-known fact that the size of the images you use can have a dramatic impact on how quickly your website loads. At first this doesn’t sound like a big deal but site speed is an important factor, which Google uses for ranking. Internet users have a very short attention span so if your website is slow to load then you could be missing out on potential customers.
Of course you want and need your images to look great and be eye-catching so it’s vital that you strike a balance between file size and quality. A trick that you can use to avoid slow speeds is to never upload images that are larger than needed because this will just slow down your site and has no benefit to you or the user.
Another way you can reduce your image size is by experimenting with file types. There are three main image file types which are used online, GIF, JPEG and PNG.
PNG files are usually your best bet because they offer a good combination of compression ratio and image quality. The nature of a JPEG file however is that it compresses the image, which sounds great but in actual fact the way that JPEGs work is by reducing the quality of the image, so you need to bear this in mind.
When saving images as GIFs you won’t lose any image quality but it can sometimes reduce color detail. This is why GIFs are most suited to animated images, logos and small simple graphics.
File names are a great tool for SEO and product optimisation. Many people, including your competitors, simply just don’t bother renaming their files and therefore don’t rank in image search results often.
You can use your file names to add keywords and this will help search engines discover your content in the relevant context. For example, if you’re uploading a photograph of a forest then you should utilise keywords. An image with the filename “Forest.png” has a far better chance of coming up in search results than the same image with a generic file name like “DSC_1999.png.” You can also be even more specific depending on the goal of your SEO tactics.
If you’re still not convinced about renaming your file another thing to bear in mind is that if you don’t enter a separate title for your image, the file name will also serve as the image title, which is terrible for SEO purposes.
If your image fails to load for whatever reason then text will appear instead, this text is know as an ‘alt attribute’. You have the option to add in an alt attribute to any image you upload to your website, and we’d recommend you always add one to increase product optimisation.
Pathwwway recommend doing this because search engines don’t have eyes! The way search technology works is by text, so alt attributes, file names, titles and captions are what search engines “see” instead of an image. This means that the alt attribute, alt text and title text fields are the best place to put any keywords relevant to your image. Be sure not to just dump lots of keywords in these fields though as this is poor practice and will do you ranking no favors.
No great mystery about this one, the title text is just the name of your image, it serves a very similar purpose to your image filename. The main difference between your file name and your title is that a file name is intended to be read by search engines whereas your title is for human eyes as well as search engines.
There are some cases in which title text is all you need, for example if your title describes the image then you don’t need to add in alt text.
The most common time this happens is if the image is a headshot of a person and their name alone is sufficient for title text. This is because it tells both people and search engines what the image is of and no additional details are necessary in the alt text.
Alt text is different to your alt attribute, this is the field that describes what your image depicts. Alt text help search engines work out not just the content of an image but also similar topics, so it’s important to get it right.
For optimum product optimisation at least one image on your page should contain your focus keyword. Your image alt text should be clear, descriptive, and written in natural language.
A great technique to use when writing alt text is to imagine that you are describing the image to a person who can’t see. Write down those key details and you’ve got some great alt text
The caption of an image is the text that accompanies the image. Captions are important because they’re an excellent way to engage your viewers, as internet users are predominantly scanning not reading content. People tend to scan through an article and pick up on the headings and image. Captions enhance scanning and a study in 2012 showed that captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself. You don’t need to add captions to every image, you should just add a caption if it would make sense to the visitor.
And, that’s all there is to it!
Image SEO comes down to a number of elements that simply allow search engines to ‘read’ the image through text. Besides contributing to SEO and user experience, images can also play an important role in product optimisation and conversion!