When it comes to SEO, many people only think about text and code. Of course, these are major elements of good SEO, but one would be surprised to see the sad state of images in the field. Images can (and should) be optimized, and it’s not even difficult to do. When optimizing the images on your site or blog posts, remember these three things:
Optimize the Name of the Image: For the same reason you optimize a title or H1 tag, you should optimize the file name of your image. Search engines cannot “see” what an image is, but they can read its file name — which is why it needs to be accurate and keyword-rich. After all, no one searches for “img00759.jpg.”
Optimize the Alt. Tag: The alt. tag is not only another chance to help search engines understand your image; it’s also helpful from a user perspective. If the user is having a browser issue that keeps the image from loading, they will still have the alt. text to help them understand what they should be seeing. Visually impaired users who use a program to read aloud text on the page can only enjoy the image if there is alt. text available for the program to read. Keep these uses for alt. text in mind when writing it.
Optimize Relevant Images: Just like you can have irrelevant content, you can also have irrelevant images. Oftentimes, irrelevant images are used on a page to serve some design purpose. Although they may be off-topic, they can add to the visual appeal of a page and are fine to use. However, images that don’t contribute meaningfully to the content on the webpage or the keywords that you are trying to target do not need to be optimized; you can focus your efforts elsewhere.
So you have a beautiful website. It’s aesthetically appealing; the color scheme is bright and attractive, the images stimulating and the navigation easy to use. It seems to have all the right ingredients, however, is your (beautiful) website getting the right message across to your visitors?
As part of my role as a Client Strategist at MoreVisibility, I work with a variety of clients from large corporations to small businesses, from Ecommerce to Lead Generation. I often look at their sites from a user’s perspective to provide tips to help them achieve better results. There are many sites I see on a daily basis that are quite amazing to look at, but lack the necessary components to get the visitor to the desired end result. Whether that end result is a completed transaction, online form, or request for more information, it is critical that your site speak correctly to your audience. What does that mean exactly? Here are a few examples:
If your site has Ecommerce functionality, more than likely your goal is for your visitors to make a purchase. You will want to ensure that it is almost effortless to find exactly what your customers are looking for and efficiently go through your shopping cart process; the less clicks to get there, the better. If someone is searching for a specific pair of shoes, send them to that page, rather than having to search around. Don’t make it mandatory to create an account; make it an option.
If your site is designed to generate leads, you should be looking to capture as much information from your searchers in an effort you are obtaining valuable leads. Having a clear call to action form on your site is the first step. The form page should be clean and concise with only the necessary information required. The form should be followed with a confirmation or Thank You page to signify that the form was filled out, information is on the way and/or a representative from your company will be in touch (it is helpful to notate the timeframe here. i.e. within 24 hours, etc)
Keep in mind that your website is a representation of you and your company! While it should obviously look beautiful, it is imperative that you get your correct message across simultaneously!
With the continual advances in the search engines, especially regarding blended search results through Google’s Universal Search, Yahoo’s Blended Search, and Ask 3D, images will appear with even greater importance in the search engine results. In blended search, the user is provided with results from across multiple vertical databases that can include videos, image results, book results, news, blog results, and more. The search engines have taken their usefulness to a whole new level, and as a result, are able to provide more relevant information to the searcher even if the searcher doesn’t know exactly what he or she is looking for. With this being said, it is very important to take advantage of every opportunity to expand your reach on the internet through multiple types of search engine optimization (SEO).
In order to give your images relevance (so that they will be found by the search engines and included in these blended results) they should be considered as part of your ongoing SEO efforts. Below are a few tips regarding how to best optimize the images on your site.
As the search engines make changes to provide the best end-user experience possible, it is important that we do our job to adapt our SEO efforts to these changes. This will help to keep your site positioned in the best way possible and be visible to your targeted audience.