When it comes to website optimization, images are sometimes an afterthought. Copy, design, and coding all play important roles in an optimized website, but images can also increase your visibility in image based searches. Optimizing images is easy do if you follow these best practice guidelines:
Utilize image compression and file type: Maintaining fast load times is important for an optimized website. If your site is using lots of image data, you’ll need to compress the images to keep them from affecting your site’s performance. You should also consider which file extension your images use. For example, a .png file can show more colors than a .jpg file, but it’s larger and will take longer to load.
Create an image sitemap: To increase the chances that search engines will index the images on your website, create an image sitemap.
Don’t forget social sharing buttons: The advent of image sharing sites like Pinterest has only increased the importance of sharing buttons, especially for images. By adding social sharing buttons, you’ll increase the chance that web pages and images reach a wider audience.
Optimize image metadata: Most importantly, you should optimize the file name and alt tag. For both, use five to seven words to describe what the image is. If possible, use keywords that you’d like to target. If the image contains text, include this text in the alt data as well.
Behind the scenes, there are a lot of components that keep a website up and running. It’s possible, and maybe even practical (depending on your business situation), to launch and run your website without many features enabled. Doing so will give you a functioning website, but it won’t give you an optimal one. Here are just a few examples of features you should be using on your site for SEO:
XML Sitemap: Take a look at any well-optimized site, and you won’t have to look far to find a sitemap. It’s one of the most basic features you can add to your site for optimization. The sitemap let’s search engine bots crawl your site more easily by providing a list of available URLs. Making your site easier to index helps it rank better. If you run a large website that updates frequently, you will want to make sure that your CMS is set to automatically update the sitemap when new content is posted.
Robots.txt: You’ll want a robots.txt file for identical reasons as the XML sitemap — to help crawlers do their job more efficiently. Google places a limit on the number of pages it will scan for your site. This can be problematic if you are running a large site — Google will never look at some of your pages. Furthermore, you can not tell Google which pages to index. You can, however, tell them which pages to ignore by using a robots.txt file. This increases the chances that Google will index only the important pages of your site.
Google Analytics: Although not necessary for the operation of your site, a Google Analytics account is necessary from a marketing perspective. If you want to manage your growth and impact on the Internet, or the success of a campaign — the best way is through analytics. Furthermore, the sooner you set up an account, the sooner you can begin collecting data to refer back to when running future campaigns.