Businesses, bloggers, writers, and pretty much anyone else who publishes materials online knows the importance of search-engine optimization. Most people recognize that the wording of titles and keywords is critical for SEO, and therefore critical for the success of posts, as it’s the best way to have it seen by as many sets of eyes as possible. However, many people tend to overlook the importance of images that accompany posts. The SEO of images can play a huge part in the success of a post, yet many don’t know how to optimize images for SEO purposes. To rectify that, here are four tips on how to maximize the SEO value of images.
Name the Image Properly
This is the first, and arguably most important, step in getting the most out of your images. You can’t just give the images on your computer any old name, and you definitely can’t just let them have a generic name composed of a bunch of random numbers and letters. Search engines do indeed check your image files for keywords, so it’s best to have the title of the image include one of the keywords that’s used throughout the post. When possible, try to be as descriptive and specific as possible. For example, you can use general terms like car or dog, but also specify the type of car or dog in the photo, perhaps even including the location, which can also be helpful for SEO purposes. In most cases, more is better when naming images.
File Size is Important
When it comes to the size of your image files, bigger is rarely better. Larger images are likely to slow down loading times on your web page, and that’s going to turn off users who want to see everything as quickly as possible. If you play around with your images on Photoshop before uploading them to the web, there are several ways you can try to reduce the size of the image without compromising quality. The least you should do it to use “Save for Web” option, as this will help to reduce the size of the file. But today, there are much more advanced online apps and WordPress plugins available for image compression. The ultimate guide to image optimization covers them all. I recommend first saving the image with Photoshop’s “Save for Web” option using the JPG format (quality set to 90). Then use one of the tools recommended in the guide linked above. It depends on your image type and size, but a rule of thumbs is keeping your file sizes under 70kb.
Type of File Matters
The three most common file types for images are JPEG, PNG, and GIF, and all have their uses, depending on the occasion. JPEG is the most common, as it produces quality images while keeping the file size relatively small. GIF is often used for animation and is best utilized for lower quality images that don’t utilize too many colors or features. PNG is better at supporting color than GIF and better at holding up over time than JPEG; however, they take up far more room, so they have to be used wisely. It’s important to determine what type of file will be best depending on the image you plan on using.
Alt Text is Essential Text
Alt text may be as important as the image file name when it comes to SEO. Alt text and captions are another way to add descriptive language about the image (in addition to the file name), and can go a long way towards improving the SEO value of your overall post. It’s also another chance to use keywords to further connect your post and image with search engine results. Don’t go overboard by inserting a long list of keywords, but do make an effort to ensure the alt text is meaningful and relevant.