Quality content creation has emerged as the best way to achieve high search engine results and gain valuable exposure for your website or blog. More so than link building, social media, SEO tags, and other schemes, creating good quality content remains the best way to improve your search results over time. Many digital marketers spend a lot of time and resources writing great content, but don’t forget that text only content tends to be hard on the eyes. Use images to engage readers, break up text, and provide visual examples of topics discussed in the text.
And what most don’t realize is that images can boost your SEO as well. The following best practices for adding images to your website will help you get the most out of the work you’re doing, improve your content marketing for SEO and add a little eye candy for the reader.
1. No Default File Names – A lot of digital marketers make the mistake of uploading photos to their website or blog using the default file name of their images. Their website is full of photos called things like “IMG198”. It’s important to remember that these file names factor into Google search, and you aren’t getting anything out of this kind of file name. Rename your photos with strategic keywords or relevant, descriptive text. This name will factor into search algorithms and give you a boost for those terms. Make sure you rename the files before uploading them, rather than renaming them within the back end of your site.
2. Delete Old Photos – Before we get into how to get the most out of the photos you are using, it’s important to get rid of the photos you aren’t using. Many people upload files to the back end of their website and never use them on the front end. This is added weight that your server has to carry around, without any of the benefits. Deleting these photos will free up space and increase your server’s efficiency and speed. Search engines reward fast loading websites, and this is an easy way to appeal to them in this regard. Get rid of files you aren’t using, and never use your website to store images.
3. Optimize the Size – Just as unused photos are dead weight, bulky file sizes will slow down your site as well. The photos that you do use should be resized BEFORE they are uploaded so that they are as small as they can be. Resizing them from the back end of your website will only shrink them for the viewer but force the server to continue carrying around the large version. Keep your files small and your website running at top speed for SEO purposes and enhanced user experience.
4. Include Alt Text – Alt text is just that, the text alternative or equivalent of the photo. While search engines obviously cannot interpret the content of a photo, they can take cues from titles and Alt Text to determine what the subject of the photo is. This Alt Text will load when the image cannot, and serve as a cue to algorithms and users alike as to what sort of information the image relates to. Including alternative text insures that your photos will be categorized correctly.
5. Check for Context – The context of your images matters. Search engines are savvy enough to know when an image appears on a page or website that it doesn’t relate to. It won’t make you competitive for mechanics if your photo is an auto part, but listed within a website about dog training techniques. It will, however, value a page with an image that syncs seamlessly with the title of the page, the website keywords, and the text that surrounds the image. Make sure that all of these things are working in conjunction and that your image fits into a broader context that makes sense.
Adding images to every blog post and every page on your site is just good practice. No one is attracted to text only content. The eye needs those images to break up the text and help you read faster. Take a look at our other blogging best practices to ensure you’re getting the most out of your blog.