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One aspect of SEO that is often overlooked is the image tags and descriptions. You should always optimize images whenever you add them to your site. This includes banners, logos, photos, gifs, drawings, charts, etc. Not only do images affect what your site looks like, they also play a role in search engine optimization. Some platforms, such as WordPress, make it easy to fill out information about a photo as you upload it.
Optimizing images can also be helpful since they can show up in Google image searches when people search for the keyword. This can improve your site’s ranking overall.
Here are some tips on how to optimize images the right way.
– First, you’ll need to give each image file a title. This is especially important if you’re pulling photos right off a digital camera, as they tend to have long numbers, such as image_6932_392549. Remember to change the name when you edit the image and resize it. Use just a few words – no more than four or five and separate each word with a hyphen or underscore. The name you give it should ideally be a keyword that you are trying to optimize your site for.
– Keep the file size to a minimum. If you had someone else design a logo and/or banner for you, make sure they understand that you don’t want it to bog down your site. Sites that load quickly tend to rank higher in the search engines. Also, the longer it takes your site to load, the faster that a visitor will leave. People don’t have the patience to sit there and wait a few minutes on a single page or image to load. Use photo imaging software or tools for resizing.
– Don’t overlook alt text boxes when uploading a picture. If you see this field, it’s in your best interest to fill it out! Even if it’s obvious to you and any other user what the image is showing, it’s not obvious to the search engines. Fill out the alternative text box using important keywords. Don’t make the description too long, however. If you’re writing the HTML manually, you can create “alt=” tags.
– Only add images that are relevant to what your site is about, and image tags that are relevant to what the image displays. As with any type of content, context is extremely important with images. The photo you use should be relevant to the content on the particular page you use it on. If not used correctly, pictures can be just as spammy as text or links.
– You might want to consider creating and supplying a sitemap file for your images. Consolidating them into a single directory instead of having them spread out in numerous subdirectories and directories across your domain makes them easier to organize and work on. It also simplifies the path to all of your photos for search engines. All you have to do is name the image sitemap file something like .com/images/.
– You can optimize images off-site too if you have relevant photos uploaded to an online gallery such as PhotoBucket. Link to your site from the photos. However, if you do this, be sure to associate your URL with relevant images only and not with any personal images.
Optimizing images is something that can take some time, but it’s time well spent if you do it correctly. It can lead to an increase in traffic and help your search engine rankings.
Remember, images done the right way can provide a lot of value to your site. Make sure you’re getting the most out of them by optimizing them.
Since Bing and Google are now both offering image optimization opportunities, it’s in your best interest to optimize your photos for both search engines. On Bing alone, more than one billion image searches are performed each month by over 100 million users. Using the image search will increase your exposure and drive targeted traffic to your site. If you’re not getting enough exposure through keyword and content optimization, you can try to get it through photo optimization.
– The very first thing you need to do is find the right images. Ideally, you will want to use original photos that can’t be found anywhere else. Don’t use the same stock images as every other site on the web. In addition to pictures, you need to a unique logo as well.
– Choose an appropriate file name for each image. Think about the type of keyword users will enter in the search engine in order to find images such as yours. The file name should not be long – three words should be enough. If you took the photos yourself, DO NOT use the default DSC3433.jpg type of file name.
– Reduce the file size. You can do this with just about any photo program or tool. Remember: people browse the internet with different speeds on different types of screens. They expect everything to load quickly. If they have to wait for more than a couple of seconds for an image to load, they will go back to the search results and click on something else. The more user-friendly your site is, the better it will rank.
– Bing wants to see metadata provided with an image. A good way to accomplish this is by marking your pages up with well-known schemas, such as Microdata, Schema.org, RDFs, etc. Meta tags can also be used with content attributes. You can add more context to images to give search engine crawlers a better understanding of what your page is about.
– Use OpenGraph and Twitter Cards to attach images and other media, such as videos, to your Facebook page, Pinterest page, and Tweets.
– Optimize XML image sitemaps. This will give search engines information about your website. A technique is to use a separate sitemap to list the images, or add information about images to an existing sitemap.
If you’re not already acquiring SEO services in Canada, be sure to do so soon so that you can prepare your images for Bing’s new image search platform.