You have found the perfect photo for your web site. You have sized it, cropped it and uploaded it. Your work is over, right?
Not so fast…
The images you select for your web site can make or break how your site looks, but how you upload and name that photo for search engine optimization (SEO) will actually determine whether people land on your site or not. When you upload a photo on your website, there are several fields you can fill out to best direct how search engines find you. WordPress, in particular, has several fields that you probably ignore that can make a huge impact in the discoverability of your site.
We pulled together an overview of the top ways to supercharge your SEO with the images on your site:
1. Give your photo a title
Many photos don’t have clear titles. Sometimes, whether you’ve gotten the images from a photographer or right from your camera, your image can be titled Image_3456_5122014 or some other long numbered name. Don’t just keep the long, complex number-filled label! The easiest way to kickstart your photo SEO is to title it something relevant to what is in the image (or what is in the article).
Naming your file properly is not only easy, it is essential. Try 2-5 words for the file name and separate them by hyphen or underscore. (Separating words makes sure that search engines recognize distinct words instead of trying to understand onebigwordputtogether.)
2. Remember that Alt Text is your friend
Ever spotted the “Alternative Text” box when you upload a picture? Don’t just breeze past it! Get ready to meet your new photo SEO best friend.
Yes, you know that the photo you uploaded for your article on reducing stress is a picture of a girl smelling a flower because she is relaxed, but a search engine doesn’t know that. You have to tell it! Cue Alt Text. Search engines use Alt Text to understand images. The Alt Text box is usually one of the first options you can fill out when you upload an image. You can also add this directly in your HTML by simply adding “
alt="this is your alt text"” to your image tag. You can put in additional keywords when you are adding the descriptions of the images, too.
3. Watch your file size
Giant images will SLOW down your site’s loading time. Viewers will not like it if your site doesn’t load fast, and neither will search engines. Quickly check the size of your image before saving it. If it is a large file, and doesn’t necessarily need to be viewed in full screen on your site, consider reducing the file size. Use photoshop, or your computer’s image viewer, to reduce the size easily. Easy instructions here.
3. Don’t forget image captions
Just like Alt Text, captions matter. If Google finds an image without a descriptive file name, it may just grab surrounding copy which might make no sense in terms of the image. Captions help Google learn about the image, and help you direct Google on what it is learning about the image. Keep it short and sweet, and again, use your keywords!
5. Choose the right images
Most importantly, choose images that are not only beautiful but that also fit in within the context of your site! Don’t put a giant image in the middle of your site just for the sake of it. Don’t choose images that aren’t aligned with your site aesthetic and that are too large (that might slow down your loading time). And, always, pay careful attention to attributing sources and photographers correctly.
Don’t leave your images hanging! Using these steps, you can easily optimize them so they can rank higher in search. An image may be worth 1000 words, but on the web it is only worth it if it gets eyes on it.