#8 SEO For Images - Yes It's Important Too
Optimizing Images for SEO Guide
Today I’ll be talking about how to make images or “rich media” SEO-friendly with this SEO guide.
Adding images to your blog post is one of the easiest and most effective thing you can do to grab hold of your reader’s attention.
After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Not only do they help emphasize the points you want to make in your writing, they make your post more memorable, break up the text for easier reading and can give you a bit of on-page SEO boost if used correctly.
But What is Alt Text?
Alt text is basically short form for alternative text. It means that when your image is not able to be seen normally on the web, the “alt” text will display alternative information about the image. Since search engines cannot see the images, it is what they rely on when trying to understand what the image is about. Without alt text, an image would be displayed as an empty icon.
When adding images to your post, you should always include alt text and this is often easily done through a blogging platform, like WordPress.
What Does Alt Text Look Like?
Alt Text HTML code looks something like this: <img src =”http://sample-image-url.com” alt=”this is where you put the alt text”/> Let’s look at some examples: Let’s say you have site that targets the keyphrase “retirement home” and you have a blog post with a picture of a elderly gentleman.
You know you need to add alt text, so what do you write? The first example gives a file name for the image but provides no additional text descriptive. <img src=”man.jpg” alt=””/> The second example, does give a basic description <img src=”man.jpg” alt=”old man”/>
The third, and best example, tells the reader (and the search engines) what the image is about. If you could not see the image, you could still visualize it based on the description. <img src=”retiree.jpg” alt=”old man playing cards at retirement home”> The last example is to be avoided at all costs.
It is what Google sees as keyword stuffing and can result in your site being classified as spam by the search engines. <img src=”old man.jpg” alt=”retirement home, old man, cranky man, retired man, cranky old man, retired old man, cranky retiree, cranky gentleman, cranky old gentleman, retired old gentleman, place for retired old man, home for retired people”/>
Use the alt text attribute to provide a short, accurate description of the image. The alt text should describe the image, and it should make sense to someone when the image isn’t displayed.
The key is to be descriptive in nature with no more than 12 words. Placing your image as close as possible to the part of your text that it is meant to enhance, the better.
Adding alt text to the image is helpful for search engines as well as in situations where the reader would not be able to see images through their browser.
It can offer an SEO boost by using your keywords in the description, however, stuffing long lists of keywords in the alt text will simply dilute it’s usefulness and could get you into trouble.
More Ways To Optimize Your Images In addition to alt text, there is also an image title attribute. The image title attribute does not weigh as heavily as image alt text in ranking your images but it does help.
When a reader moves their mouses over an image, a little yellow box will pop out explaining the image.
An image title is not meant for keyword stuffing either. It’s meant for you to help readers understand why you put the image there, what’s it for and what it says.
The way it affects search engines should not be made a focus even if it affects your image rankings a bit.
What Does A Title Attribute Look Like?
Image title attribute HTML code looks something like this:
<img src=”http://your-url-here.com” alt =”sample alt text here” title=”your title text here”/> Resizing Images: While no ideal image size is described anywhere in Google’s Guideline. it’s been noticed, that images sized from 300×200 to 1200×900 pixels tend to perform the best.
The general rule that applies here is that the image should be neither too big, nor too small, otherwise Google will consider them inconvenient for the users to view.
Larger images will also increase the time it takes for your page to download, which often frustrates visitors.
The easiest way to resize is to resize the image before you download and insert them into your posts. Just resizing an image within your post does not reduce the file size enough.
In addition if you make sure to use proper Width and Height attributes (when you insert your image in the post) you are telling the search engines and browser how many pixels wide or long.
The benefit of using these attributes is that they decrease the time it takes for your site to load.
Does The Image File Name Matter?
The file name of your image can give search engines clues about the subject matter of the image. Try to make your file name a good description of the subject matter of the image.
For example, my_new_red_shoes.jpg (adding an underscore of slash as a space) is a lot more informative than IMG00023.JPG.
Often if a search engine is unable to find suitable text in the page on which they find the image, they use the file name as the image’s snippet in the search results.
I would advise that before you upload any image, change the file name first into the best description possible for the specific image you have. Search engines have a difficult time interpreting the content of images.
The more relevant text you include around the image itself, the easier it is for search engine spiders to interpret the content of the image.
The alt text and title attributes provide some alternate text to describe the image if a browser has image loading disabled.
And since most search engines use the alt attribute is their primary point of focus when trying to understand the content of an image, it can give your on-page SEO a nice boost.