If you want your site to rank for your chosen keywords, you need to consider many on-site and offsite factors. For example, you may take time to perform your keyword research and include primary, secondary and long tail phrases as you seek to reach your target audience. Also, you may add an image or two to your post to break up the text and illustrate your point. However, are you taking the time to optimise those images to help you with your SEO endeavours? Here are six steps you should take whenever you create your next masterpiece.
1. Always Ensure Relevancy
Don’t treat your image as an afterthought simply because it has “some” relevance. The more appealing the image is and the more closely connected with your topic, the more likely it will impress your visitors. In turn, they may be more inclined to share your content which the search engines view as a ranking factor. Ideally, use a completely original image. Although this can be harder to achieve, it is even better for SEO purposes. Certainly, you can source a royalty-free image from the many online repositories, but it may be rather generic, and people may have seen it elsewhere. It will help break up your text, but it may not be inspirational. Your plug-in may tell you that you are checking an SEO box, but you could be doing much better.
2. Choose the Best Quality Format
Search engines prefer high-quality content, which extends to your imagery and written word. If you use images that are incorrectly formatted or have low resolution, they won’t render very well, especially on tablets or smartphones. You won’t impress your visitors, and they may automatically make some wrong assumptions about your brand or organisation.
In most cases, you should use JPEG file formats as they will provide you with the highest quality but a relatively small file size. Using GIFs is not a good idea, especially for larger images. The file size will be huge and difficult to reduce, although you may be able to get away with this format for thumbnails. Many people use the PNG file format, especially the PNG-8 variety. They have a particularly small file size.
3. Reduce Your File Size
If your page takes too long to spool, you will upset your visitors and the search engine. You’re likely to get a high bounce rate as people are simply not willing to wait to see what you have on offer. Instead, use a smaller image with a high resolution and remember that the search engines want you to account for smaller mobile devices when you add pictures. You can always offer your visitors the option to click a link to get an enlarged version. If you have a favourite image that is too large, look for one of many online tools that will allow you to optimise accordingly.
4. Add the Relevant Information
Ensure that you give each image a detailed description and a title. This should be far more comprehensive than a simple alt tag and descriptive than the filename itself. Get into the habit of writing a caption to post underneath your image. Most people do not realise that captions are also crawled by search engines — but don’t go overboard. Some people use misleading captions to attract readers, which may only elevate your bounce rate. However, people may be more inclined to read a caption than get into the text or at least use the caption to determine whether the particular piece should be of interest.
Define the context of the image as it relates to your written content. Describe what they see and why it affects the surrounding text. This will help readers focus on your content and stay around to read it all. Remember, the longer someone stays on your page, the better from an SEO ranking perspective.
When it comes to alt text, don’t overlook it. This text is displayed when a user cannot access the image for whatever reason. Again, use a relevant phrase that can boost your content in the eyes of the search engine.
5. Sequence Your Image Downloads
When you have multiple images to display, it’s a good idea to sequence them so they can be downloaded and displayed correctly. You should ensure that the larger images (sometimes called the “hero”) are downloaded first, followed by any other images that appear above the fold of your page. Then, add pictures just below the fold and treat the rest of your photos next. To see if your images are downloading in the correct order and sequence, you can look at the Page Speed Insights report provided by Google.
6. Create a Pinnable Image
Social media sharing is certainly a ranking factor for SEO, and you should ensure that you add relevant buttons to your page. If you make it as easy as possible for people to share and even suggest that they do so, that’s ideal. Create a pinnable image, and you can always use one of the many templates you can find online. Refer to Pinterest for the site’s latest specifications and dimensions. Try to incorporate your primary key phrase when you name this particular image.
Getting Professional Help
It can be tough to rank for any keyword, but the more effort you put into optimisation, the more likely you are to succeed. If you haven’t paid much attention to image optimisation in the past, now is the time to start — see whether it can give you a much-needed boost in those search engine ranking pages.
If you need any additional help, reach out to the experts at Amire. They can provide you with customised training, act as your optimal digital marketing partner, and help you stand out in a sea of competitors.