Bloggers know how critical it is to use sound SEO practices in order to charm traffic from the big search engines. But did you know that the images you use on your blog can also be a great source of search engine traffic?
Google Images is just one example of an image-based search engine. In fact, Google will happily display a row of image results for the keyword phrase entered – at the top of the first page of the search results.
In order to take advantage of this type of traffic, you will need to know how to properly optimize your images. Once you know this “hidden” secret for boosting SEO, you’ll never view images for your blog the same way again.
Since the search engines can’t actually see your images, it’s up to you to tell them what the photo or graphic in your blog post is. This one tip alone will put your SEO efforts ahead of the majority of bloggers out there who either don’t know, or don’t bother, with this step.
Alt text, short for alternative text, is how you can help the search engine figure out what your image is all about. Before you begin, you will want to have your keywords or keyword phrase handy.
To include alt text with your image, add: alt=”your alt text description”. In html, it will look like the following:
<img src=”shiny-red-wagon.jpg” alt=”Shiny red wagon in the driveway”>
If you are using blogging software like WordPress, adding alternative text is even simpler. When you insert an image into your blog post, click on the image then select Edit.
Under Advanced Options, you can add your alt text on the appropriate line. If you choose, you can also add a caption as well as a title tag for a little extra search engine juice.
Click on Update when you’re finished!
Now, any time someone mouses over your image, the alt text will appear.
The file sizes of the images you are using can have a massive effect on the load times of your website pages. Search engines will take this into account if your pages load slowly.
In order to maximize the speed at which your pages load, you can adjust the image file size to be as small as you possibly can without sacrificing on quality.
If you skip this step and use your browser to resize the larger image to a smaller size, it won’t help. Visitors will still have to download the larger image before it can be resized.
Another area that is easily forgotten when it comes to image SEO is the file name. You are probably used to seeing the generic file names that your camera automatically assigns your photos and the unintelligible string of letters and numbers that stock photo websites give their images.
Before you upload your image to your blog, rename the file. You can use something descriptive and include keywords, as well.
Captions themselves will not help or harm your search engine rankings. However, they do tend to be one of the most frequently read sections of your web pages, after the headlines. Well worded captions can help hold your visitors’ interest and reduce your bounce rate.
There’s no need to spend your time perfecting your blog posts only to skip out on the opportunity to maximize your search engine traffic. At most, following these basic steps will cost you just a few minutes, but the rewards will continue long after you hit “publish.”
Zoe Anderson is a marketing assistant at StudySelect. She’s keen on learning about new branding strategies and digital marketing tools.