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A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, not if the picture doesn’t get found by searchers—and what good is a picture that never gets seen? It’s important for images to rank well and get found by consumers, especially for photo-centric companies (kitchen design, home building, landscape design, etc.). Is your website full of beautiful photos? If so, awesome! Now for the next question: are your photos optimized? If not, you’re missing out on ranking opportunities.
How to Optimize Photos for the Web
There are some best practices you can follow to optimize your images for the internet.
Reduce the File Size
I’ve already written about why page load time is extremely important, especially for websites with a lot of images, like remodeling companies and more. This is why I’ll start with the file size. With tools like PhotoScape, Image Optimizer, etc., you can reduce the file size without compromising the quality of the photo. According to our awesome department of webbers (the web team), it’s generally a good idea to keep your images no larger than 100KB to keep loading time as fast as possible. But at 100KB, if the image is distorted and the quality isn’t good, keep increasing little by little so you have an image at the smallest size possible at the best quality possible.
PhotoScape also allows you to rename the picture. Which brings me to the next part…
Choose a Descriptive File Name
This is where you can use keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing, but pick a file name that has something you’d like to rank for. And stick with lowercase letters to avoid server loading errors. While search engines don’t use this, it’s thought to have some kind of positive effect on SEO.
Include a Caption
Is a photo caption absolutely essential? No. Captions won’t help a picture rank better, but they can help improve user experience and help consumers find what they’re looking for more easily. Pictures are some of the best ways to improve your content and overall website design (check it out), and adding a caption can help improve a picture’s own quality.
Add an Alt Tag
The alt tag of an image is alternative information (for those who cannot see the images in their browser) and to help search engines understand what the image is about. It is a way to describe the photo for the search engines. When you do an image search for “Breaking Bad,” the images that show up have “Breaking Bad” in the alt tag and most likely in the image title as well.
Add a Title
The image title is different than the alt text. The title provides additional information about the image, much like a regular title. Therefore, it should be catchy yet concise. Image titles can also help improve user experience.
Having photos with a good alt text, title, and file name can help you rank well in search engines and help provide users what they’re looking for (the pictures with the green checks below are one of our clients’ photos):
Both the image alt text and the title are important for users, but alt text seems more important to the crawlers. Google confirmed a long time ago that it mostly focuses on alt text when trying to decipher what an image is about.
It All Comes Down to One Thing…
The Google Webmaster team puts it well: “…supplement the “alt” attribute with the “title” and other attributes if they provide value to your users!”
It’s all about providing value for the users—that will ultimately help you rank. Besides optimizing your photos correctly, other ways to help improve user experience and conversion rates include:
One final suggestion? Make sure the images you put on your website are either your images or images you own the rights to. This way you can avoid expensive copyright infringement fines.
Here at Blue Corona, we are experts at designing beautiful websites and writing awesome content with well-optimized photos. Contact us today to learn more about our services!
About The Author: Alanna is the Quality Assurance Manager in Blue Corona's Maryland office. When she's not triple-checking websites and content for errors and consistency, you can find her at the gym with her twin sister or urban exploring with her husband.
View more blogs by Alanna Hernandez