Use Of Images

Images have the ability to add aesthetics to a dull website full of text. Pictures can keep visitors engaged longer in a website if used properly. Images are used to enhance the website visually, but there are also ways to use images for SEO. There are some guidelines to follow when naming, uploading, inserting and describing the image for your website. This is because search engine crawlers are blind. They cannot see images. The only way they can recognize the relevancy of an image is through text. This is an aspect of SEO that many beginners overlook when it comes to image files.

Images And SEO

The procedure for optimize images can be split into two parts. The two categories are the front and the back, or what visitors can see (the image) and what visitors cannot see (the back).

The Front

First, choose the image you want for the website. Keep the picture relevant to the rest of the content for each webpage. Try to use original pictures by taking them yourself. If that’s not possible, I would advise to buy pictures online that are not used by others often to help your website standout more. Use high quality pictures that are clear and direct.

When it comes to presentation, it is best to avoid inserting images in headings due to the SEO value associated with these areas. Otherwise, you may place the images anywhere else based on your preference. The most common areas are above the text content or before the start of a new paragraph. Most blog sites place images on the right side of the webpage and leave the textual content on the left side.

The Back

Once you have selected the images for your website the next step is renaming the image file using keywords. It is advisable to leave out words like “the, a, an, and, etc.” Stick to relevant keywords. This is important because search engines nowadays allow image search. If you have a picture of a dog, but you named it cat, chances are it will be placed in the wrong category. This can be very misleading for both the search engine and the visitor.

Uploading The Image

There are some things to consider throughout the entire upload process. It is a good idea to compress the image to a smaller file. This will contribute to faster page load speed, which is a factor in SEO. Next, is the type of image format you want to use for the picture. The basic image formats are jpg, gif and png. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses depending on the type of image file you will be uploading.

It is important to use the alt attribute text, or the tag, when giving a description of a picture. This is also where it would be a good idea to insert keywords. Search engine crawlers use the alt attribute text as a point of relevancy when going through a website. There are a few guidelines to take note of when using alt attribute text such as the following:

  • Keep the alt attribute text under 150 characters, including spaces
  • Don’t use the image file name as the description in the alt attribute text
  • With regards to keyword relevance, search engines put more emphasis on the keywords used at the beginning of the alt attribute text compare to the end

Other Factors To Consider

The image title attribute is the set of words that a visitor sees when they place the cursor over the image. This is another part that can be optimized for search engine purposes. The use of image caption is optional, however it is best to avoid using the same text or set of keywords that were used in the alt text attribute and the title attribute.

Keyword stuffing should be taken into consideration when using images because there are many places to insert keywords. It is a beneficial to keep a healthy keyword ratio but not too high, otherwise the website may get penalized. It’s important to broaden the set of keywords while still maintaining its relevancy to the rest of the content.