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"A picture paints a thousand words", we've all heard the saying but did you know website images can also be used to improve your SEO efforts? But, for this to happen, they must be optimised correctly.
Many people neglect image optimisation, which is a mistake as it is a key factor in website SEO and can make a big difference to your organic traffic.
Here we look at why images are so important and how to get the best from them.
First things first, your content needs an image related to the same subject as your text. The reason for this is: a picture surrounded by relevant text, ranks far better for the keyword that it is optimized for, so while a photo of puppies might look cute if it doesn't relate to your business, don't use it!
Another thing to consider is quality, users don't want to see poor images on your website it screams unprofessional and reflects badly on your business always make sure the image you choose can be viewed on multiple devices, has good resolution and is the right size, and has the correct aspect ratio.
Try to add your own images, if possible. Your "About Us" page should have pictures of you and your team, not cheesy stock photos which make your site look characterless and have probably been used thousands of times all over the web. Remember Google likes original!
If you can't use your own images there are still ways to find unique and relevant images without using stock photos. Flickr, for example, is a great place to find images that can be used under a Creative Commons Licence These images can be integrated into your website as long as you give credit to the original owner, make sure you also check the conditions of use as there are various types of CC Licences
If you do need to use stock photos there are a number of free resources here.
Be careful when using images from Google search, even though they might appear to be copyright free and you credit the source, they may originate from Getty or Shutterstock and you could incur a fee further down the line. It is best to filter your results simply click on Search Tools, then click on Usage Rights and select Labeled for Reuse.
Of course, all images need not be photos info-graphs, illustrations and animated GIFs, which are becoming increasingly popular can also improve your content. If you have a Mac Gif Grabber is an excellent tool to make great Gifs for free and you can find a number of free info-graph tools here.
So, you have your chosen image and you're ready to upload it onto your site, but why does it need to be optimised?
This picture is 158kb
While this one is a mere 78kb with almost no deterioration in quality
Here is an example of alt text:
Not bad: <img src="cat.png" alt="cat in basket">
Better: <img src="cat.png" alt="cat sleeping in basket">
Best: <img src="cat.png" alt="tabby and white cat sleeping in wicker basket">
You can find some useful tips on how to nail your alt tags here
Of course, not all the visual content you will use on your website will be static images, videos are shown to be a popular way of engaging users and are becoming extremely popular. Once again Google, while it may seem to be the fountain of all knowledge, can't get to grips with audio or video so needs help with understanding what it is, you are offering the user. Videos require transcripts and closed captions for the search engines to index them accordingly but that's a whole other article.
Image optimization is an essential part of your website's SEO but the good news is, it's not difficult and takes just a few minutes, each time you upload a picture. However, if you have a large website with a lot of images that have not been correctly optimised it is going to take a while.
Search Rise are experts in all aspects of SEO including image optimisation so if you'd like to know more, get in touch today.