But are you optimizing your images for the search engines right now?
Images are a way to get attention from the eye. We all look at images before we start reading the text. So when somebody clicks on a link to your website – the first thing that the visitor will see is an image. So the question is – are you using this in an optimal way?
Our computers and internet are getting faster and faster so it is getting easier to load the imagines too. Some years back a visitor might have to wait a looooooong time before the page was loaded. Still we have to make sure we are not using a 20 MB image right? So remember to compress your images to the precise size.
So are you ready for an image journey? Do you have hot coffee in your cup?
1 – Optimize your images for people not search engines
I really hate to say this – because I love everything about SEO – but SEO is never a goal for a website. The goal is to sell a product, maybe a sign up for a newsletter or maybe a download. The goal is never SEO.
So when we are optimizing an image remember there are people out there looking at it. Let me present some good rules of thumbs:
- Keep them relevant – the images must be relevant to the headline and text
- Big is beautiful – an image helps the reader, it will show what the text is about and it will break up the text to make it more readable.
- Choose high quality images where people can see a clear image with details
- Optimize for the RSS feed – when somebody is using RSS feeds from your site – it gives them an opportunity to quickly scan through the content. An image will help you to create attention for a text.
- Images make us remembering a page on a website.
- Faces – when we look people we look at the faces first – this is an eye fixation. So remember that faces will get attention in an image.
- Get more ideas from heat maps here from Business Insider (You will see some differences between men and women).
2 – Optimize your pictures for search engines
Yes – I know I just said you have to optimize your images for people – but you still have to optimize your images for the search engines.
So here are some rules of thumbs you can use:
- Not too many images on a page – choose a few relevant images for a text per page. The number of images depends on the length of the text and the content.
- Use your keywords – remember to tag the image with your keyword for the page. You can use the keywords in the ALT text, in the filename of the image (no spaces in your filename but use dashes between words) in the text just around the image and page title
- Descriptions – write a long description for your image. This way when people are searching for something very specific your picture will show up as a very relevant image.
- Image freshness – many SEO gurus suggest re-uploading your images to keep them fresh. Nobody wants to look at 5 years old pictures – and the search engines think the same way.
3 – Optimize for social media
Images are the most shared content in the social media network. So this gives you an opportunity to really boost your traffic.
- Amazing images – if the image is something special people will share it. But the question is what makes an image something special? You can get inspired here – the 45 most powerful photos of 2011
- Think – evoke emotions, tickle the funny bone, surprise and make people curious. You can read more about it here and get more ideas.
- Use standard formats – the most used formats in social media are JPG, GIF and PNG. No reason to use other formats – preferring JPG.
- Publish your images on social networks – yes (of course) you have to publish your images on the social networks, so you can make it easy for people to share them there too. So go to your Google+, Facebook and Twitter accounts and publish your picture. Yes you can publish images on Twitter too.
- Use photo sites – you can use photos sharing sites like Flickr (Flickr is reported to help in Yahoo! Image optimization), Pinterest (I love this one), Picassa, Instagram, TwitPic (for Twitter), Photobucket. This way you will make it easy for people to share the image.
- If you want a Digg thumb nailed submission you will have to use (or make sure it can be resized to) 160×120 or 160×160 pixels.
- Did you notice I am using a Pinterest plugin for this website? When you put your mouse on a picture you can right away pin it on Pinterest.
Well now I have to choose some relevant pictures for this article hmm. I hope you like the picture – it is relevant.
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All the best to you, Henrik