SOCIAL MEDIA / OCT. 07, 2014
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How to Optimize Images

Whether you have a blog or a website, you know the importance of writing valuable content. You can research topics that interest your readers and provide content that’s fresh and insightful, which is how you grow your community, and ultimately increase awareness and revenue for your brand. 

But while content is king, don’t underestimate the value of including images or photos on your site. When people visit your website or blog, an image provides visual stimulation. It might be the first thing they notice upon stumbling on your site. And if you can captivate their interest, they’ll stick around and read your content, which translates into loyal customers. 

However, it isn’t enough to take a few photos and post these on your site. As a blog or website owner, you already know the importance of optimizing content for the web. Along with providing grammatically correct and interesting content, you may naturally incorporate keywords into your work. For example, if you’re writing about credit repair, appropriate keywords might include, "improving credit," "increasing your credit score," or "fixing bad credit.’ If Internet users conduct an online search using these keywords, search engines can direct them to your site. It’s a cheap, effective way to advertise. 

But, what about your images? Should you also optimize these for the web? Absolutely.

Optimizing images can take your search engine optimization efforts to the next level, which can help your website rank higher on the search engines and increase your page views. And the more page views you receive, the more you’ll earn. 

Here are simple tips for optimizing images for the web. 

Give Images a Title

When you take a photo, your camera automatically assigns a file name to this photo, which is usually a long number, such as IMG_265_57544, or some other variation. When posting photos to your blog or website, you can keep this original file name. However, this file name doesn’t help your SEO results. Instead, give each photo a unique file name that incorporates a keyword. For example, for your credit repair site, appropriate file names for each image might include:

  • fixing_your_credit
  • increase_FICO_score
  • establish_a_credit history
  • improve_low_credit_score

Use a Hyphen or Underscore Between Words

Ideally, image file names should include between two and five words. When naming your file, it’s crucial to use a hyphen or underscore between each word. Because search engines don’t read spaces, a file named "fixing your credit" might be understood as one long word, which doesn’t help your SEO efforts. With a hyphen or underscore between each word, search engines recognize each individual word in your image title. 

Use Alt Text

Giving images a title is a good start, but you shouldn’t stop here. When uploading an image to your blog or website, an alternate text box will appear. Some people bypass this box and leave it blank. However, adding an alt text or a description helps search engines understand your photos. This is the perfect opportunity to insert additional keywords which can improve your search engine ranking.

Reduce Image Sizes

You may think that bigger is better, but it takes websites longer to load large image files. Therefore, if your images are too big, visitors may become impatient and leave your site. And if your load time isn’t fast, search engines might penalize your site resulting in a lower ranking. After posting an image, pull up your site and assess how long it takes for the site and photos to load. If it takes longer than a few seconds, reduce your image size using your computer’s image viewer or another image application. 

Bottom Line

A picture is worth a thousand words. For that matter, the right images on your site coupled with the right optimization techniques can improve your SEO results and increase traffic to your website. 

What image optimization tips have worked for your website? Your thoughts and comments below please…

 

Image Credit: Flickr

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