Bloggers know how critical it is to use sound SEO practices in orderto charm traffic from the big search engines. But did you know that theimages you use on your blog can also be a great source of search enginetraffic?
Google Images is just one example of an image-based search engine. In fact, Google will happily display a row of image results for thekeyword phrase entered – at the top of the first page of the searchresults.
In order to take advantage of this type of traffic, you will need toknow how to properly optimize your images. Once you know this “hidden”secret for boosting SEO, you’ll never view images for your blog the same way again.
Since the search engines can’t actually see your images, it’s up toyou to tell them what the photo or graphic in your blog post is. Thisone tip alone will put your SEO efforts ahead of the majority ofbloggers out there who either don’t know, or don’t bother, with thisstep.
Alt text, short for alternative text, is how you can help the searchengine figure out what your image is all about. Before you begin, youwill want to have your keywords or keyword phrase handy.
To include alt text with your image, add: alt=”your alt text description”. In html, it will look like the following:
<img src=”shiny-red-wagon.jpg” alt=”Shiny red wagon in the driveway”>
If you are using blogging software like WordPress, adding alternative text is even simpler. When you insert an image into your blog post,click on the image then select Edit.
Under Advanced Options, you can add your alt text on the appropriateline. If you choose, you can also add a caption as well as a title tagfor a little extra search engine juice.
Click on Update when you’re finished!
Now, any time someone mouses over your image, the alt text will appear.
The file sizes of the images you are using can have a massive effecton the load times of your website pages. Search engines will take thisinto account if your pages load slowly.
In order to maximize the speed at which your pages load, you canadjust the image file size to be as small as you possibly can withoutsacrificing on quality.
Any number of photo editing software programs can help you with this, including some very good free tools like Pixlr Express and PicMonkey.
If you skip this step and use your browser to resize the larger image to a smaller size, it won’t help. Visitors will still have to downloadthe larger image before it can be resized.
Another area that is easily forgotten when it comes to image SEO isthe file name. You are probably used to seeing the generic file namesthat your camera automatically assigns your photos and theunintelligible string of letters and numbers that stock photo websitesgive their images.
Before you upload your image to your blog, rename the file. You can use something descriptive and include keywords, as well.
Captions themselves will not help or harm your search enginerankings. However, they do tend to be one of the most frequently readsections of your web pages, after the headlines. Well worded captionscan help hold your visitors’ interest and reduce your bounce rate.
There’s no need to spend your time perfecting your blog posts only to skip out on the opportunity to maximize your search engine traffic. Atmost, following these basic steps will cost you just a few minutes, butthe rewards will continue long after you hit “publish.”
Zoe Anderson is a marketing assistant at StudySelect. She’s keen on learning about new branding strategies and digital marketing tools.