Finding the right image is often the slowest part of creating a new web page. If you’re asking yourself do I need to add an image – the answer is yes! Using images on website pages makes the content more vivid, more alive. When images are optimised correctly then can help with the SEO of your website too.
The phrase ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is certainly true when it comes to the reader who visits your site. Images will always make the article look more appealing. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Google. An image can only help your Google ratings when optimised as well as possible.
Here are 5 tips to watch out for when using images on website pages.
Give yourself time to select the right image for the written piece. For example if it is about meeting the team, using a stock image of a group of super smiley people huddled around a PC will look exactly what it is – a stock image. Instead, take your own photos of the team in a more natural pose. People will connect with your website better if they can see that there are real people behind it. Likewise on other pages like news or services the images you use need to reflect the subject. Don’t just toss in an image because you like it. If it’s not relevant it will be distracting to the reader.
Once you have the right image it’s not as simple as throwing it up there – not if you want it to work for your website. From an SEO point of view the first step is to choose the right file name. This is the first place to use your chosen keyword. This way Google will know what the image is about without even seeing it. Many of us have endless images names something like IMG-0948 which means nothing. If your image is a display of the Northern Lights in Iceland and the article is about Island attractions, naming your image Iceland-attractions-Northern-Lights tells Google what the image is and how it relates to your article.
The size of your image file is equally important. Images can have a huge impact on the speed a web page loads – something that not only affects your ranking but also frustrates visitors to your website. If it’s too slow to load they’ll be gone to the next site in seconds. When you upload a large image to your website, say 2500x1800 pixels, then reduce it to a 300x180 size for the web page, your website will still have to load the full size image before it displays. It is worth taking the time to scale the image to size first before loading it to your website.
When using images on website pages don’t just stuff the image anywhere on the page, make sure it is located close to the relevant content.
Don’t dismiss the idea of adding captions to your images. When people scan web pages they are taking in headings, images, bullet points, etc. Included in these scans are image captions. Okay, adding captions takes a little bit more time when preparing your web page, but can be worth it. Even back in 2012 KissMetric said that “Captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself, so not using them, or not using them correctly, means missing out on an opportunity to engage a huge number of potential readers.” A good rule of thumb is to think of the visitor. If a caption adds value to him, it’s worth including.
You need to add ‘Alt Text’ or ‘Alt Tag’ as it’s also known to an image. This is a descriptive text for the reader if for some reason the image can’t be shown. As Wikipedia states “In situations where the image is not available to the reader, perhaps because they have turned off images in their web browser or are using a screen reader due to a visual impairment, the alternative text ensures that no information or functionality is lost.” When using images on website pages be sure to include the SEO keyword for the page in the image description too.
Your image SEO is made up of a number of elements.
Google is getting better and better at recognising these elements, which makes it important that you make sure your images are good for the user as well.
If this all makes perfect sense but you don’t have time to implement it, or you want the images on your website to be the best they can be, but working on computers just isn’t your thing – Current Content can help.