Image Optimization: A Simple but Essential Step in Your SEO Plan
Search engines are geeks; they love to read, and that’s why content is the main thing when it comes to SEO.
It’s true that using gazillions of catchy images makes your website more visually appealing to visitors. Unfortunately, search engines couldn’t care less about how cool your website looks, and unless the images are optimized to be readable for the crawlers, your SEO will suffer.
Sites designed with tons of images require specific optimization techniques to get properly listed by the major search engines. Some of those techniques are:
Image Optimization Begins Before You Go Online
Altering images within the site’s code is a common mistake webmasters make all the time. Alterations made within code don’t change the amount of data your user’s computer has to download, so avoid uploading a huge image file then reshaping it to fit a small space on screen. Instead, resize your images within the file and reduce them to the size you’re going to need for the page.
Keywords in File Names Also Count
Having your own labelling system may be great for organizing files in your computer, but it doesn’t help with SEO. Make sure you re-label your files to reflect their content before uploading. Don’t stuff keywords and keep the names relevant. Use hyphens or underscores to separate the words in your file names to ensure that search engines parse your keywords properly.
Include Page Title
Every page, whether it’s a page full of content or just a photo gallery, needs a unique page title that incorporates keywords relevant to the content on your page. A title at the top of your page is visible to the crawler, the pics under it aren’t.
Avoid Designing Navigation Links in Images
One of the engines’ favorite way to determine what a page is about is through the visible and clickable text in a hyperlink, so never, I repeat, never have navigation menus made of images – they may look nice but search engines won’t bother to try and read them.
Craft The Alt Text
Alt text is a great place to put the keywords that fit your image. Not only does this help the search engines understand the purpose of the image, it also provides information to site users who are unable to see the image.
Don’t Overdo It
Some websites push image optimization too far, jamming keywords into descriptions of images that don’t really fit the content. Remember that a light touch is needed for SEO, as a heavy touch could see your site penalized. This applies as much to images as it does to anything else.
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