Image optimization is the most widespread, on-page issue affecting SEO. Google takes file names, title attributes, alt tags, and captions into consideration when analyzing an image. So, for this reason, the images you choose and how you title files for SEO is a crucial strategy, and best practice, for bloggers and business owners alike.
Image from raventools.com
When it comes to file names, keep it (strategically) simple.
- Use very concise, keyword focused and detailed file names such as: my-new-calico-kitten.jpg.
- Always include the post name or title image in the first image on your site.
- Remove small words (a, the, etc.)
- Add dashes/hyphens between all words (not underscores)
- Use lowercase letters only. No numbers or characters.
ALT tags provide a text alternative to an image. They are a way to “describe” an image to those who can not see the image. Search engine crawlers also use ALT tags to decipher what an image is or what it is representing.
These tiny but mighty pieces of content assist Google in understanding what your images and associated content are all about which helps you increase image rank in searches. Here are a few suggestions for adding this information to your image files:
- Make your Alt Tag as descriptive as possible. If the image is for a header of a blog post, always us the blog post title.
- ALT tags should not be used to add keywords to your page.
- Don’t use alt tags for decorative images. Search engines may penalize you for over-optimization.
The title tag is an HTML title element critical to both SEO and user experience that is used to briefly and accurately describes the topic and theme of an online document. The title tag is displayed in two key places: Internet Browser and in the top bar of internet browsers.
- Title Tags should be short and focused.
- Title tags also display when a user hovers over an image.
Know Your Image File Types
How quickly a page loads plays a factor on a page rank as well. It’s important to have quality images that are small in file size. It is also important to use the correct file type for your images in order to keep the highest quality with the smallest size possible.
JPEGs are one of the most popular file types on the internet, mainly because they work well with very complex images such as those taken with a camera.
JPEGs actually lose their quality when they are compressed (lossy compression) but nonetheless can be compressed to quite a small size before humans can detect the loss of quality. As such, they are one of the best formats for most web graphics.
JPEGs do not however work very well with letters or lines, so are not very well suited to things like graphics or logos. They also do not support transparency. This is where some of the next formats are more useful.
GIF files are a much lower quality image than a JPEG image and are best for small decorative images and icons.
In most cases, you will not even consider using a GIF as there is no real reason. But they can have transparent backgrounds, which JPEGs cannot.
GIF’s are best known for being able to support animation effects.
This is in fact when they come in most handy.
PNG files allow for many more colors in the file than JPEG and GIF files and they do not lose quality when compressed (lossless compression) as JPEG files tend to do.
The downside, however, is that they tend to be large from the outset. A PNG file at the same quality as a JPEG is often three times as large. However, PNGs are great for things like logos and graphics and with the right compression can produce a very small image size.
By adopting some simple yet strategic approaches to titling your files, your chances of significantly impacting your bottom line skyrockets!