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Images are not only meant for making your website look pretty, but it’s also an important factor for your search engine ranking. Images take up the largest portion of your pages, which can make it load slowly if not optimized correctly. Have you ever inserted an image onto your website from a stock photography website or your photographer, without doing anything to the image before uploading it? Believe it or not, you’re missing out on an opportunity to improve your website’s SEO.
Right after downloading an image, your first step should be to rename the file to contain keywords and valuable information. Are all of your pictures random letters and numbers? Try to avoid using photos that are named “IMG_2995.png” and replace them with words that describe what’s in the image.
I’m going to use a photographer as an example for this step! Let’s say you’re a photographer from Colorado offering wedding & lifestyle photography. In order to show up on search engines, you might want to show up for – Colorado Photographer, Colorado Wedding Photographer.
Instead of this photo being “sarahandjake2.png” (a common wedding industry mistake is just having the couple’s name on photos) it should be “Engagement-Photography-Colorado-LocationNameHere.png”. In reality, no one is going to search up sarahandjake on a search engine.
With this image, it could help improve your ranking for the key terms – engagement photography, colorado & the location name. The location name is important for the wedding industry, as some couples might already have a venue in mind and looking more into it. That’s how I personally found my wedding photographer!
Compressing images is crucial for improving SEO, yet this step is often overlooked. Large website images slow down site speed, which not only affects your visitor’s experience but can also affect your search engine ranking.
When placing images on your website, you want to decrease the image file size in order to increase your page speed. If your website is filled with high-quality images that are 10-50 megabytes (this is typically the case with photos used by a professional camera) then this will make your website speed extremely slow. Having a slow loading speed on your website will make search engines avoid showing your website. Compressing your images is very easy!
You can find a ton of image compression softwares, but my favorite is TinyPNG. There’s also the WP Smush plugin that I use for my blog. Drag & drop all of your photos to compress before uploading them to your website. Yes, even if you have to upload 500 photos. It will make a huge difference. This is also extremely important for industries that have gallery pages with hundreds of photos on them. If you don’t compress any of your photos, it will take forever for that page to load – resulting in people clicking out.
For example, this photo was originally 2.4 MB and by dropping it into TinyPNG, I saved 1MB in total.
Alt tags are a text alternative to an image, in case a browser can’t load it. It’s similar to the file name where you would describe the image. Except it should be written in plain language.
ALT text is actually required under the American Disabilities Act for people who aren’t able to view your images. This allows them to read what the image is about.
Now you know the proper steps to take, before uploading your images to your website! Keep in mind that search engines like Google, don’t physically go on your website & realize what you offer before deciding to rank you higher. They only crawl your website’s data/text and look for certain factors such as page speed – in order to rank you for keywords.