A regular exercise here at Kinetic Knowledge is to review traffic analytics. Sure we look at the page view counts, but 1) where people come from, 2) what they were looking for and 3) what content interests them the most … is the powerful information we can really use! Strangely enough, we find our images are generating traffic?!
You may or may not know it, but search engines aggressively index and people often search … images! It’s proven that good pictures can drive visitors deeper into your website’s content – raising the odds for conversion, but what if those same images could attract them to your website in the first place?!
The 4 Fundamentals Of Image Optimization
Image Optimization Best-Practice #1: Descriptive File Tags
When loading an image up to your website FIRST be sure to save it with a descriptive file name. What is a descriptive file name? It’s certainly not ‘D%22DannyAdams%20PIC_CofC1.jpg’, but take this (digitally produced) file name and re- save it to your desktop as ‘Downtown-Gatlinburg-TN.jpg’ or maybe ‘Navesink-Theme-For-WordPress.jpg‘ and it becomes easy for search engines to identify & index (demonstrated in the video below)!
Image Optimization Best-Practice #2: Descriptive Alt Tags
Good websites offer a means to tag and/ or describe image files (without having to know page code techniques) and YOU should be in the habit of using them! The ‘ alt ‘ attribute is important because it is acquired into website code as a description of the image. Using the above Gatlinburg TN example, a descriptive alt tag might look something like this <img src=”Downtown-Gatlinburg-TN.jpg” alt=”Main Street View Downtown Gatlinburg TN”> or with the dog above … alt=”Yellow Labrador NJ Shore”> . And when possible, descriptive title and caption attributes will also support. WARNING! Do not keyword stuff the alt tags because search engine algorithms are not stupid!
Image Optimization Best-Practice #3: Descriptive On Page Context
The page where an image lies, particularly the content around the image, will also provide search engines with descriptive subject matter information. Try to place images near relevant text. For (a bad) example, placing a Polar Bear’s picture on a page about ‘Waikiki HI Real Estate‘ sends a confusing message to search engines who are only interested in indexing information correctly for their searchers! My image of the dog above, again, may NOT be the best example.
Image Optimization Best-Practice #4: Anchor Text Links
Back links to a page on your website buried in descriptive anchor text reflect how (in theory) another person views that page, including its images! While * organically * you can’t control how others will link to your pages, you can certainly use the practice within you own site. For instance, I am burying a link in the phrase ‘ Anchor Text ‘ here to a page describing best practice. And there’s nothing wrong with this practice, it can improve user experience. Search engines more than ever before strive to reward content that demonstrates good user experience!
NOTE: While it’s no longer the only search engine, Google can index the following image types: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP and SVG.
This video above specifically describes best practices for upload to and optimization of images in WordPress.