5 Ways to Optimize Images on a Website or Blog

    by Rebecca Churt

    Date

    April 21, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    There is no doubt that images on your website, in addition to content, can enhance your SEO - if done right. Just like content, Google can index images and make them available in organic search.

    Here are 5 things to keep in mind when working with images on your website and blog.
     

    1. Pick an Appropriate Image

    When selecting an image for a website page or blog post make sure that your image relates to the content, topic and theme. An image can help to visually relay a message and at the same time draw in your readers . The image doesn't necessarily have to relate to the content literally, it can serve as a creative interpretation, a way to generate curiosity. So next time you add an image, give it some extra thought.

    2. Name the File Appropriately

    Sticking with the theme of your content, pick a related keyword or keyword variation related to the content of your blog post or webpage. This has become more important with regards to how images are ranked in search results.

    optimized blog image file name

    In this example a website was generating a lot of traffic from Google Images for the keyword "handcuffs," which is odd because they are neither in the law enforcement field nor in the kinky toys business. What had happened was that a blog post about how reduced budgets were handcuffing you to goverment used an image of handcuffs, which worked in this context, but was just poorly named. Note that Google in this case is citing the "location", aka file name as associated with the word "handcuffs."

    Clearly the intent was not to generate a lot of traffic for the word handcuffs, however, since Google has to rely on textual cues as to what an image is about, you have to be as clear as possible about how the image relates to the content. By the way, notice how not a single visitor converted from that traffic source (and more than likely they won't) because those users are not the target/intended audience.  

    3. Apply Alt Text

    This is the name that will appear in association with the image. It's an additional way for search engines to identify what the image is about. Be sure to be descriptive with this text, as well, and do not overstuff the alt text with keywords. The point is to be clear and descriptive as to what the image is about and how it relates to your content. Generally this can be conveyed with five words or less.  

    4. Image File Size

    Most users like to view larger images, don't make me squint. However, it's important to keep a balance between an image being large enough and enjoyable to view, while at the same time not being TOO large. First option: Resize large images before uploading and inserting them. Just resizing an image within your blog does not reduce the file size enough. A file size of an image should be under 25k. Note that you can see the dimensions of an image through the image source and see that even when it's scaled down to a thumbnail it is still rather large (see dimensions of the first image above). Second option: Ideally the image would have been resized rather than scaled down. If you can edit the HTML of an image, it should instead appear as <img width="106" height="72" src="name.jpg" alt="name" />. Here you are indicating the precise size of the image through HTML, which is clearer for search engines this way and overall helps with page load time.

    5. Maintain an Appropriate Image to Text Ratio

    Your blog posts and your website pages should not be cluttered with images. Simple rules! Now, imagine if none of those images on your website were visible. Does your content still convey the message without them? The best practice is to have at least one image above the fold, typically aligned on the left or right so that the content wraps around your image, and your content can shine.

    Marketing Takeaway:

    • Use your content with complimentary images to convey a concept or story.
    • Focus on your target audience/user first and foremost.
    • Be clear and descriptive, with content and images.

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