Images provide web pages with a number of benefits. They increase engagement, as people enjoy looking at visual representations of what they read. Posts with images also become more popular across social media platforms. Adding a few pictures also increases your site’s chances of showing up in image searches, which can also bring traffic to your site/
If you want to take advantage of these benefits, here is what you need to know about optimizing images for your website.
Helping the search engines ‘see’ your image
Web users can look at an image and see if the website provides what they are looking for. Web crawlers, on the other hand, cannot tell if a picture is relevant to the search. It is up to you to “paint the picture” and tell the crawlers what your picture looks like.
Taking the time to make sure search engines understand your image will also help you with some users. Some people visiting your site may have the images load improperly.
Correctly labeled and uploaded images, however, will have language that lets the user know what image should have been there. Other people on your page might use assistive devices that read the website to them. The labeling also helps these customers completely access and experience your site.
Follow these few steps to make sure your page is found by both the target audience and the crawler.
1) Insert an alt tag that is relevant to your pictures:
img width=”width” src=”http://www.juno.com/imageurl” mce_src=”http://www.juno.com/imageurl” alt=”description” height=”height”
In many content management systems, you will also have space when you upload the image to just fill in the Alt Tag directly. The Alt tag will determine how search engines will index your page. This will help crawlers identify what is in your pictures.
2) Add textual content tightly associated with your images. In most cases, the textual content will be indexed. If it is tightly coupled to the image, it will also help search engines to identify the image content.
3) Use links to provide descriptive information by inserting a title tag:
a href=”link url” title=”descriptive title”>text or image
Not only will this simple tag help determine link relevancy and boost search engine ranking, but viewers can also see the descriptive title when you mouse over the image or link text.
4) The textual content of your web page will play a role in search engine optimization. Be sure to add descriptions to your photos and gallery sections. Take advantage of forums and blogs to create “backlinks” to your pictures and gallery, this will ensure an enhanced web presence.
5) In your site, make sure the text in the links to other portions of your site matches the target that they go to. If the destination is an image, make sure the alt tag text matches the link text.
Making sure your images are user-friendly
In addition to optimizing the images to help search engines understand them and index them correctly, you also need to consider the user experience.
Customers today do not like sites that load slowly. Google has even found that as page load speed increases from 1 second to 5 seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 90 percent. Images, however, with their size and complexity can play a huge role in slowing down your site.
Fortunately, there are some best practices you can use to make sure your images are user-friendly:
- Compress the images
- Save the images as the smallest file possible– ie a simple graphic should be a JPEG and not a PNG
- Select only the best images that genuinely complement your content, and don’t use images just for image’s sake
- Make sure the image is sized correctly and not trying to load a full-sized image on a mobile device
If you follow these simple steps, you are on your way to helping web users find your website, and helping crawlers to crawl your site.
Image optimization increases your visual search visibility and can help you create a better user experience for your site visitors.
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