Images make your website more interesting and attractive — and they play a valuable role in your site’s SEO. The process you use to name and tag your images is just as important as the words you use in links and the search terms you incorporate into page and blog post headlines. Make your images a part of your SEO strategy by paying careful attention to the keywords you associate with those images.
Optimize Image Size and Quality
Uploading huge images to your website can make your site sluggish. Make sure your site loads quickly by optimizing the size of your images. As a general rule, images should be smaller than 100 kb. We like this plugin to help resize images quickly. While you’re editing your image for size, you should also rename the image. Keep reading.
Rename Every Image Before You Put It On Your Blog
No matter where your image comes from, it will probably have a name that won’t do you much good from an SEO perspective. For example, if you downloaded the image from an image bank, it probably has some kind of file number as the image name. If you uploaded it from your camera, it may have a filename that starts with three letters and then several numbers.
Either way, you’ll need to rename the photo to something more useful before you upload it to your website. Give the photo a name that includes a search term and keywords that are relevant to your website.
Pro tip: If you forget to rename your image before you upload it, you’ll have to rename it on your desktop and then upload it again. You can also use Enable Media Replace, a handy WordPress plugin that helps you replace images in your website’s media library without having to delete them manually.
Use Hyphens In Image Names
When you rename photos, remember that using hyphens between the terms separates them, while using underscores joins them. So if you want to boost your SEO for the term “red plaid shirt,” name the relevant image “red-plaid-shirt.” If you use “red_plaid_shirt,” Google will read it as “redplaidshirt” — and will search right over it. (The same thing happens in URLs, too, so make sure your URLs use hyphens and not underscores.)
Keep It Simple
Don’t get too fancy when naming an image, and don’t overload the image name with keywords. If it’s your company logo, a simple “XYZ-company-logo” is fine. Treat image keywords like link keywords, and use different terms over time if necessary.
Fill In the TITLE and ALT TEXT Fields
These fields are attached to your image after you’ve uploaded it to your website. Use a short sentence or phrase to describe the image, including the relevant SEO keywords you want Google and other search engines to see. ALT text displays when there’s a problem loading the image, and special browsers that read websites for visually impaired visitors use ALT text to describe what they “see”.
Make Changes When You Change Your SEO Strategy
If your organization decides to revamp its SEO strategy, don’t forget that updating images needs to be a part of the process. Go back and change the ALT tags, and consider uploading newly renamed files as well.
While Google doesn’t disclose the weight images have on search results, I do know traffic from Google Image searches resulted in about 15 to 20 percent of the traffic on my website. That’s a big deal — because if people aren’t going to my site, they’re going somewhere else.
SEO is a constantly changing science, but remembering that images have a role to play will help you get the most out of your SEO efforts. Pick relevant images, name them correctly and fill in the necessary fields to get your images to work for you.