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Optimize Your Blog or Website for Image Search

by Mihaela Schwartz (follow)
Website (17)      SEO (2)      Image Optimisation (2)     
“A picture is worth a thousand words” says an ancient Chinese proverb. A sentence Frederick R. Barnard used back in the 1920s referring to the world of advertising, this saying maintains its value today, and it summarizes the importance of optimizing blogs and websites for image search.

optimize website for image search

Indeed, media files such as pictures, infographics, videos and art clips can add a lot of value to a website, both from a design and from an SEO perspective. A website that uses nice pictures to illustrate the written content is far more appealing than another one whose pages contain solely text. Moreover, people often use Google Image Search in order to make sure the page they click on offers the kind of information they were looking for.

So, properly optimizing your blog for image search can bring you a series of benefits such as a higher and more targeted traffic flow, a lower bounce rate, better position within Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), etc.

Time: Ongoing process

A blog/website
Lots of images


Image Quality
The very first thing to consider before you start any search engine optimization strategy is your images’ quality. No matter how high they will appear within SERP, a blurred or not well focused picture is less likely to attract visitors than a clear well-focused one.

alt tag for image optimization

Original Images
The topic of royal free media files has made a lot of noise in the online world. Creative commons images are valuable resources you can use to improve your pages’ design, but high quality original pictures will make your pages stand out from the crowd.

File name
Not changing the file name is a common mistake bloggers make when uploading pictures for their posts. This aspect is often overseen even by e-commerce websites’ owners, who use product numbers as file names for ease of maintenance and administration. However, you should think that very few Internet users will be searching for a SKU or a product code. Instead, they will use long tail keywords like “heart shaped silver earrings” or “handmade white and yellow scarf” in order to find a desired product.

Alt Tag Attribute
The alt tag attribute is an essential factor any sane SEO strategy should include. The text you enter in the alt tag field tells search engines what your picture is about. Try to make the alt tag as descriptive as you can, including all the details you can think of. This will help you get more targeted traffic, which means people will spend more time on your pages and buy your products (in case you are trying to sell something).

If your blog is build on a content management system like Wordpress, things are really easy as all you have to do is fill the file name and alt tag fields.

alt tag for image optimization

In case you grab some creative commons from Flickr and embed them into your pages using the HTML code they provide under the Share button, think about changing the alt tag attribute according to your needs.

alt tag for image optimization

File type and size
Images and other media files can decrease a website’s speed. This is why the choice of the appropriate file type is extremely important. The most commonly used image file type on the web is JPG because of its adjustable degree of lossless compression. JPG’s main disadvantage is that it does not support transparency, in which case PNG files are used.

Here is an example of how the same image looks if saved as a JPG (first picture) or as a GIF (the second one). While the size is almost the same (51 Kb for JPG and 54 Kb for GIF at 400 pix), the quality is obviously different. At a much greater size (251 Kb for the same amount of pixels), the PNG file provides a slightly higher quality than the JPG.

JPG image

JPG image

If you take your own pictures, it is advisable you use the highest resolution possible and then crop and resize the image according to your needs.

alt tag for image optimization

You can do this offline with Paint or Picasa, or you can use free online tools like Piknik, PunyPNG or Smushit. Although it might take a bit more time, it is advisable you avoid resizing your images in the internet browser using HTML or CSS coding. If you are using Adobe Photoshop, you have a “Save for the Web & Devices” option.

Backlinks and Anchor Text
Backlinking is a well known SEO technique, and it can be used successfully for images. If you want to optimize your website for image search, creating backlinks that point to your image files and using alternative anchor texts for each of them is a strategy you should consider.

#Image Optimisation
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