3 image hacks to improve your SEO today

SEO – it’s the latest craze right? Okay, so it was the latest craze like 4 years ago, but I’m not in-the-know with what the kids are into.  Like “discovering” cool new bands to drinking iced coffee, I’m late to the party, but that means that I have a wealth of information at my disposal when I finally catch on. So you know that the tips below are tried and tested. Let’s jump into three things that you can do today with your images to improve your website’s SEO.

Number 1: resize your images

Big images mean slower load times (read more about that here). And websites that load slowly are punished by search engines. So speeding up your page load times will make Google like your site more and so rank higher than your slower loading competition.

For images that take up the full width of the screen you should aim for between 1600 and 2000px across max. And for images that are half the screen width or less you can get away with as small as 800px across or stick with 1000px across max. Depending on the type of image, where it is on your page, what your website is about and if your traffic comes mostly from desktop or mobile.  For example: my site has about half desktop and half mobile traffic so I can’t get away with the smallest image size, because they still need to look crisp on large screens. But I’m not a photographer so my images can be less high res.  For the banner images on my site I went with between 1700 and 1800px across.

Number 2: rename your images

The little bots that crawl around the internet on behalf of search engines gathering up all the information on your website take a good look at the names of your images. So it’s a good idea to name them so they work hard boosting your site’s SEO behind the scenes. 

The images you get from photographers are usually named something like “CodePuffin_BrandShoot_4.png” if you’re lucky or more likely “20200121_121037.png” if you’re not lucky. It’s good to name them according to the page they are on and include your business name e.g. codepuffin-about-amy-1.png.  This also makes them easy to search for when you need to find them in your media library again later on.

Number 3: complete image alt tags

Alt tags are words that show up instead of an image when it fails to load. More importantly, they’re used by screen readers for users with visual impairments.  They really add to the user experience when needed so Google rewards sites that have their image alt tags filled in.  Completing them means your site will earn more brownie points from Google than your competitors who don’t have them filled in.  It also adds another avenue for potential clients to find you because it helps the images on your site be indexed properly to show up in Google searches.

Alt tags need to describe the image in fewer than 125 characters.  Imagine describing the image to somebody who can’t see it. Be specific and describe the subject of the image keeping the context in mind. So focus on what you see, but also why it’s there.  In other words focus on the parts of the description that are relevant to its usage on the page. You can go into 3 pages of detail describing a single image, but we need to summarise and focus on the most important aspects to convey the feeling and purpose of usage of the image as well what you actually see.

There is so much more to SEO than just these three little things, but sorting out this stuff on your site will make a difference.  It may even be the thing that pushes you a ranking or two up the list on Google.  And that’s what we all want isn’t it?  On our way to the number one spot, of course!

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