One thing that you may forget to take into account when optimizing your website for search engines are the images that you put along with your content. An often overlooked asset for SEO, images can drive traffic to your site through Google image search results. There are a number of things that can help your placement in image search results as well as give a better experience for the user in general. Here are some things that you can do to better optimize your images.
First and foremost you need to make sure you are finding great images to use. You don’t want to use generic, dull, or uninteresting images. Images can actually help a user decide if they want to read your content or not so it is vital to use high quality ones. We’ve already written a post about where you can find the best, free stock photos on the internet, which you can read here. Of course, you can use Google search and filter Creative Commons images, but you need to be 100% sure you are legally allowed to use these images, otherwise you could be faced with some issues.
Don’t disregard the actual filename of a photo. When you go to save a photo you can sometimes be given a random file name. For example, the photo above was originally named “12662517_1117145321630226_n”. That’s not a very descriptive filename and it doesn’t help search engines at all when they go to index it. Instead naming it something like “optimize-images-seo” using dashes to separate words is extremely beneficial to SEO. Whatever the image may be, you should be using a descriptive filename for it.
As with traditional page SEO, alt text is extremely important. This is because search engines can’t read or determine what an image is about, unlike with page content you have written. So, to circumvent a search engine’s lack of human eyes, it will use things like alt text to categorize what the image is about. Ideally, you should be as descriptive as possible without making the alt text or description too long. Also, using correct anchor text is helpful for search engines. If you simply use a generic term such as “photo” to link to an image you’re not doing yourself any favors. Be sure to use keywords that are relevant to the image.
You don’t want to get caught spamming so naturally you should be using images that are actually related to what your filename, descriptions, and alt text are describing. When all of this is aligned you have a greater chance to boost your SEO.
When it comes down to it, images are just as important to optimize as is the page and content that is going along with it. Make sure all of your information for EVERY image is in order before publishing any kind of content to the web. Optimizing adds another layer of SEO to your website and is something that you should definitely not ignore.