The best content is a happy marriage between text and imagery that whisks a reader through a blissful user experience. Too much text makes readers grow impatient and move on to more digestible material; too much emphasis on photography causes search engines to have trouble indexing and ranking your site.
Did you know… articles with images get 94% more views – JeffBullas.com
So, what is the proper balance?
You want to aim for at least 300 words for a webpage and 500 words for a blog post, but add images to break up the text. There are no hard and fast rules on precisely how many images to add, but we feel an image for every 200-300 words is a good guideline. If you really want to get some Google love for your blog posts and pages, make them 1,000 words or more. Be sure to include enough images and/or videos to break up the mass amount of text as no one likes reading a long page of just text! BORING!
Continue reading to discover some of the top image SEO tips…
Keywords & Image Names
Image optimization is similar to content optimization in that you want to research and use good keywords in the image names to flag down search engines; so when people do an image search, your article comes up. Here are a few tips on naming images intelligently by using keywords:
- Use a descriptive keyword in the file name. (Example: best-lasagna-recipe.jpg, not image001.jpg)
- Use hyphens, rather than CamelCasing, underscores or plus signs. (Example: oregon-pinot-noir-wine.jpg)
- Avoid stop words that lack keyword value in your image name. (Example: nut-lover.jpg, not the-nut-lover.jpg)
- Whenever possible, use a more specific description. (Example: gluten-free-cookie.jpg, not cookie.jpg)
- If you have a brick-and-mortar location, incorporate geo data. (Example: Buffalo-NY-pizza.jpg, not pizza.jpg)
- Keeping on that same geo-local topic, mix it up with your local descriptions. (Example: Buffalo-New-York-pizza.jpg AND best-pizza-in-Buffalo-NY.jpg AND pepperoni-pizza-Buffalo-NY) Use state abbreviations, the full state name, city abbreviations, and the full city name plus try different variations like “in” and “around.”
Certain web browsers like Lynx or WannaBe never show graphics, so users rely on ALT-text to skim through your page. Some mobile users or people browsing at work prefer not to view images automatically as well. Similarly, search engines do not see the images we post; they only see attributes like ALT-text. Here are a few tips for optimizing:
- Limit ALT-text to 120 characters (including spaces) or about 8-10 words.
- Use one best keyword at the start of the ALT-text.
- You can use a slightly different keyword phrase from the image name
- Try being descriptive. (Example: Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog)
- Use geo-local keywords. (Example: San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog)
Image Quality & Load Time
A good image loads quickly, but appears in high definition, without sacrificing quality. To achieve that end:
- Use JPEG rather than PNG or GIF file extensions.
- Resize images before uploading so they don’t take up too much space. You can use tools like picresize.com and jpegmini.com
- In Photoshop, use “save for web” to compress, without compromising quality.
- If you don’t have Photoshop, edit images with PicMonkey, Pixlr, Picnick, Fotoflexer or GIMP.
- Try a program like Skitch to adjust the dimensions of a photo and compress the size.
- If you have a WordPress website, squish existing images with the plugin Smush It.
- Upload images directly to your site, rather than linking to another site via URL.
- Deliver your image files via a CDN like Cloudflare or Max CDN.
- If you have a WordPress website, try managed WordPress hosts like WPEngine (our current hosting provider).
- Use the PageSpeed Insights tool in Google Analytics to monitor load times.
Check out this awesome infographic on images by MDGadvertising
Image Site Maps
– Image URLs
– Image Captions
– Image Geographic Location
– Image Titles
– Image Licenses
Note: If you need help developing your sitemap, contact Mod Girl Marketing to learn how easy it is!
A Word About Captions
While captions do not seem to factor into Google results, they are significant because they tend to be the most-read pieces of copy on the site. A reader’s eyes naturally gravitate toward the images first, so providing calls to action or important points in your captions is an important step in decreasing your page’s bounce rate and making the best use of space.