Oh, SEO. You tricky devil you. Chances are if you’re a blogger trying to get more page views and/or monetizing your blog, you’ve heard about SEO – or Search Engine Optimization – and how awesome it is. As the name suggest it’s all about getting that Google juice and making it easy for people to find you on search engines. There’s lot of articles on optimizing blog posts but today I thought I’d talk about how you can optimize images for SEO, specifically.
In order to make sense of some of the SEO rules there’s one key thing you need to know first. When Google’s (and Bing’s and Yahoo’s) bots are crawling through your site they’re, in essence, blind. They can read all of your text but they can’t see images or graphics. So the key when you’re uploading images onto the web is making it easy for the bots to know what the images are about by providing descriptive text.
Naming Your Images
The very first thing you have to do in order to SEO your images, before you even think about uploading them! – is giving your images descriptive names. By defaults cameras name images something along the lines of “IMG0001.jpeg” and software programs default to “untitled01.png”. These titles are not descriptive at all – just open up a new tab on your browser and search for IMG0001… what do you get? A bunch of random images.
That’s probably not where you want to find your images. Instead, name your images something like “chicken-blt-sandwich-01.png”. The image for this post is named “optimizing-images-seo.jpg”. Make sure you use hyphens (-) in between words. Bots do not know how to separate character strings in names – they read the whole character string as one, whereas hyphens are read as spaces thereby providing words instead of jumbled character strings.
Using ALT Attribute
ALT Attributes are SUPER important for image SEO. What is the ALT attribute? ALT stands for Alternative Text and they are used to describe an image. For example, when someone is using screen readers or has images blocked on their browsers, this is the text that will be read and/or displayed. So why is it important for SEO? Remember how I told you bots can’t see images? Instead they use the ALT attribute to know what images are about so it’s key to use these tags and even more important to use your keyword on here. So how do you add the ALT attribute?
Note: You don’t have to use hyphens in the ALT Attribute, just your image name!
If you’re in the text/HTML mode all you have to do is add the following bit (in red) for your image tags. <img src=”http:….” alt=”optimizing your images for seo” />
Are you not comfortable with the Text/HTML mode when typing up a post? No problem! Both Blogger & WordPress make it super easy to add the ALT attribute to your images.
On Blogger, once you’ve added an image, click it and you’ll get a menu with options. Click “Properties”. A new window will pop up, simply add the ALT text on there.
On WordPress, when you’re adding an image or new media, the options will show up immediately after the image is finished uploading off to the right on your media gallery. Add the ALT text on there.
In the images above you probably saw a field for “Title” – image titles used to provide more information about your element, in this case images. This attribute is used for to add more descriptive text for your image – ever hovered over an image and get a tooltip text, telling you about the image? That’s the title attribute in use.
However, search engines tend to focus much more on the ALT attribute but keep in mind that adding your keyword to both your ALT and your title attribute is considered keyword stuffing and you’ll get penalized by search engines. So if you’re going to use the title attribute, don’t just copy/paste the text from the alt attribute – instead use it to compliment the alt attribute and further describe your image for usability purposes.
So that’s how you optimize images for SEO – it’s easy and can make a huge difference on whether or not your images get found through search engines!