Images have become more important when it comes to generating traffic to websites. Image search engines and social media platform like Google Images, Pinterest, Tapiture, Twitter and Facebook all use images. By optimising images for these sites, the amount of traffic leading to your website will increase along with the brand awareness. When searching for keywords, images are now displayed on the search engine result pages.
Follow the next few steps to easily optimise images for search and increase website traffic:
- The image file name. Believe it or not the file name of the image as it is stored on your computer before it is even uploaded plays a role. Do not use the standard file name given to the images from the camera or the source you got the image from. The file name running-dog.jpeg will be a lot more beneficial to Google's ranking than DSC00023.jpeg. A good point to remember is that Google sees dashes as spaces and underscores as joiners, so be sure to not use underscores when naming images. E.g. Running-Dog = Running Dog; Running_Dog = RunningDog. The same rule counts for using plusses (+) as Google also sees it as a joiner.
- The Alt tag. This is used by Google to find out what the image is about. As the robots can only crawl text, it needs an Alt tag to determine what the image is to be able to rank it appropriately. Keep the following tips in mind when writing your alt tag: stick to using 150 characters, use the keywords at the beginning of the text, write a relevant description that links to the page the image is on and always use the alt attribute when optimising images as the images in the background of your website can be ignored.
- Anchor text. This is the text used for displaying a link. Linking to an image is not used very often but can be very helpful to create backlinks. The richer the image anchor text, the higher it will be ranked in the SERP's and it will benefit you when you change the anchor text to avoid creating duplicates.
- Sitemap. Search engines do index images so make sure that the most important images are included in the site map.
- Page load speed. Google and users like pages that load fast so make sure the images that are used do not take up too much loading time and is not pixilated when loaded.
- Image size. Images should be at least 320 pixels and max 1280 pixels on one length. Smaller images are ranked poor in general, larger images only appear if the user chooses the option "large images".
These pointers should not be ignored if you want your images to rank in the search engines and shared across social media platforms.