When search engines scan your site it’s difficult for them to put a value on your images, because Google and Bing don’t have people sitting in their offices deciding which images are relevant. That said, there are a few ways to boost your search engine rankings with SEO-friendly images.
Search engines look for two things with images: Do the images affect the website speed and is the image text relevant to the content?
Lets take a look to see how you can modify how you upload images to improve search engine rankings.
Shrink Your Image Sizes
The ideal format for displaying images on websites is PNG. You can also use JPGs for higher-quality photos and GIFs for items like animation, but the PNG is your best bet.
Use TinyPNG to shrink the file size of your PNG images before you upload them. This helps page load speeds, in turn, improving SEO. If this seems like too much work, try out the WP Smush.it plugin to minimize image file sizes automatically as you upload.
Use a Plugin to Lazy Load Your Images
Let’s say you have five images on a page. When someone opens the page all of these images are loaded simultaneously, taking up valuable time and resources. With the BJ Lazy Load plugin the images only load up when a user scrolls down to reveal it.
Don’t Let WordPress Resize Images
When you upload an image that is 500×300 and WordPress makes it larger or smaller automatically, it degrades the quality. This is called dynamically resizing images based on your WordPress theme. It looks at how wide your pages or posts are and shrinks down images to make them look a little better.
The only problem is that it hurts the resolution and you don’t have control over the image sizes. Even if you drag the corner of your image after uploading it’s not going to help. Consider resizing images before you upload in software such as Photoshop, GIMP and Pixlr Editor.
Target Keyword in File Name
This is where you can start targeting keywords with your images. Everything we talked about above is more about keeping your images optimized to improve site speeds, but you can also research keywords you want to target and include them in your photos.
The first point to address is with the image file names. Choose a keyword that is relevant to the page it is being placed on, and make sure it explains the image correctly. If you place a tree image and use a keyword like “Dallas dentists” search engines won’t like this.
Keep your keywords short in the file name and include hyphens for the best optimization. Just as a clarification, we mean modifying the text before .png, .jpg and .gif, before uploading.
Target Keyword in Alternative Text and Titles
Each image has an Alternative Text and Title field for the search engines to reference. The alternative text is primarily for when someone can’t load your image, so it reveals the relevant text instead. The title emerges when someone scrolls over the image. Both are used by search engines, so include the same keywords you used in the file name, and make sure they are formatted in Title Case and you don’t include any hyphens, like you did in the file name area.
Try the SEO friendly Images plugin to automatically add these attributes. It really doesn’t take that long if you do it manually, and WordPress is making it more automatic with every update, but it’s not a bad option.
Compliment Your Photos with Relevant Text and Other Content
Images are still quite difficult for search engines to crawl. That’s why you need to avoid just creating pages and posts with all images. Compliment your photos with descriptions and natural keywords that are valuable to the reader.
Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions about creating SEO friendly images for your WordPress sites. These tips are essential if you want to get a leg up on competition that isn’t focusing on images for SEO. Share any thoughts you have about improving SEO through images.