So your website text is fully search engine optimized. Great. Now what have you done to optimize your images for the search engines?
I’ve seen a great many websites that have taken a huge amount of effort to ensure that the text content of their site is optimized fantastically. But I often see one of two problems occurring, which lets all that effort down.
Many SEO websites are bland – no images at all. Most even seem to have ignored the possibilities offered by the use of a little colour.
Granted, half the battle is making sure that your website is search engine optimized enough to be found by potential customers in the first place, but it is only half the task.
Many potential customers are often put off a website if it appears too bland and uninteresting. If a site seems to take itself so seriously that it cannot afford to include an occasional image, then there’s a very real chance that people will simply not bother.
The other problem I find is when websites have decided to include pictures, but see no actual value in optimizing them for the search engines.
How do you optimize a picture? Simple – you use the alt tags included in the HTML script. To include an image, let’s say it’s called image1.jpg, you would use the following type of script:
But this means that, although your visitors will see the image, the search engines won’t. It is also not a very friendly thing to do in terms of accessibility, so instead, try this:
<img src=”image1.jpg” alt=”Some meaningful text here to explain what the image is”/>
The text in the alt section will be displayed if the image doesn’t load, and will also appear as a tooltip if the mouse hovers over the image for a second or two. Not only this, but the search engines will now see your image, and use it to help build up a contextual understanding of the relevance of your page.
You might also consider naming your image slightly better too. Let’s imagine that your image1.jpg is actually your company logo, and your company is called SEO Advisors. Try this:
<img src=”SEO_Advisors.jpg” alt=”SEO Advisors, helping you to optimize your content”/>
Now the search engines will really love you! You have two extra keywords, relevant to your page, but without squeezing them in to the text. This helps the overall relevance and context of your site, helping your SEO rating improve.
Don’t be too tempted to start hurling as many keywords into the image tags as you can, nor be tempted to include so many images that your website becomes a mess, and takes too long to load. But by including one or two carefully chosen, relevant images, and using both the image filename and the alt tag to help include the image or images as contextually important content, then you will not only help your website be seen, recognised and promoted by the search engines, but you may also find that, once people find your site, it looks a little more appealing, and a lot less like a school essay.
The trick is to find images which help to support the overal semantic meaning of your website and, of course, it goes without saying that they are royalty free, or that you own the copyright. But assuming that you have the right to include images on your website, optimizing images for search engines is a tactic often overlooked, yet extremely valuable as part of an overall initiative.