Let’s be honest: In this day and age, readers of web content are more likely to look at a picture instead of reading through pages of information. Additionally, readers are more likely to find your digital content if your images contain the following best practices for SEO. Pictures in articles add pop to your articles and can also increase the chances that readers will find your content. You’ve heard the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but I’m here to tell you that a picture can be worth thousands and thousands of page views as well!
Consider the huge success some visually oriented sites have had over the past year. Pinterest and Instagram are at the top of the list. Make your content pop by including at least one high-quality image.
Skyword research has shown that content on average receives the most readership when it includes at least one image.
We analyzed 78,000 pieces of content published from January 1st, 2011 to May 2012 and found that articles that contained at least one image saw an average of 70% more views than did articles that did not contain an image.
The images included in your article can even show up in Google Images. If your program allows the use of images, you should include at least one image with each submitted article. Keep these nine tips in mind to optimize your article for search:
1. Place the photo above the fold. If the photo is below the fold, the reader would have to scroll down the page to see it.
2. If the photo is saved on your computer, name the image file using words that describe the image. For example, for the image on the right, don’t keep the file name “IMG033112.jpg.” Change it to something like “eiffel_tower_lights.jpg.”
3. Add titles (captions) with keywords that describe the image. If possible, use the keywords you used in your article. Using your mouse, hover over the picture on the right. You will see a caption appear that says Eiffel Tower Lights by Tom Raftery on Flickr. To add this caption, select the photo, click the “Insert/edit link” button on the toolbar, and enter a short description in the Title area.
4. The only image types Google Images can index are JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, WebP, and SVG (the most popular file names are bolded). If you want to maximize search results, don’t use any other image types, like TIF, Exif, and RAW, in your content. You may change certain file types by using an online file converter (Zamzar, for example).
5. Although not necessary, it’s helpful if the text on the page mentions the image. It’s best if this image description is close to where the image is embedded.
6. Use high-quality images when possible. Visual elements are very important on the web, and this will lead to a better user experience.
7. When possible, don’t use clichéd photos. If you use a stock photo, numerous other sites might have this exact photo in their content. Set yourself apart and use your own, unique photos! Infographics are also a great way to grab attention. Visual.ly is an example of a site that makes it easy to create infographics.
8. In the article’s title, mention that you included a photo or a video or an infographic. You never know how your article will get the click. It could be because you used an interesting title, because the article appeared as #1 in organic search, or perhaps because your audience just wanted to take a quick glance at the photo!
9. Once the photo is in the article, edit the photo’s HTML to add a descriptive alt tag. This helps tell search engines the subject of the photo. In the HTML, look for a section marked alt=”” and add a short description of the photo (i.e., “eiffel tower lights”) between the quotation marks. Take a look at the screenshots below for guidance. This is highly recommend for SEO; pictures will be a lot more visible online if labeled correctly.
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