Choosing the right image is essential if your website is to be successful. A photograph or illustration can speak a thousand words, and, importantly in the digital age, can hook the visitor in a split second before they read a single word.
While being relevant is vital, an image must also be fabulous. If you want to make your site and its products look attractive, choose great photos that are a treat for visitors and make sure the quality is good. It’s also worth noting that the picture quality itself doesn’t have to be TOO good – don’t use a 500MB image that will take an age to load when a 250KB version will suffice.
As well as illustrating what your site is all about when visitors arrive, you can also use images to drive traffic through search engine optimisation (SEO). Take a look at these four tips to find out how they can work for you:
1. File name
Don’t just upload DSC10013.jpg! Rename your image by using keywords or key phrases (separated by hyphens) that will be recognised in search engines, such as girls-red-boots.jpg or used-iphone.jpg. If you have a number of images then use this as an opportunity to cover a number of options, such as Bodrum-holiday-home.jpg, Bodrum-beach-view.jpg etc.
2. ALT text
This is actually what appears if your pic won’t load on a visitor’s laptop or mobile, perhaps due to poor WiFi connection. However, it’s also another opportunity to add more SEO information that will be recognised by Google and others. Add the text when you upload the image. It will be more successful if your ALT text is a succinct description of the image and its context rather than just being keywords stitched together.
3. Image title
This title will appear when a visitor’s mouse hovers over the image. As it is effectively a caption it must describe the image itself, so perhaps does not offer the same variety of uses as ALT text, and the latter is more important from an SEO point of view.
This might sound the most complicated of the four tips, but it’s very important. In order for search engines such as Google to find your images, you should create a separate sitemap for your images. A search engine cannot index your image if it is not separately invited in the site’s code. Image Sitemap fixes this problem and more information is available in Google’s instructions.
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