If you have a blog or website, you probably want to include images. A black and white page with no images, photos, or infographics would make most readers quickly click away in most cases. Images add visual interest and, in some cases, add to the SEO value of an article, web page or blog post. Before you start uploading random shots of cute cats or Beyonce all willy-nilly, though, there are a few pointers that you need to keep in mind.
Keep It Legal
The majority of images that you’ll find floating around on the web are copyrighted. This means that you cannot simply “save as” on your computer and plug them into your site. Well, you can, but you run the risk of getting fined, and that’s no fun for anyone. Instead, you need to find photos and images to use that are free (or paid) for the taking. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Use stock images. Go to a stock image site, pay for a subscription, and choose whatever stock photos you want. An alternative is to pay for each image separately, but this tends to be more expensive than what you’d pay for one image with a subscription. Use your discretion here. The shots tend to look posed, so depending on the image you’re trying to convey, this may or may not be the best option.
- Free usage images. There are several ways that you can find free-for-the-taking (with attribution) images. One is to run a Creative Commons search on Flickr. Another is to use Google image search and to filter by usage rights. A third is a site called Unsplash, which allows free usage of all of their images. Remember to follow the rules for attribution; in most cases, you’ll need to add the photographer’s name to your post or as a caption.
- Take your own photos. If you’re a photographer and you have the time and desire to take your own pictures, then do so! If you’re not, you can always hire someone to do it for you. This is a good option for someone who wants completely unique images that aren’t used anywhere else. (You should periodically run a reverse image search to find out whether someone else is using your images without permission. You can also protect your images by not allowing anyone to right-click on them. This will reduce the chances that someone will filch your photo, but the potential for theft won’t be eliminated.)
Format Your Images Correctly
In order to reap the SEO benefits of having images on your page, you’ll need to format the pictures correctly and add the correct tags.
- Resize it. You don’t want to slow down your readers’ devices by using huge images, so be sure to resize them. You can find more information about how large and clear your images should be here.
- Rename it. Don’t leave the file name as whatever generic IMG code comes up. Instead, name it something relevant so you can find it again later.
- Put in the right Alt-Text. In this field on your WordPress platform, you’ll want to describe what your image is all about. Google will read this description to see if it’s relevant to your article. Don’t try to keyword-stuff; just describe what the image is about in one simple phrase.
- Decide if you want to use a description and/or caption. A description is just stored with the photo itself, and a caption is visible under the image on the website. You can use a keyword if you want to.
Using images with your blog posts and articles is a great way to increase interest and boost your optimization. Just be sure to use images legally to avoid problems later.
Copyright-free image from Pixabay.