Optimize your images for the web.

Optimize your images for the web.

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.

 


Take your own photos
Take your own photos

Creative commons image by Paul Reynolds

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is as true on your website or blog as it is anywhere else. When choosing and uploading images, you need to think about what will appeal to your potential and current clients. You also need to keep some legalities and SEO strategies in mind. Here are some considerations to remember as you use photos and images on your site.

Don’t Take What Isn’t Yours

If you type just about anything into Google and choose the “images” tab, you’ll be confronted with pages and pages of images. Some of them are truly excellent! Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just stick them on your website?

Hopefully you already know that you can’t do that. Those images might be copyrighted or have limited rights available, so you cannot just use whatever you find. To do so could get you into some trouble!

There are several ways to find images for your website if you aren’t creating them yourself. One is to set up an account with a stock photo site (Photos.com and DepositPhotos are two popular ones). You can pay as you go or pay a monthly fee to access all sorts of images. Some sites have free stock images that anyone can use. The point here is that you are using material that is free for the taking (with or without paying a fee first).

Another way is to find Creative Commons images. These are some rights reserved photos and infographics. The rules for each site differ, but most of the time, you can just give a credit to the photographer and state that it is a Creative Commons image. You can search for these on various sites; the one on this blog entry is from Flickr.

Be Relevant

As you look for images, you are going to want to choose something relevant to what you are talking about on your page. While a photo of a cuddly kitten is adorable, it’s probably not appropriate if your blog entry is about how to install a ceiling fan. If you’re having trouble finding an image, you can always use the caption field to tie something somewhat relevant back to your post.

File Names, Alt Text, and Title Text

When you go to upload your material, including your image, you’ll have the opportunity to use a bit of search engine optimization. First, save the image on your computer with a file name that is relevant to your keyword. If your keyword is “landscapers in Idaho,” for example, you can use that as the file name. Don’t leave the name as the string of numbers and letters that it was named on the photo site.

You’ll notice that you will have the option to include a caption. You can make it relevant to your article or use it for the photo credit. You’ll also have a field called “alt text.” This is the text that will appear if for some reason the photo does not load properly. You can use the keyword here, but it’s better to describe the image in a few words.

Finally, you’ll have one more field called “title text.” If your readers hover over your image, this is the text that will pop up. You can do various things with this; use the title of the article here, use the caption, or make up something else entirely. Again, if it makes sense, go ahead and include the keyword, but you don’t have to.

Choosing images can be fun, but it can also be frustrating. Remember that if you can’t find the perfect image, you might try taking a photo yourself or creating an infographic. Don’t neglect to add some visual interest to your site or post, though; you really should have something there to attract the attention of people who are casually browsing.