One of the most overlooked aspects of SEO is images. Most websites and particularly e-commerce sitesÂ have lots of images but few actually optimise them for search engine indexing. However the images should also be optimised for human visitors to help drive more sales conversions.
Google not only looks at the text on your blog in order to rate your site, but that Google bot will also take a look at the code you use in your image files.
1. Use Meaningful Image and Folder Names
Many content management systems and ecommerce platforms have a default setting which applies meaningless image names and folder names to pictures that are uploaded. Keep images on a folder level rather than a subdomain so sitename.com/images/ is better than images.sitename.com
Be sure to change these to natural human readable descriptions – that is a key factor in achieving better image search engine optimisation.
2. Increase Your Image Size And Density:
Many images are too small and poor in quality to persuade shoppers to click on them. It is better to have fewer choices and larger images since too many choices can lead to inactivity and the shopper pressing the back button on that page. This is not relevant for seo but is a practical tip to get more clicks.
For some products, clothes and shoes particularly, you can’t expect customers to make a decision to purchase based on one simple photo; they have to be able to see the detail.
So, enlarged images are essential here, as in this example from Webtogs; the enlarged version of the photo allows shoppers to get a good idea of how the jacket looks, the material etc:
3. Show your products in Context:
In her post on Product Images and Conversion by Linda Bustos she highlighted the fact that onlineÂ Â retailers can go a step further and use photos that show products in use, or “in context.” The significance of this is quoted by a Future Now client, who claimed that images can lift conversion rates by 147% by showing products “in context.” Showing products in context, as well as giving users an idea of scale, can answer customers’ questions about how a product works, how it will look on them etc. This is one area where video can be very useful.
4. Use Descriptive Alt Tags:
Alt tag or alternate tag is a text alternative to an image. It is the best way to describe an image to those who can’t see the image. The most important job of the alt tag is to explain to a bind user what an image is displayed on the page. Search engine spiders are also blind at images, they can’t read the text or object that is printed in an image. The alt tag deciphers what the image is for or what it is representing.
If you have a blank alt tag on your html it is considered as invalid and it is not following the Google webmaster guidelines. It is recommended to “use text that fulfills the same function as the image”.
See the Electronic Translator example on the right.
5. Use Descriptive Anchor Text
Use relevant text around your images, It is recommended that be descriptive text with your targeted keywords in bold be placed immediately before or after the image itself. Also Use anchor text keywords in links to images pages.Â
6. Use Title Case
This is a tip for increasing sales conversions as opposed to seo. If you think about product descriptions as headlines you will get the idea.
So for this reason, I also recommend using title case for all your product descriptions. (That’s where the first letter in each description is capitalised).
7. Optimise Images for Social Media
Stick to jpg format and make sure the images can be resized to 160Ă—120 or 160Ă—160 pixels (Unless you have an image that can be resized that way Digg will not offer the submitter a thumbnail to go with the post).
8. Use Video Where Appropriate
Product videos can capture more angles and have a proven ability to boost product sales by answering customers questions and concerns.
In a Future Now post by Jeff Sexton he points out that for some products only video will do. For example, with this baby ‘travel system’ on Mothercare, the video can show how it folds up, and the range of different seating positions it can be adjusted to, something that could not be achieved without a lot of product images.
9. Use jpeg Image Format
David Leggett advises that when possible save the image as jpg format.The .jpg image format is best suited for images that have a wide range of colors where there aren’t sharp transitions or fine edges. Because of it’s compression algorithm, it works very well for Photographs. It’s possible to significantly reduce the file sizes of photographs using JPG while keeping image quality very high.
With jpeg you can make pages load faster, and make the user experience feel much better. Page load time is a huge factor in retaining users. In one recent online poll, 51% indicated that slow load times were the number one element that drove them away from a web page.
10. Use This Free Tool To Identify SEO Image Problems
Image Analyzer by Juicy Studio, will highlight images without alt text, long image names and much more. Because image optimisation is essential for successful SEO, image analysers are an absolute must.
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