As intellectual as we all pretend to be (or wish we were), we like the internet and social networks for the pretty pictures–and pretty graphics and designs. Having pretty pictures on your site/social profiles is visually appealing, but are your images effective in addition to being visually attention-grabbing?
These days, simply using pictures is not enough if they aren’t optimized for the social web. With web 2.0 and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) how we use images has changed: now Google indexes images and images are carrying more weight with social sites.
There are two ways that you can improve your images, for social and for search:
Optimize your Images for Search
Thanks to image-specific searches from Google, they are now indexing photos—counting it as site content. In order to ride this wave though you must optimize your images for Google Search. Here are are few different tips on how to do this:
File Name Optimization: this requires you to incorporate your SEO keywords into the names of your image files. For example, if you own a site about Cancun vacations then your image file names should include words like Cancun, Riviera Maya, travel, vacation, all-inclusive, etc. So replace all your image01.jpg-esque names with best-Cancun-all-inclusive-vacation.jpg. This way when people search for images of All-Inclusive Cancun your site will come up, in addition to this grabbing extra SEO points.
Add Descriptions to your Images: when you add a picture to your site you have an option to tag a description. Add this. By adding keyword triggers you are more likely to be found on a image searches.
Link your Images: linking your images to your website and its pages will increase PageRank, and help with Google’s indexing of your site.
Alt Text: when embedding images use the alt attribute option to pop in a few keywords for any browsers that can’t fully display your images. Don’t overdo it though, one or two simple and effective keywords will work best.
Create an Image Sitemap: you likely have a sitemap for your site (if you don’t, get one—soon), so create another one for your images. An image sitemap helps to increase specific tags while allowing you to assign importance to your various images.
Optimize your Images for Social
Optimizing your images for social sharing is much easier. First off, use images that are highly effective. This means images that display well in small spaces (think of the small size of the pictures on Facebook’s newsfeed), in addition to being really pretty/funny/cool/what have you.
Use only standard formats to avoid your images not displaying properly across your audiences’ various browsers and devices. The most common is .jpg, with .gif and .png coming in second and third respectively.
Optimizing the images you add will help improve their virality, their effectiveness, your SEO, your traffic and even your PageRank. With just a few simple moves your images will become some of your best attention-drawing content. Don’t forget to go back and retroactively optimize your existing images too.
For more Google and SMM tips click here.