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3 tips for optimizing your the images on your site for search engines

SEO, or search engine optimization, is an integral tool of inbound marketing. However, in most instances, discussions focus on optimizing web site copy/keywords.

Fact is, well optimized images can also drive traffic.

The following facts highlight the importance of images:

  • 100bn images are made available online each year.
  • 100m digital cameras are sold each year.
  • 750m camera equipped mobile phones are sold each year.

To quote R.J Pittman, Google Director of Product Management, “Image search makes up about 5.7% of all Google searches and 5% of all search is image related.”

It is therefore important to optimize your images to drive traffic.

Here are 3 tips to optimize images for search engines.

1.  Use descriptive names

If you save an image taken by a digital camera on your PC, it will retain the numbered labeling done by most digital cameras, i.e. “IMG000123.”  When you upload the image by the same name, this sort of generic name does nothing to help search engine spiders find it.

The better practice is to use descriptive names based on something that is relevant to the information on your web page. Again, the descriptive name should include your longtail keyword/phrase.

2. Use descriptive Alt text

Alt, or alternative text, refers to the words that appear when a user hovers over an image on a web page. Like the caption and descriptive text, the alt text should also contain the keywords you are targeting on that page.

3. Speed matters

Very heavy image files can slow down the loading time of a web page. Research conducted by Amazon reveals that a 100 milisecond increase in page load time decreases sales by 1%. Images typically represent the vast majority of page weight and thus significantly impact the page loading speed.

Use the jpg format to make your images more clickable when they show up in search results. You can also compress your image files to ensure that they load quickly.

Go forth! Optimize the images on your website, improve your organic search ranking, and benefit from increased web traffic.


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