Your 3-Step Checklist for Image SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works to bring your website more relevant traffic and closer to the number one slot on major search engines. Without SEO your company website is likely to drown at the bottom of a million other websites selling similar products and services.
When people hear “SEO,” they often think of links, content, and traffic – forgetting the critical role images play in SEO. Properly marking up your images helps Google better understand what your website is all about, so it can rank your website in Image Search results and bring you more site traffic.
What Are The SEO Basics?
For starters, here’s a bunch of free stuff you can do to improve your website’s visibility:
- Keyword research: Discover the words people use to try to find your website and your services. Then use these words throughout your site’s content.
- Domain name: Choose a domain name that’s relevant to your business, so that you’re easier to find.
- Page URL names: Avoid the often default number system, and rename your page URLs with keywords.
- Social media marketing: Use social media to expand your website’s reach to a much larger audience on various networks.
- Local listings: Get your business contact info set up at YellowPages.com and Google My Business. (We’ve got a list of online local listings directories here).
- Reviews & testimonials: Positive feedback on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List will keep reeling ‘em in!
- External links or backlinks: Share your content with influencers or on places like Quora and Reddit. These backlinks (links that point back to your website) score super high in the world of SEO.
What About My Website Images?
As you can see, just about everything you post on your website can be optimized for search, but you’re not limited only to words and links. Images are a tremendous part of SEO, and one that’s often forgotten, so if you can get your pics up to SEO speed, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
1. Name your images using target keywords.
Use readily identifying info to name your pics as you upload them to your website. If you’re targeting a specific geo-location, include that city name in your title. Same goes for specific products and services. For example, a local bike shop might label a photo of their storefront something like Mike’s Bikes – Bike Shop in Austin TX
2. Use alternative text.
Alternative, or alt text, shows up in certain browsers when site visitors hover their mouse over an image. Alt text also makes it clear to visually impaired users what your image represents.
Long tail keywords (i.e. keywords that are super specific) are best. For example:
Interior design for Charleston model homes
Nashville nail salon features bridal party sale
Here’s what the HTML looks like:
<img src=”InteriorDesignCharleston.jpg” alt=”Interior design for Charleston model homes”>
3. Take a look behind the curtain.
- Find a website you admire (or visit one of your competitor’s sites).
- Right-click your mouse anywhere on the page and select “View Page Source.”
- A new window will open with all the html code for the page.
- Hit Control + F simultaneously on your keyboard and then type “img” in the search box.
- This will bring up all image-related code.
- Most sites will have a bunch of images, so you can see how the developer or marketer decided to set up their alt text.
- Learn from the best!
Here’s an example of what this looks like from our own cloud hosting page on HostGator.
Each of these icons has a related file name and alt tag based on the keyword.
Please don’t let the code freak you out. It looks daunting, but it really is super easy to adjust once you get the hang of it. Plus most WordPress plugins and content management systems make this even more user-friendly than it looks. As long as you know that you can adjust title and alt tags to make your images work SEO for you, you’re good to go!
Henry Green is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas who helps small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their online presence through marketing, social media, and website optimization.