Having awesome content is the basic rule for ranking on search engines and engaging the audience, but when people search for information on the web they tend to trust what their eyes say. If you have a dull website, based on pure words and letters, it’ll actually create a feeling on the user. It’s like choosing a product over another, your decision will be based on your first impressions.
This translates into the fact that online, people who need information about a certain topic will naturally tend to stick to the site that presents it most visually compelling. Just like content, Images, pictures, infographics and similar resources need to have certain optimization and compression treatments in order to boost your content and create more organic traffic; this isn’t to say you should forget about quality content!
Although, Images definitely make information more didactic and digestible to users, consequently, mixing visual originality and colorfulness with great content is the current inclination for website and blog creation. So, if you want to reach a bigger audience and improve your search engine ranking you have to understand the importance of image SEO, editing and compression.
What makes Images so important?
Not everybody realizes it but image SEO can help your brand get better ranked by search engines, but the challenge radicates in the ever-changing algorithm these platforms have. This task can take some time to carry on properly and it requires certain tools to let the marketer know which are the best choice of words so the images can be recognized by search engines.
Since SEO keeps changing the rules everytime (same as social media platforms), many business owners get overwhelmed and don’t update nor study new ways to take advantage of these variations, resulting in search engines not ranking them or even risking being not taken into account.
Many entrepreneurs have the wrong perspective about SEO and those who create new algorithms for the different platforms across the Internet. You see, if it wasn’t as dynamic as it is, everything that relates to doing business online would be a monopoly and smaller businesses couldn’t be a part of the online market share.
In fact, there’s the possibility that customers get annoyed by everything being so repetitive and restricted. Imagining that with all the power Internet gives us is just not right. In short, the objective of search engines is just to make room for everyone in here, to give everyone the same opportunities to make profit without making regular users’ lives a routine.
There’s no “one formula” to have a successful business on the Internet, but SEO certainly is an essential side of the marketing planning brands need to do to have recognition.
Well, non-friendly SEO images affect you page in many ways. For one, images account for more than 50% of a website’s total weight, so if you have 8 seconds to engage a visitor, spending more than half of that time loading the site will play negatively on your conversion rates.
What’s more, search engines curate web page positioning not only by the quality of your content, as I said before, loading times are vital characteristics when it comes to SE ranking and it can be greatly affected by poor image compression and editing. Using the right format, resizing, compression and tagging are key to getting your site to rank on the first pages on search platforms like google, yahoo or bing.
But where do I begin?
In any case, to be honest this task can become tremendously hard and long for blogging and marketing campaigns in general, consequently, you could hire an expert marketer who can do the job for you.
Still, there’s a myriad of possibilities if you want to delve into image optimization, so let us give you some tools to make the best choice to get a top-ranking website.
The first step should be choosing the right format and compressing it correctly. There are 3 main file types everyone uses for online purpose.
JPEG: This is the most popular format, mostly used for pictures.
PNG: Basic if you need to show your brand’s logo, vectors and wordy images.
GIF: Mostly used for animations and such.
Each of them has their own unique feature and protocols to encode information. These formats exist so that each type of image has the best performance possible as they are required.
When we talk about compression we have to know what these two techniques are: Lossy and Lossless.
Lossy is a high compression filter that will certainly take some of the image’s quality if overused but it’s really good at reducing size.
Lossless is basically a less invading method. It reduces the file’s size by compressing unnecessary metadata without compromising the image’s quality.
Compression can be done with graphic design programs such as Photoshop or with a number of plugins online, including wordpress’ WP Compress. The possibilities are many with so many tools, some being superficial and others being very detail-oriented. The fact remains that a 2 or 3 MB file can end up weighing less than 400 KB with the right balance of compression.
Next, when we talk about resizing, it’s important to stress that not only websites need image compression and resizing but also social media channels like facebook have their own file sizing each adapted to the platform’s needs, responsive to both computer and mobile browsing.
The last characteristic taken into account is directly related to SEO and it’s image attributes, or tagging.
First off there’s the title. Whether you’re using your own pictures or downloading them from an online free image bank, these files will have their own title, even if it’s a bunch of numbers. Considering that they’ll be indexed on search engines, you should change the title. Only attach keywords here if the very image relates to them. Otherwise we’d advise against.
Secondly there’s the tags per se. Here you’ll include all the alternative tags which define whatever the image is about. If there’s a frozen river surrounded by trees, you can tag those words on separate.
On the third place we have caption, which is often a secondary file description. In case the image doesn’t load, these are the words that will show and more important this is what search engines index. In this case you can give a short description so be smart with the limit.
Lastly, the alignment. This might be disregarded by many but placing your image in the right place can give your audience a moment to rest after a long reading.
Always remember to use the alt tags on your blog images. Search engines will use them to identify the theme of the file and help place them accordingly so you can also rank in “search by image” categories.
SEO for visual content needs time and expertise with algorithms always changing. Marketers and entrepreneurs alike need to be on top of the game if you want to succeed online. Never forget that high quality content is rule #1, but it is possible to boost the overall performance and aesthetics if you include image optimization to your marketing plan. With this, you can improve your web page loading speed, ranking and the chance to get more conversions.
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