Basic SEO Tips for Beginners - Images 101
(Guest post by Gabriele Goldoni)
Even though search engines have been around a long time (almost 30 years!), in many ways, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is still seen as some sort of magic; a way to “cheat” Google into ranking you first, making you the first option people find, and therefore the first one they click on.
We’ve got good news: it isn’t magic! (which means it’s very achievable)
…and bad news: but only if you put the work in
…and more good news: we’re going to point you in the right direction of exactly what you need to do to get started!
Keep reading for our top tips on making your website more search engine friendly.
Firstly, what is SEO?
SEO is a long list of directives (guidelines) that should be followed when writing the contents of your website, so that search engines can find them easily and work out what you’re all about. The more they like you, the higher they’ll rank you.
The “magic” part of it all comes in with the “invisible” work that needs to be done behind the scenes to make your website a search-engine favourite. Work other people won’t see when they’re browsing your website.
The world of images
Some of the easiest ways to make your website more SEO-friendly are through tweaking images. A few small alterations could make all the difference to your website, and have it climbing the rankings in no time.
Search engines like high-quality images
Search engines prize higher quality images over lower quality ones, so make sure you’re meeting their minimum requirements.
What the search engine reads is the image quality signal:
· the higher the definition, the stronger the signal (size: 1920x1080 for full HD images)
· and the same goes for the resolution: 300 DPI (dots per inches) is ideal, i.e. the denser the presence of pixels, the sharper (and therefore better) the image.
Remember - quality is rewarded.
However, now comes the problem of keeping image definition and resolution high, while also keeping images “light”: keeping Kilobytes to a minimum.
Remember in the good old days, when images used to load in blocks, from top to bottom? First, we’d see the roof of the house, then the top floor, then everything down to the garden (and only if the connection wasn’t broken!).
Nowadays we want everything, and we want it now. No one dreams of waiting more than a few seconds for a website to load, displaying all the pictures immediately as if they had always been there.
So how do you make that happen?
Make your images load more effectively
Image tags have recently given us the very recent option to LAZYLOAD. This command tells your browser whether to load an image immediately (if it’s the first thing the user will see) or later (if it’s further down the page). This makes the entire web page load fluidly and makes it immediately usable, as the text will load first, closely followed (a few tenths of a second later) by the accompanying image.
If your website is built using WordPress, there are several plugins you can install that will enable lazyload on your images. When choosing the best one for you, make sure you do your research so that you opt for one that is compatible with the other plugins you have.
Adapt your image to your user’s screen
Want to make sure your image always stays the same size? You’ll need to enter the specific width and height you want in the respective tags. But what if your users are viewing your website on different sized screens? (Which is more than likely these days).
You’ll want to make your website responsive.
How? Enter the “%” symbol onto the width and height tags, use special predefined commands that make the images self-dimensioning or use CSS (Cascade Style Sheets).
Again, if you built your website using WordPress, the last option is available as a plug-in, which makes your life a whole lot easier!
And voilá! You have a responsive site!
There’s a slight problem in all this though… search engines can’t see images, but they still want to know what you’re showing your users.
ALT = ALTERNATIVE
Think of an ALT tag as a way to describe an image to a blind person, therefore allowing them to “see” the image through a description, which is then read by special software. This is how search engines read your images and work out the message you’re trying to send in them.
1. Make sure you have filled in the ALT tag for all your images, so you’re not missing out on feeding search engines this crucial piece of information.
2. Use the ALT tag to really describe your image – there’s no use trying to pack it full of key words, as search engines will see right through your tactics. Write as naturally as possible.
Another very important image tag is the TITLE (this really speaks for itself doesn’t it).
Think of your image as if it were a painting and give an appropriate TITLE. Here’s an example:
“Mona Lisa, also known as Gioconda, by Leonardo Da Vinci”.
If you implement these small changes, you’ll already have a good head start when it comes to making your website SEO-friendly, but if you want to delve deeper and give your website a full overhaul, drop us a line or get in touch with an expert at: