Written by Susi Doherty
Updated: June 2020
Using visuals in your marketing is vital as an effective, vibrant and speedy way to draw people to your message. I often speak about the need to get that bit right by ensuring you are using the right images that do you justice and tell your message correctly. However, there is a whole other side to using images digitally and that is the amazing effect they can have on your SEO.
Used badly, they can actually damage your marketing results. Used well, they can have the completely opposite effect – so this process is often referred to as optimising your images.
The visuals above give you some of the main pointers to bear in mind. There are a plethora of apps that can help with virtually all of these if you are stuck, or if you don’t use software like Photoshop. Here are a few of them:
Canva: A design tool such as Canva gives you templates at the correct size.
If you are cropping it yourself – click resize image and just do the longest edge first. Then use the crop tool to do the shorter side.
File Size: compressing
Compressing is how many pixels you cram into your image basically. More pixels add more ‘weight’ so the knack is to get lots of pixels in but make the actual file size not lots of MB.
Tiny PNG: This is an easy drag and drop app. It sorts our PNG and JPG files.
Image Optim: for Mac users
Trimage: For PC users
Geotag Photos Pro: set it up and let it run
Sizing and compressing images can be a minefield in that what some apps claim to do and what they actually give you are two different things. For example, you may think it is wonderful to batch resize and compress a big bucket of images all at once. You will more than likely come out with heads being cropped off and even pixellated images. The more AI gets more mainstream the better this will become, but taking care over an individual image is still a top tip from me.
Beating even ‘how do I resize this image?’ the most common question or missed opportunity of marketers in image optimisation is alt-tagging. So here is an easy guide:
What is an alt-tag?
An alt tag is basically an attribute added to image tags in a website’s HTML (code). They have to be manually added in, which is not as onerous as it sounds – it’s just a matter of getting into the habit of doing it. Alt-tags primarily are for accessibility issues and provide a text alternative of an image for search engines and screen readers. They are useful tools for SEO too as Google Images picks them up.
Where can I see them?
Your website’s content management system (e.g. WordPress) will show the alt text alongside the image – next to the Title and caption etc. It may be called often ‘alternative text’. The box will likely be empty so you need to add it in.
What should they say?
It is a great opportunity to use keywords, but be very careful and literally just use one keyword or small phrase. the most pertinent. Remember that what you put will be visible to those with screen readers, or where an image is waiting to load (LinkedIn images often show that there is no Alt tag attached which looks bad on the person posting).
So, a short, descriptive sentence about what is in the photograph.
That’s it! It isn’t rocket science, just a habit to get into. It’s good practice for accessibility and excellent for your SEO.
If you get the chance or are feeling enthusiastic sometime, I highly recommend these two articles:
It isn’t a dark art, though like anything techy you can lose yourself in this gig. So in order to maintain some kind of sanity and get through other things on your To Do list, remember the basic principles above and you will see the benefits.
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