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How to Optimize Your Photos for SEO

It’s already well documented that adding photos to your brand’s website can make it more appealing and increase your clicks and conversions. What you might not realize is that simply having images on your site isn’t enough. If you don’t properly optimize them for SEO, they might actually represent a blind spot for search engines.

Why Is That, Exactly?
The short version is that search engines like Google don’t “see” images the same way your visitors do. They are able to tell that your site has an image, but they can’t glean any important information from the image. In other words, you and the visitors to your site will know that it’s a picture of, for example, a tree, but the search engine – the system responsible for ranking your site – won’t be able to tell it apart from an image of a fire truck.

The good news is that there are some easy ways to help search engines and other SEO services recognize the content of your site’s images.

Change the Alternate Text
One quick way to optimize your site for SEO is to change the alt-attribute for each image. The alt-attribute is basically an alternate text that will be displayed in the event that a slow connection or another error interferes with the proper loading of the image.

This might not sound that useful, but it gives the search engine a better idea of the content of the image. You’re probably quite familiar with the idea of keywords, and you can now put them to use in the alt-attribute. You won’t want to get too crazy stuffing keywords in there; instead, add just enough for Google to understand the photo is of a tree, automobile or microwave oven, and know that it’s a beach, Mustang or Whirlpool, respectively.


Choose a Descriptive File Name
This one is even easier, and it can become a part of your routine with almost no effort at all. It begins when you’re choosing images and readying them for upload; simply make sure you’ve given each of them a descriptive and unique file name. This will help your page with search engine rankings.

You can see this for yourself any time you do a sample search of your own. Viewing the images that rank for each search will reveal that just about all of them have a pertinent keyword somewhere in the file name.

Don’t Forget About Captions
Lastly, take a look at your captions. It’s important to note that there is no exact connection between image captions and search engine rankings, but this can definitely have an effect on your site’s bounce rate.

The bounce rate is the speed at which a user will return to the search results after viewing your page. This can happen when the site’s content simply wasn’t what they were searching for.

By leveraging image captions, you’re increasing the chance that the average viewer will remain on your page; image captions are some of the most frequently read website elements since they tend to draw in viewers’ eyes. Therefore, taking advantage of captions can be a great way to retain visitors.

Parting Thoughts
It’s easy to forget about some of these easy image optimization techniques. No matter how artfully crafted the rest of your site might be, taking just a few extra steps with your images could greatly benefit your site’s search engine ranking.

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