*Edited: This was originally written in 2014. SEO is constantly evolving, so this post is slightly outdated.*
Today’s post is arriving later than usual, but that’s okay because last night I unplugged and enjoyed a WONDERFUL date with my husband out on the town. Apparently, Tuesday night is THE date night here in Little Rock. Who knew??
I wanted to pop in today and chat about something we’ve already chatted about recently: SEO for your blog’s images. I found an article this morning that more clearly explains it, and I thought you might be able to benefit from it! That is, if you are a fellow blogger.
While you chew on that for a minute, let’s recap tonight’s workout!
I wanted to get in a decent workout before the storms hit Arkansas tomorrow and I can’t get outside! In lieu of still trying to take it easy, I went to my happy place and did a loop around the lake, then came home and took Miss Truckee on a long jog. I ran sans-Garmin, but still managed to keep my pace under a 9 minute mile, with mile 1 being 8:54, and mile 2 being 8:51. My app froze up as I was trying to stop it, so it actually says my average was 8:59 by the time it stopped. But, I’m not complaining! I think this is a testament to all of the hard work I put in last year to get my “comfortable” pace down right below a 9:00/mile pace. Happy day!
Truckee was seriously in Heaven as she jogged beside me. She looks forward to her exercise time all day! I think that long tongue says it all – she is one happy dog after a good run!
SEO For Your Blog Images
As bloggers, especially fitness/foodie/running bloggers, we tend to share a lot of visual information. Readers love SEEING who the blogger is, and you know who else loves to see images? Google. But Google can’t see your images, or understand them, if you don’t help them out!
Okay so first, it talks about Alt Text. Alt Text is basically like a quick description of what your image is. That way when Google and other search engines index it (scan it for search rankings) they can read what it is. So instead of leaving that field blank, take a second to add it in next time! A few things to keep in mind though- try to use keywords, keep it fairly short and easy to understand, and only add in alt text if you care about the image being found in a search. So, any random photos I upload that aren’t related to anything I care to show up in a search for, I don’t worry so much about adding alt text or titles. (Example – that screen shot below…not a big deal). BUT, alt text is a good habit to get into regardless.
In WordPress when you insert an image, this is what the alt text field looks like…
For this example, I used the image above. Since my blog is obviously ABOUT running in Arkansas, and this image is also obviously about running in Arkansas, that’s what I chose to write as the alt text. Running in Arkansas is a keyword that I would like to be ranking for.
Second, the article talks about File Names.
Your file name is the text that is actually ON your image. So in, photo_26.jpg, photo_26 is the file name. Now, Google has NO IDEA what an image file titled photo_26 is about. It could be the sky, a car, a shoe, or anything. But, change that file name to something readable and descriptive, and it helps Google immensely. It gives them something to work with!
This would be a better option:
Use hyphens to separate your words. Oddly enough, search robots prefer dashes over underscores. Re-name your files BEFORE you upload them.
Next, file size.
Google DOES prefer sites that load faster over sites that take longer to load. One thing that effects load time is image size. If you are uploading a lot of pictures to your blog, it is best to RESIZE BEFORE you upload them. Better yet, if you have access to Photoshop, SAVE FOR WEB.
For example, if you upload a full size image at 6014 X 4016 pixels and it’s 5.9M, that is a HUGE file size. Huge. You can still upload it to your blog, but then you will have to resize it once you’ve uploaded it into your media library, using the percentage scale down tool. And even then it only resizes the pixel, not the actual file size. Does that make sense? So, it’s best to go ahead and resize that file down to an appropriate size for web BEFORE you upload it and take up all that space.
Here is what Photoshop’s Save For Web feature looks like…
You can see the file size there in the bottom right and bottom left.
And there is the image resized.
“Don’t resize dynamically. If you upload a 400×300 image and display it at 800×600, it will look ugly. On the other hand, if you upload an 800×600 image and display it at 400×300, you’re wasting a lot of bandwidth. Always size the image to the correct resolution BEFORE you upload it.”
I’m not going into much detail about file size specifics, but if you take a few minutes to learn more about how to resize images and what’s appropriate for websites, you will be happy you did!
The final tip discusses Page Context.
If your blog is mainly consisting of images, or even if you just blog a lot of images, it will help Google and other search engines to better understand your image if the text AROUND your image is relevant to what the image is.
So my Running in Arkansas picture…
It will be helpful to Google if the text I type before and after the image, is somewhat if not completely related to, you guessed it, running in Arkansas. Even if your images just have a quick caption or title before or after, that’s better than nothing.
This would probably NOT make much sense to Google…
“Blah blah blah I love cupcakes, and I love to cook, and the sunset tonight was super pretty.
(Running in Arkansas image)
I had a super delicious dinner tonight too. Woo SEO! Partay!”
But instead, THINK ABOUT YOUR CONTENT and THINK ABOUT ITS RELEVANCY! Be mindful of what keywords are important to you and your blog.
Hope this quick lesson helped some! I spend hours everyday at work learning and researching these types of things, so I love to share what I find that I think would be helpful to my fellow blogger friends!
Do you think about your images before you upload them?
Let me know if you have any questions! This was a pretty shallow overview! Have a great night!