Image Optimization: Improving Your Visitor's Web Experience

Dec 27, 2012 | HTML, Links, Search Engines, SEO, Websites

By: Toby Chin

We’ve all been there: you are surfing around on a site and bam! There is no image, right in the middle of the page. You probably see something like this:

Well, whether or not the image was optimized can make a big difference. Sometimes, instead of seeing just the broken image picture, you also get some text. Like this:

Not only can users find this text helpful, but search engine “bots” use this information when they look at your site. When a bot reads through your site, they don’t see the image. They see the html tag, but without being told what the image is, they don’t know! So, let’s make sure we take care of that.

Here’s the first thing to learn: HTML markup has a property called “alt text.” If the image cannot be loaded for some reason, the Internet browser will display the alt text instead. Hence, the name: ALTernative text. If you don’t want to dive into the code for your image, your website editor should have a field where you can enter the text you want to show up. In a standard CKEditor, just right-click on the picture you have uploaded and select “properties.”

If you do want to learn the code, click the “Source” button and find your <img> tag. An image tag looks like this: [code]<img src="" />[/code]. This tag would be pretty bare bones and could use some work. First thing we’ll do is add the alt text. To do so, modify your tag so that it reads:[code]<img src="" alt="212 Media Studios Logo" />[/code].

The next thing to note is that having this text is great, but having accurate text is best. This is not the place for keyword stuffing. This IS the place to accurately describe your image with a sentence or phrase. Don’t be afraid to stray a bit from your desired keywords. I promise you (and so does this Google article: Keyword stuffing), keyword stuffing is NOT good. Make sure that your content and text is relevant, useful, and written well.

Another step toward having optimized images is renaming the pictures. Sure, you can upload and embed “DSCN_0045.jpg.” But what can you tell me about that picture? Nothing. What can you tell me about “couple_in_front_of_house.jpg”? Sure, the name is longer and is a bit more work. But really, Google (or a user) may see that image file name and that name is text. So, Google can read it and may use it in search results.

Want more about image publishing, straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth? Check me against this great Google post: Imaging publishing guidelines.

Toby Chin
Content Management and SEO Specialist
View Toby’s Profile

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