Using photos and images alongside your content is a great way to increase revenue on your site, as long as you optimise their potential. As you will have noted if you read the post on alt tags, these are a useful way to ensure your images turn up in image search results.
However, alt tags aren’t the only way to make the most of your images.
One thing you can do before you even upload your images is to change the filename to something that would make sense to someone reading it, rather than just leaving it as the default name. By making the filename descriptive and using some of your keywords your image will be ranked more highly – and considering that image searching has become a very popular way to search online, this is only going to help your site. If you need some help with naming your images, check your website analytics for some inspiration. This will allow you to check out the phrasing patterns that people use to search for your products, and with this knowledge you can make the most of how you target your keywords.
Alongside tactically named image files, you may want to think about using captions in conjunction with your photos. Captions are one of the most-read parts of website content, and can be very important pieces of information – especially for search engines. If you haven’t already worked on your filenames, search engines such as Google will sometimes just find text that is nearby and use that as a description of your image, regardless of whether it makes sense or is relevant. With this in mind, you want to keep your images relevant to the content of your page, not only for the search engines but so that it makes sense to your users.
The quality of your images is one of the first things that people will notice when visiting your site, and you are likely to lose traffic if they aren’t satisfactory. This is especially applicable if your website is using images for the purposes of selling a product as opposed to being purely decorative. If your photos are blurry, out of focus or poorly styled, potential consumers will be put off and be forced to search elsewhere. At the end of the day, websites are a largely visual medium, and the aesthetics of your site are a very important part of generating traffic and optimising your search engine rankings. If your website deals in selling products from other companies, you should take your own photos of the products rather than just using the stock images they send you. Google won’t allow the same image to crop up repeatedly on its results pages, so to increase your chances of being one of the options that does show up then creating original images will benefit you. If you are using any images from other sources this is also fine – but be accurate when accrediting them to avoid any copyright issues.
An issue you may find with uploading images onto your site is how it affects your page loading times. No matter how beautiful your photographs may be, if they are seriously slowing down your site then the likelihood is that people won’t stick around to see how good they are. Studies have been conducted into how much the speed of a website affects their profits, with results showing that internet giant Amazon in particular increased their revenue by 1% if they increased their page loading time by just 100ms. This can be cross-referenced with the fact that if Amazon’s pages slow down by 1 second, they can lose $1.6 billion a year – a figure that can’t be argued with! (Source: http://www.globaldots.com/how-website-speed-affects-conversion-rates/)
The most effective way for you to keep your loading speed to a minimum is by altering your image sizes. You need your images to have the smallest storage size possible without sacrificing the quality. The easiest way to do this is to make the most of the image editing programmes available, so that you don’t end up changing the dimensions so much that you lose out on their value. If larger images are necessary, you can format them so that when you click on an image it opens up a larger version in a pop-up or a new window, and this way you’ll get the best of both worlds. Similarly, to make your images compatible with all browsers, use a commonly supported file type. The best one to use will be a JPEG, followed by a PNG. This means that when you’ve got your page loading times down, you won’t slip up with browser issues.
Another increasingly important factor to consider is how your images will be shared through social media and how to make to most of this platform. Image sharing through sites such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram is a fantastic way not only to get your site out there, but also to increase your social media following and interaction with consumers. This is perfect for building your online presence and getting your target audience involved in what you’re doing – but you have to make sure that any images you do post link directly back to your website. If a user browsing the internet finds an image that they link (Pinterest is a great example of this), they are likely to want to find the source so that they can check out what else you have to offer.
The use of images on your pages, if done correctly, is a worthwhile way to improve your user experience and make your site a more pleasing place to visit. Even if your site is primarily an instructive one, don’t forget about the aesthetics. A well-placed image, be it for decorative purposes or to enhance an informational piece, can make the world of difference when it comes to engaging your users, so it’s important to think about how you are formatting them into your page.
Once you’ve sorted out your image quality, check out some of our other digital marketing and SEO blogs to see what else you could be doing for your website. You can also send us any questions via the Contact Page or by emailing James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image by Paul Reynolds – https://www.flickr.com/photos/bigtallguy/