When building your site you may know that images are a great tool to gain interest and keep customers on your site. What you also want to consider are the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) effects of images. Generally speaking, search engines prefer content that is text based, rather than image based, however I’m not saying don’t use images on your site – I’m saying use them to help enhance your site and not take over. Below are some helpful tips to make sure your images are helping your SEO rather than harming it.
Don’t Overuse / Oversize Your Images
Images play a big part in site load time. If it takes too long to load then search engines, and customers, will likely go elsewhere. Internet retail is fast paced, and if your site slows them down then you will likely lose some of your customers. For those reasons, don’t use too many images on your site, and if you have to use many images, make sure they aren’t large files. Condense them down to an acceptable size that doesn’t lose the quality of the actual image.
Use Alt Tags, Title Tags, and SEO Friendly Image Names
As I said before, search engines prefer text. They won’t actually load your image and decide, “Yes, this image is appropriate for these search results.” You need to tell them what the image is about through the text of the image.
Alt Text is the text that will load if your image doesn’t, but search engines use this to gather information about the image as well. Use this text to describe the image and why you’re using it.
Title Text is the text that appears when you hover your mouse over the image. You can use this to describe the image again, or to cross sell other features of your site. For Example, if I was selling a water bottle, I could make the text “100% BPA Free!” Once the customer sees that they may be interested to know why that’s a benefit in a water bottle. In this case, I would have an extra page that describes the benefits of a BPA Free water bottle.
SEO Friendly Image Names are important as well because you want to convey what the image is. Search engines would gather more information about a page that had an image named “Chris-Stewart-Grey-2-Liter-Bottle.jpg” over a page that had an image named “asd9f87asv98.jpg”.
Use Images to Enhance Content
Although images are great, they should not be used to replace meaningful content. Leave important text in, and use the image to compliment, not replace, your content.