For photographers it can be a frustrating fact that the vast majority of search engine optimisation (SEO) is text driven, since it is relatively easy for search engines to read, analyse and rate text based content. So, on today’s blog we look at how we can optimise images with a list of five techniques to optimize photographs for seo.
For photographers and those whose main industry is graphical or visual, rather than text-based, optimising their photography website can pose a real problem if you want your web pages to be graphically “heavy”. There is a real dilemma in maintaining the balance of great design and great images, with the amount of text Google needs to rank well. So if you are one of those photographers in the “photographs are best and text sucks” camp, here are 5 photography SEO techniques to help market your site more effectively.
1. Optimise your image Filenames
It’s so easy to overlook, but the filename for your image can make a huge difference to the ranking ability of a page. Rather than leaving the filename as is, with something pretty uninspiring such as ‘DC1409’, name each photograph carefully using relevant keywords. Make sure that you use hyphens between each word, rather than underscores or spaces – this is very important as Google interprets hyphens as “separating” words, and underscores as “joining” them. So a filename such as ‘wedding-photographer-north-yorkshire.jpg’ is an example of a good format to use.
2. Populate your Alternate text fields for your images
Whether you are creating the HTML code yourself, using a template or using a content management platform such as WordPress, using alt text on images is essential as this gives you a great way to include a short sentence or phrase to describe your image. So, your alt text could be ‘A stunning wedding photograph of our Bride at Ripley Castle, Yorkshire’.
3. Associated text surrounding an image
When a major search engine such as Google identifies an image on a page it can’t recognise the image itself, so to understand what it relates to it will analyse the text closest to the picture – for example an image “caption”. Make sure that any text next to, above or just below the image relates directly to it and includes the right sort of keywords.
4. Location and size
Any content, text or image, always carries more SEO weight if it is nearer the top of the page than the bottom. Therefore try to include your main image towards the upper part of the page if possible. There are many WordPress themes for photographers, and these tend to apply this rule.
Also, larger sized pictures tend to outrank small ones, so try to include images which are as large as you are comfortable with, whilst obviously ensuring potential copyright thieves can’t print a canvas from them!
5. Compress as efficiently as possible
Increasingly search engines are taking into account the time it takes for a webpage to load. Photography websites can be at a disadvantage here with all the images present on the site, so make sure you compress your images as much as you can without degrading the quality too much. Faster loading images will satisfy both real visitors and the search engines to help increase ranking and exposure.
So there you have it – 5 techniques to optimize photographs for SEO – have some more tips? Let us know in the comments!