Welcome to my new blog 🙂 Some people are ok with doing their site themselves and thats great! Many of my
blog posts will be tips and tricks for those that do to hopefully enhance their WordPress and website experience. Well kick it off with this post with an often overlooked topic.
Proper Image Optimization
Images are an important part of any website experience. They should compliment the site and/or article it is posted on and can visually give your vistors an idea of what the subject is. No post should be without at least one image, besides the above reason the other is it can enhance your sites SEO. Often webmasters (hey Im guilty as well) just load up their images and move on forgetting about these key aspects that will give them some free SEO juice.
#1 Image File Name
This no doubt is the most often missed or not used option to you. Rename you image file to the topic of your post including your keywords, but dont get carried away just a few words or less. Its quite easy to do, just get your image together in Finder or if you are one of THOSE people the in your Explorer and right click to change the name. I do know in Finder you just click the image once then click the title and it will highlight just the title for you to change, leaving the extension alone (which is important dont change that)
#2 Size Does Matter
No don’t mean that. I mean your Image File Size, where smaller is better. You may want to open the image in your favorite image editor and check the size. WordPress does resize your image to different sizes for use in your blog, but you shouldn’t depend on it to do the best job. You see when you load a web page it will go out and grab the full size image and then do its resizing depending on the width/height info you placed in the tags. If the full size image is larger than this the browser still has to struggle bringing in the full image than resizing it, this can slow down your website immensely and can be the number one SEO killer (yes those spiders notice the speed). So a good habit is to resize to the exact size you will have it on the site. If you are going to take advantage of WordPress’s multiple sizes then at the very least size it to the maximum size you will be using, making sure its at 72dpi as well.
Even though you have resized it you should still define the size in the image tags. Its easy to do in WordPress and it will typically do it for you.
#3 Image Title Tag
What exactly is the Image Title Tag? Well Google itself says this:
[notification type=”success”]The “title” attribute is a bit different: it “offers advisory information about the element for which it is set.” As the Googlebot does not see the images directly, we generally concentrate on the information provided in the “alt” attribute. Feel free to supplement the “alt” attribute with “title” and other attributes if they provide value to your users![/notification]
So it is a way to tell search engines what your image is about and thus what your article is about as well. WordPress again makes it easy for you to not have to code anything. When you load up an image there is a field to enter your Title in. Again keep it brief, just a few words not a novel.
#4 Image Alt Tag
The Image Alt Tag can be considered even more important but more so towards function. Its orignal use was for browsers that are text only (yes they do exist) and can not display images. So as an ‘Alternate’ they display what you place in the Alt tag. Search engines look at this just like the title tag as a means to describe your image and the article its attached to.
#5 Link Your Image
Search engines like links, gives them something to do I guess. By default WordPress will but in the link to the original image. This is good if you are placing a smaller image in your post and you would like your visitors to be able to see the full version. If you do this I recommend doing so with a lightbox plugin so the image will pop up and look nice and keep them on your article. Without it your visitors will just go to another page with just the full image, ripe for either image theft or leaving your site. The alternative is to have it link to your home page, back to the same post or if you are promoting a product or service than link to its landing page.
All of these items can easily be added or changed when you upload your image to your WordPress site.
BONUS: If you’re lazy or forgetful I recommend the plugin SEO Friendly Images This plugin will automatically apply Title and Alt tags to all your images, based on the parameters in the settings, were it is currently blank. Life saver at times!