An old Chinese proverb says “”Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand”. I think that possibly explains the best why images are worth a thousand words.
There is a hardly a blog post without an image today. Optimised images contribute to the findability of your blog/site. A well-written content alone won’t do the magic. The content must, therefore, be complimented by a relevant image or photo.
Because relevant images take you deeper into the subject and offer a crystal clear view of the things.
THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE CHOOSING AN IMAGE
Before I take you to the image optimising part, I find it pertinent to mention that an image should not be chosen without considering the following:-
(i) As a webmaster, you should be careful about the photo/image you want to choose for your post. You should ensure that it does not violate ownership right and lands you in a legal trouble.
So, always choose your images from those sites which provide images without any sort of encumbrances. Sites like Pixabay, Unsplash provide such images for free.
(ii) Your image should always relate to the subject of the post. Irrelevant images may not find takers with your readers.
(iii) Sometimes, searching a perfect image may be time-consuming. However, this can be sorted out. There is a plug-in called ImageInject which will do the work for you right from your WPadmin.
All you need to do is to install the plug and activate it. And you will be able to search among thousands of CreativeCommon images for any keyword of your choice.
Currently, Flicker and Pixabay are providing this tool with free images. In future, webmasters will have access to more free image sources from this tool.
This tool has some amazing features like automatic author attribution, alt tag addition etc.
Having spoken about the relevance and legality issues of your images, let us come to the image optimisation part in SEO.
YOUR IMAGES SHOULD BE OPTIMISED FOR MOBILES
2017 is the year of Accelerated Mobile Pages for SEO. Therefore, one has to be careful with one’s images. You need to optimise them not only for desktops but also for mobile pages.
The images you chose should have ideal file size suitable for mobile pages. The blogosphere is abuzz with the information that Google will rank those sites higher which have complied with this requirement.
Also, Google is likely to take action against those sites which are not mobile friendly awarding them with a dip in ranking. This is one of the latest updates from googles.
Google earns in billions from its advertisers. Hence, this update from Google to ensure a user-friendly experience.
It is also pertinent to mention that the number of mobile users has far exceeded the desktop users in the recent years. Google will obviously not want to lose an expanding market hidden amongst mobile users. Hence, it is imperative for webmasters to make their visual content mobile friendly.
CROP YOUR IMAGES PROPERLY
An image file usually occupies a good amount of space and therefore increases uploading time of your website. There are a good number of sites which take a long time to upload time in spite of having good quality content.
This only reduces your site’s rank as Googles considers this as an important ranking factor in today’s SEO.
If therefore, you are considering using any image cropper plug-in, you may try those which will crop both images already uploaded as also those upcoming ones. There are some very handy image cropping tools available across the web.
I feel this post contains useful information on some image optimizing plug-ins which you can also use in your site.
There is one plugin which was not mentioned in the above linked post.
Short Pixel Image Optimizer Apart from providing what its peers do, there is one more thing that deserves attention.
Google has introduced an image format called WebP. In this format, you will find both lossless and lossy compressed images. These images are 22% smaller than conventional PNG images, 26-34% for JPG versions.
Needless to say that this image format will make your site faster. This plug-in has inbuilt features which facilitate creating such WebP images for your site.
So, I think, this tool warrants some attention from the blogosphere.
ADD ALT TEXT TO YOUR IMAGES
Googles cannot read your images. Hence it is imperative that you should add alt text to your images so that search engines can understand your images better. One should preferably use keywords in his/her alt text.
When an image is usually sourced from any source on the web, it gets a file name generated by the engine like JPG000025. You may rather change the file name and insert a keyword in the title. When you hover the cursor over the picture, the caption content appears as shown below.
WHAT IS FUNCTION OF THE CAPTION IN A PICTURE? The caption is actually a brief description of the image helping your audience to establish a relation between content and the image it contains. To an extent, it acts like a meta description.
What information should you provide in the description box? A small information on the image in relation to the context. This will also help the search engine to discover your images and increase its findability.
You should not insert keywords in the description and caption field, else it may be perceived as keyword stuffing.
WHAT NOT TO DO WITH YOUR IMAGES
Webmasters often add text to images using various online tools. However, Google takes strong exception of this as this is likely to interfere with the optimization of your images and ultimately its findability.
Don’t include GIFS in your blog posts. They actually play spoilsport with your efforts and divert reader’s attention from the content instead. Though their usage has been on the rise of late, authority sources discourage their application in sites on the aforesaid premise.
Some webmasters opine that they can useful in promoting a product. But will anyone buy that? They repeatedly keep on performing the same act. So, can you ever think of them conveying a message to the target audience?
You may have already used those stock photos readily available across the web. However, you may prefer some other forms of pictures like graphical presentation, tables as per your requirement.
I find the best way to build a relationship with your audience is to include your own picture which is in confirmation with the context. Neil Patel, Joost De Valk do this very often. And this is evident from the images they use to interact with his audience. A few examples are provided below.
Moreover, Neil deserves a special mention for innovative ways of using images. He does not keep on continuing his posts at a stretch. He frequently punctuates his posts with relevant images which sometimes involve pretty faces as well. Probably to beat the boredom of web reading.
OVER TO YOU
An original content supported by a meaningful photo/image will work wonders for your site. Using your own image/photo does have a psychological impact on your target audience. They feel more connected to you.
Moreso, when blogging more often than not is all about writing as though you are telling a story. This, in the long run, helps establish you as a brand also.