As realtors, we just love adding images homes to our posts to show off just how great they are right? The idea being that readers will be enticed by what they see as much as by what they read, so much so that they can’t wait to get hold of you and arrange a time to go see it. Right?
But, that’s not the only reason we should be adding pretty pictures to our blogs, oh no. Well optimized images can give a huge boost to a page’s search engine ranking, and what’s more they can even drive traffic directly to the page in their own right – through Google Images, for instance.
Therefore, as a blogger, whether it’s for a real estate website, a travel website or whatever, learning how to correctly optimize images is an absolute must. The good thing is, there’s not actually that much to it.
WordPress Image Optimization #1
First things first. Before we even go uploading an image to our WordPress blog, we need to be aware of just how big a file it is we’re uploading.
Because page load times have a big impact on a site’s SEO ranking, that’s why.
To make sure that our images are not scuppering our site’s SEO, it’s important to make image file sizes as small as we can get away with, without sacrificing the quality of the image.
With quick, easy to use, and more importantly, free tools like Quick JPEG Resize and Crop at your fingertips, there’s really no excuse for not doing so.
One word of warning here. WordPress offers the convenient feature of being able to resize images for you. Do not let it, because this does nothing to improve page load times – instead, it’s the browser that resizes the image, after it has been loaded up.
WordPress Image Optimization #2
The next all-important step is the Alt Text. Search engines are not human. While we can look at a picture of an Upper West Side apartment and immediately appreciate it for what it is, a search engine cannot do so, because it doesn’t have any eyes.
But what it does have is the ability to read the Alt Text, and it’s this that tells the search engine exactly what the image is. Make sure that the Alt Text is relevant and accurate, and relates to the content on the page.
WordPress Image Optimization #3
Because we are using WordPress for our blog, we can change the file name before or after uploading the image. In either case, it’s necessary to choose a file name that accurately describes the image – ideally in as few words as possible, using the keyword or keywords we want to rank for.
The importance of renaming the image file name cannot be understated – a quick check on Google Images will reveal that just about any image that pops up will contain the keyword used to discover it in its file name.
WordPress Image Optimization #4
According to most SEO sources, there is absolutely no SEO benefit to be gained whatsoever from adding an image caption.
So this needs we don’t need to bother, right?
Wrong. Just because the caption doesn’t have a direct impact, it doesn’t mean it won’t have an effect. One of the critical factors in any site’s SEO is its bounce rate.
Bounce rate refers to the number of people who visit a site, decide they don’t like what they are seeing, hit the ‘back’ button and go somewhere else. The more people who do that, the higher the bounce rate gets. And Google doesn’t like high bounce rates. At all.
This is where adding a nice image caption can help.
Getting back to the initial reason as to why we add images. We do so because we want to grab the attention of readers. One of the curios things about website readers is that once they spot an image, their eyes automatically drift down to see if there’s a caption there – and it needs to be there.
According to Drew Eric Whitman of Ca$hvertising, it’s a proven fact that images with captions under them get 200% greater readership than regular copy does. Simply put, not having a caption means that half the readers will be gone without reading a single word! So not only does the caption have to be there, but it had better be a damn good one.
Image credit: ra2 studio – Fotolia.com