Optimizing your images is an important next step once you have found the ones you want to use on your page or post.
Choose the Right File Name
The default file name for images taken with a camera or phone are ugly. They are typically a combination of numbers and letters, such as DSCF0008.JPG or IMG_7976.jpg. Those names don’t tell the search engines ANYTHING about what the image is about, and they certainly don’t give them a clue about what your site is about.
Instead, name them something meaningful BEFORE uploading them to your page or post. If it’s a sunset at the beach, name it beach-sunset.jpg. This will tell Google immediately what the image is.
Scale the Image for SEO
Camera or cell phone images are 1-4 MB and can have a huge impact on the loading time of your website. Slow sites are often abandoned. We want to do everything we can to help our potential clients and customers access our sites.
Reduce the File Size
When you shrink the dimensions of an image, you reduce its file size. If the maximum width of your website is, say, 1000 pixels, there’s no reason to upload an image that’s wider than 1000 pixels. I use Photoshop to do this, but there are other less expensive options: Gimp, Pixlr (I love this one!), PicMonkey (I have used this one plenty, but it is no longer free), Canva and more.
Compress the Images
Image compression reduces the size of a graphics file without degrading the quality of the image to an unacceptable level. This allows more images to be stored in a given amount of disk or memory space. It also reduces the time required for images to load on a website. I use Photoshop for this as well, but here are some alternatives: WP Smushit is a plugin that allows you to compress images after they are loaded; TinyPNG or TinyJPG are online programs if you only have a couple to do.
Adding the Image to Your Page or Post
Alt Text and Title Text
The alt (alternative) text is added to an image so there will be a descriptive text when the image for whatever reason can’t be displayed to the visitor. It is basically a text description of your image.
The text should be descriptive, concise and use focus keywords. Search engines can’t read images, so one of the ways they figure out what an image is about is by reading the alt text.
People use the captions of an image (the text below the image) when scanning an article, as well as the headings in an article. You don’t need to add captions to all images, only when it makes sense to the visitor for it to be there.
Look at the image above. Under the Title and above the Alt Text, you will see an area that says Caption. Whatever you enter into this space will show below that image.
Follow these simple rules and you will be on your way to better ranking.