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When many companies consider building their online presence they put a lot of focus on the words they’re using on their blogs and websites. It’s important to carefully select keywords and work them into text in order to help rank highly in Google when people come to search for related terms.

However, although these words and SEO practices are important, from our experience far too many organisations neglect to think about how their images appear in search rankings, as well as their copy.

The truth is that the way you use, label and link your images is very important and can have some impact on your search ranking, as well as driving a great deal more traffic to your website or blog via Google Image Search.

Image field screenshot

Naming images

It’s important to name your images appropriately. The image name may be called something different depending on what platform you’re using, but in Worpress, it’s Title.

It’s important for search rankings to ensure your images have a relevant name, so avoid keeping generic titles you may have used to stored the image on your device, such as “Photo1”.

Try to think of a title that’s around two words long and separate each word with a hyphen. This will ensure Google sees the title as two separate words as apposed to one long one. For instance, set the title as “red-car” and not just “redcar1”.

Alt tags and Descriptions

The alt and description attributes have different functions but in many ways are similar as they need to describe what the picture is.

Alt tags is short for alternative tags, the alternative text for when someone can’t see the image, whether they have images turned off or rely on a screen reader.

As with all of the image-related fields, these tags will also be important for search so need to be relevant to the content whilst also being terms people are likely to search for.

Linking to the source

Google rewards sites that credit content and images, so if you’re using a photo you’ve found elsewhere, link through to it. This will also help if there are any repercussions with you using an image that doesn’t belong to you. There are many copyrighted images online you shouldn’t ever be using. However, people look more kindly on those who attribute the content, particularly if it’s required as part of a creative commons licence.

It’s important to remember that all of the images you use should always be relevant to the tone of the site and the rest of the content around it. This also means that your image tags and fields should also be relevant to the images themselves. Don’t just use keywords that you think people might search for if they’re not relevant! If search engines uncover misleading uses of keywords and false attribution of content your site could be penalised.

The Codastar team uses a range of tools that enable us to find out if you’re optimising your images correctly by using the necessary tags and labels.

We can check your website for free, so get in touch if you’d like to talk to us about fully optimising images for your website or blog and increasing traffic and search rankings in the long run.

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