You’ve probably heard of SEO and how it is supposed to bring customers to your doorstep in droves. There are arcane formulas that say if you do such and such you’ll get X amount of increased revenue.
However, in the final analysis, it boils down to just attracting visitors and holding their attention for more than 3 seconds. If you can do this, they are much more likely to hang around to see what you have to offer.
Well, pictures do just that and SEO for imagery is often an overlooked part of your website’s overall SEO strategy and today in this article we are going to rectify this and let you in on the secrets of image SEO that you may not be aware of.
When you are finished, you’ll be able to attract your niche market more effectively and with less risk of offending the SEO filtering of the big Search Engines such as Google and Bing.
What’s more, people will look at your web pages and they wouldn’t be able to figure out how you do it. This is the closest thing you’ll ever get to put the “Scarlett Letter” into practice.
You’ll have a better draw to your products and you’ll confuse your competitors to boot. What could be more rewarding than that?
Why Image Optimization Is Important?
Search Engine Optimization for content has been around for a while now and most Netizens are keyword savvy nowadays. They can find their way around the web during their searches and find what they are looking for. However, the adage “Pictures are worth a thousand words”, is true and many now no longer use text searches with SEO loaded keywords inside content when searching.
Instead, they are using visual searches on images to find what they are looking for as they find their searches are quicker, cleaner, and they aren’t bogged down in NLP manipulative sales language. They can find what they want quicker and easier using pictures.
Studies have also shown that the human mind retains pictures better than words. So, if you want to stick in a potential client’s mind. Field an outstanding image to lock your product into their thoughts. This will ensure brand recognition and increased sales.
Methodology: A Plethora of Tips, Tricks, and Ideas
Focus and Relevance
The first thing you need to think about when we are optimizing our images is, do the pictures match with the theme, topic, and flow/thrust of our web page is all about.
This means you make sure the pictures you use are dead on with your product/service. If there is any disconnect between image and topic of your content Netizens will click away as their subconscious mind will force them to click to somewhere else, as it doesn’t like things that are not congruent.
But, if everything is, in harmony, the eye flows between image and text effortlessly and your web page becomes a soothing relief from the blatant hype and “Rah Rah” advertising that gets into your face and turns off the very people it was meant to attract.
A Rose is A Rose?
Another key secret of image SEO is to name all your images with the proper keyword titles. Cryptic image titles don’t show up in the Search Engine stats, as no one will search for them unless they know they exist. So image names like “Pict0002345.jpg” wouldn’t do. However using, “President Obama” as the name of a picture will show up in the pages of results that Google or Bing employ to rank a website.
So, Names are an important part of the SEO process and help potential clients connect with your site. Image type is equally important as well.
PNG images are the best followed by JPGs and lastly GIFs. The cleaner the image and crisper the detail holds the eye beyond the 3-second attention span threshold. Brilliant colors mesmerize and a visitor will linger if for no other reason but to look at what you have put up for them to see.
How to Name Images for SEO
Plain English get better results rather than semantically loaded power words. Net Savvy individuals today automatically, pick up on this and will click away. Simple titles and naming have been shown to be a better draw as Netizens tend to veer away from anything they perceive as “Sell-Speak.”
So follow the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simply Stated) for naming and you’ll bring in those who you are seeking to draw to your website for your niche market.
The Right Picture Is Worth A Thousand Hits
Along with relevance, selecting the picture that conveys your meaning properly is just as important as the written content of the web page itself. Pictures when viewed often force associations in the mind, which are then converted into words. All this happens in an instant so if you have chosen your images with care you automatically embed the key ideas into your visitors.
The human brain can create a story with only three words or a describe something with five. Well, the converse is also true and images convert back into words just as fast. Eugene Swartz one of all time great marketers wrote in his book “The Brilliance Breakthrough” that the human brain creates a word picture from 10 words or less, automatically.
Pictures automatically bring words to the mind that are subvocalized without conscious thought.
Too Many is Too Much
Now we come to the number of images to have on your web page and here putting too many images is just as bad as not having the right image. Aesthetics counts as much as content, image placement, size, and content have to be chosen carefully to give the right impression.
One is fine, two is good, and three is the limit to achieve a good balance between whitespace, content and image.
Once a Netizen has clicked on your web page, it is the images that hold the attention and guide the flow of the eye along to where you want them to.
Smaller is Better
Images should be smaller, full page images shouldn’t be used as they often overwhelm the senses and take away from the content. However, don’t use the browser to resize the pictures. Adobe’s editor does a better job.
Besides the WOW factor, images are resource intensive and it takes the time to download to your device. This means that the bigger the picture will cause a Netizens to click away in boredom. Think of them fluttering around the web like butterflies on the wing. You can lose them if it takes too long to load down an image. Studies have shown that an increase of 1 second in additional download time can equate to the loss of over a billion dollars in sales.
Netizens give you about 3 seconds (4 on mobile devices) of their attention and then go elsewhere. You need to see how much time your images are taking to download and physically adjust their size. ThumbPlus, Pixir, Gimp, and even Adobe has an image size adjustment tool, which you can get for free that will do this for you.
Photoshop is the preferred package for image modification. However, the price tag makes the free tools more attractive to many for manipulating image size for Image SEO.
Consolidation is a Key to ISEO
Another way to make sure you webpage’s images are handled by Search Engines properly is to place all of them inside one directory instead of scattering haphazardly throughout the website’s structure. The Web Spiders take less time to collect the information image and then move on.
The More Is Not Merrier
Keep your alt tags simple and don’t try to keyword stuff JPG titles and captions. Search Engine algorithms deal with image keyword stuffing in a similar way as when they detect you doing it in your content. Following a minimalist strategy of 1-3% will give you better results.
Link Alternative Names to Your Images
Having said the above, DO use alt tags correctly and you will go up in the rankings in image searches. It is imperative that you provide an alt tag for every image that contains one of your products. In addition, you need to follow these guidelines when using alt tags:
- Use plain English as in image file names
- If your products have Part #s/Serial #s/Model #s, give them alt tag
Don’t go overboard with alt tags, though, as Search Engines can and will penalize you if you over optimize. You can, however, add alternate view images of your product(s) and this not only enhances your product’s attractiveness to visitors but you can use alt tags for each image without incurring the wrath of the Search Engine SEO protocols.
Target You Audience
Tailoring your images to your niche can skyrocket a rise in you conversion rates of visitors to customers.
Certain images attract gender and demographic groups that your product or service is focused on. Using this idea and as an example, you can use group pictures to attract female searchers as they are more socially oriented.
- Text after an image works better for the image recognition and retention reasons mentioned earlier. So, the text will be more likely to stick with them.
- Contrary to popular beliefs, men tend to look at faces first. Even if the subject is nude dispelling the myth about eye fixation on other attributes, a widely held belief by many.
- Use of arch-typical images is also a good way to draw in those whom you are seeking to sell to. Association of your product to the right archetype image can boost sales, Brand recognition, and retention of your firm’s name as well as your products/services.
- Emotion in the images also attracts women more than men and targeting your market strategy accordingly will garner a boost in activity from female Netizens.
Where to find ’em
So where do you find the types of images to use on your website? First, many hire specialized photographers who are sensitive to what you are learning today about Image SEO. However, their services don’t come cheap. Photographers who perform these services spend a lot of time analyzing your product market and then coach the images and slant them to fit your needs.
Use of Graphics Artists is increasingly being used as the images needed can be created to order. Advances in CGI Virtual Reality and digital imagery is being put to use more than ever before. It keeps things in-house and is taking the place of reality-based images taken from life. People are now unable to differentiate generated and photographed imagery.
But again, this may be outside your budget constraints.
Images abound on the web. However, Intellectual Property issues are becoming complicated and litigation over use of images are on the rise. Digital watermarks are now on many of the images you see on the web.
There are sources of vast numbers of images available that you can use.
In fact, there are now specialize Search Engines that will find you the images you need to fit your product and theme of your niche.
You have sources like those above and Getty has released over 35 million pics (See above) to the public for free use.
Government agencies also release thousands of images as well. So, sourcing of images is easier than ever. Just remember that it is always best to shoot your own and avoid any future hassles.
However having said the above, there is a movement afoot to copyright landmarks and scenery. This is a new way to generate revenue for governments who are looking to cash in on scenery that is used in many WebPages. Egypt is one and in the future, other countries and even municipalities may follow suit.
The Secret of Captions
Finally, here is a method of Image SEO that is a real winner, as it is not thought of much because it isn’t used by the search Engines directly.
Captions are not tracked. However, they do keep a person focused on a web page beyond the 3-second attention span limit. They also prevent a high “Bounce Rate“, which is a measure of the number of visitors who click on a web page and either get confused by what they are seeing or nothing catches their eye.
This is an analytic that is tracked indirectly based on an analysis of timeout of the session timeout analytics tracking software.
Bouncing may be defined as:
- Closing the tab
- Using the “Back” button
- Clicking to another web page within a certain span of time
- Session Timeout
This can all be found in the book, “Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance”, http://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Metrics-Definitive-Measuring-Performance-ebook/dp/B0031AI0VC
Captions are the unsung heroes that keep a visitor glued to your web page and encourage them to look around and open more pages on your site.
This tactic alone is worth its weight in gold as it is responsible for millions in increased revenue and Visitor conversion. So an astounding catch phrase is all it takes to hold a Netizen’s and get you a new client.
WordPress brings the world to your doorstep so…
You now have an idea where Image SEO can benefit you, your firm and your WebPages effectiveness.
Using alt tags, image size, captions, simple image names, and choosing the right images to get you recognized by the Search Engines and ranked higher.
It is also responsible for a boost in your traffic and your conversion rates as well.
Pictures are not only worth a thousand words. But they are also worth thousands or even millions of dollars as well.
So try any of the ideas mentioned in this article today and see your traffic go through the roof and your bottom line swell. Image SEO is the difference between a “Ho Hum” website and one that rocks the Net and brings in the traffic you want.