Images and photos play an important role in the overall appeal of your blog and an individual post as well as a posts potential to be shared, liked and Tweeted. But most of all they increase a posts potential to be read.
The choice of images used to support your blog post is key. They should be consistent with the blogs topic and be representative of the content and topic of the blog post. They way you incorporate the images into your blog post can also have in impact on the way search engines view and index your post.
Once you have found an image you would like to use there are a few things you should be aware of before adding it to your blog post.
Take care when searching for the right images. Be respectful to any copyrights placed on an image and attribute to the image copyright owner where necessary.
Take the time to search for royalty free images or invest on building your own library, either licensed or images you have taken or created yourself.
Resize and optimise
Once you have the image you want to use on your blog post you will need to size it accordingly for consistency and optimise it to ensure minimum file size but maximum acceptable quality. It is worth investing in image editing software like Photoshop if you are going to take this step seriously.
Resizing simply means reducing the image in size to fit your blog template so all the post feature images (for example) are the same size and aspect ratio. Making them all the same size keeps the overall look and feel consistent.
Optimising the image refers to saving it at an acceptable viewing quality that is the smallest file size but still of decent quality when viewing in your browser. If you’re using Photoshop you may choose to ‘save for web’, creating a JPEG at a ‘quality’ setting of 70 to 80. This is a common setting for a JPEG image. Play around with the settings to find one that suits your image and provides an acceptable outcome.
The main benefit to resizing and optimising your images is an improved page load speed. Page load time being a contributing factor to your SEO performance.
Using keywords to name files
When naming files and images, it is good practice to stick to a particular naming convention. Doing so will help you better manage your image library. A suggested practice is to use the blog posts keyword in the file name along with the name of your blog or website.
Using ALT tags and titles
Once you have uploaded your image into your blogs image library it is important to give it an ALT tag and a description. Doing so provides both a visual queue to the visitor of the site when they hover over the image and also provide search engine bots information about the image. This image information is also seen if displaying images is turned off on the browser.
Be sure to use your posts keywords here also. Use free flowing descriptions that make sense to a human and have relevance to the context of the blog post.
These are just a few simple steps that will go a long way to improving your blogs over all SEO performance and usability. Be sure to comment if you have further suggestions of your own.