Optimising images for search engines

Images play an important role in web design. They not only add an aesthetic appeal to your site but help in expressing ideas and thoughts.

They can influence buying habits, grab attention and create a lasting impression about your site on the customer. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

It’s little wonder that Avatar with its beautiful visuals, breath-taking imagery and eye-popping graphics has been so successful at the box office. But what would search engines such as Google think about Avatar? Let’s begin by analysing how Google views an image:

  • Alt attribute: Google and other search engines are visually impaired when it comes to images. So they look at the alt attribute to read the description of the image. If you have a picture of a man with a cheesy grin, put “man with cheesy grin” inside the alt attribute. Try to summarise what the image is about; don’t overdo it though. This will not only help search engines but is beneficial for visitors who disable images or use text readers. Note: The alt attribute is commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as the “alt tag”.
  • File names: Use a descriptive file name. If the name of your file is “0001.jpg”, then search engines don’t know what it represents. It’s much better to have “man-cheesy-grin.jpg” as a file name. As with alt attributes, don’t get carried away. Having a long file name such as “silly-looking-man-with-cheesy-toothy-grin.jpg” is a bad idea. Also, it is good practice to separate words in a file name with a dash instead of an underscore.
  • Relevancy: You should use relevant images for your website. Search engines examine the copy/text around the image and see how closely the two relate to each other. If you are selling car polish, then having an image of a gorilla will throw search engines off. Customers may get the joke but search engines don’t have a sense of humour.
  • Keywords: Now that you know about alt attributes and descriptive file names, try to use keywords in them. If you are using “cheap car polish” as a keyword, plug that keyword into the file name and alt attribute of your car polish image.
    Although search engines place more importance on actual text than images, it is good practice to optimise images. This way search engines will be able to understand what your image is about and your page rank will increase in organic search results.

Recommended for you:
10 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic to your Blog Posts

But coming back to Avatar, would Google enjoy it? Maybe if it had sub-titles.


Post a Comment