When we think of SEO (search engine optimization), a lot of us picture finding the “perfect” keyword and then sprinkling it here and there into our fabulously written content. But as most marketers will tell you, content is becoming increasingly non-text based as more and more leads and customers are proving to prefer things like videos and graphics instead.
Of course, this presented a problem for marketers. After all, Google cannot actually physically “see” that picture that you’ve posted to your blog, so how can Google use it to help your pagerank? Here’s the good news: it is possible to optimize non-text content so that it shows up in Google. Here are some of our tips that we’ve learned along the way:
Choose Images That Are Supported By Google
When creating image based content, make sure that the format is Google-friendly. So when you save and upload those beautiful images and infographics, make sure that they are in one of these formats:
If your image currently isn’t in that format, you should be able to easily change it to JPEG or GIF when you choose “Save As”.
Save The Image With A Description
How many of us upload images that still have a name like “IMG1234.gif”? Though we’ve all done it, this isn’t going to help you in terms of search. When you provide a good descriptive name for the image, however, you’re then telling Google exactly what the file is and therefore in what searches it should appear for. So instead of leaving that image as “IMG1234.gif”, save it as “Cute-kitten-licks-a-puppy.gif”.
TIP: Remember to always include dashes “-“ in between words when you save. The dashes tell Google that the words should be separated (while underscores “_” tell Google that words should be combined).
Don’t Forget The Alt Text
Every image should have descriptive alt text attached to it. When you add in alt text, you’re helping search engines understand just what the non-text content is. It also will help anyone who is viewing your image understand just want they’re looking at.
Keep in mind that alt text is all about being descriptive and is very much not about cramming in a bunch of keywords. This isn’t the time or place to be concerned with keywords and keyword phrases.
Reference The Image
If your image is going to be included in any written content, try to reference it in the text whenever possible. When you talk about the image that you’ve uploaded, the search engines will be able to get a better idea of what the content is, which will give your SEO a nice little boost.
TIP: If you can, try to include the alt text description in the referencing body of text (i.e. “And as our picture of the cute kitten licks a puppy demonstrates…”)
Submit An Image Sitemap
Marketers and web designers rarely do this, but if you want to make sure that Google’s got your image, then submit your website’s image sitemap to Google Webmaster. All you need to do is add tags that are image-specific to your sitemap and it’s ready for submission.