Images in blog posts are incredibly important.
First of all, they add visual interest and help to draw in the eye and break up the text. Secondly, they make your blog “pinnable,” which could be a huge source of traffic for you via Pinterest. Additionally, by including an image in your blog post, you open up a new source of search engine traffic: Google Images.
When someone goes onto Google to look for something, they might choose the “image” option, and if you optimize your images properly, you might come up in that search, and that will lead people back to your blog.
SEO Optimizing Images on Your Blog:
1. Make sure to always include an image in your post. My favourite sources for creating images include PicMonkey and Canva. My favourite source for finding royalty-free images is Compfight. Of course, I often use my own photography to accompany blog posts, especially on my cooking blog.
2. Before you upload the image, check the size. Huge images take longer to load, and therefore affect how quickly your website loads. Slower loading speeds affect your Page Rank. If you are shooting on a digital camera, use Photoshop or PicMonkey to make the image smaller. I always shrink mine down to 650 px wide, because it fits the width of my blog perfectly, and then I repurpose the image for Facebook. This leaves me with an image that is usually only a couple hundred kilobytes, and that loads quickly.
3. Add a title and/or watermark, if you like. I will often write the name of the recipe on the image, and I watermark with my website in the corner. This may not affect your SEO per se, but it may help to drive traffic to your blog, and keep people from stealing your images.
4. Once the image is uploaded, make sure you fill in the blanks. Make sure you change the “Title” from whatever the default is (ie: screencapture or DSC… or Photo) to a more descriptive version of what the image is. This is important, because no one will search for “photo” or “DSC,” but they will search for “SEO optimized images in blog posts.” Make sure you copy/paste the same text from “title” into “alt text” and “description.” “Alt text” is for those who are visually impaired, and “description” is what people see in the yellow text box when they hover over the image. Be sure to also give your image a caption, it’s also important because it’s one thing people will likely read.
Next week, we’ll talk about titles and how choosing the right one can help to drive traffic to your blog.