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5 Ways to Optimize Images for the Web

Image search is driving a growing amount of traffic. To maximize your images’ search engine visibility and attract more visitors to your website, take the time to optimize your images for the web. Not only should you optimize your images for SEO, you should also optimize them for users. Here are some tips for doing just that.

1. Find the right images

Use high quality images that match the surrounding content. Great images improve the usability of your website, make it look more appealing, and encourage people to stick around longer and share your content with others. While text is the first thing that people look at when they visit a web page, images impact their impression of a website considerably because they’re easy to consume and explain complex information in simple terms.

2. Create descriptive ALT text

Search engines are smart, but they don’t have eyes and can’t view images, so they rely on ALT text to tell them what content an image contains.

3. Use keyword-rich file names

Using keywords in your images’ file names is important because it helps search engines evaluate the relevance of your images. Avoid using image file names full of numbers, symbols, and other meaningless characters that won’t assist search engines and users in determining what an image is about. You should also make an effort to place your site’s images in one folder instead of in several different folders on your site.

4. Use keyword-rich anchor text

Anchor text is an important ranking factor in image SEO. Whenever you link to images on your site, be sure to use the keyword you want the image to rank for as anchor text. Don’t use generic terms like “image” or “photo” as anchor text because it won’t provide search engines and site visitors with meaningful information or improve your images’ rankings.

5. Avoid keyword stuffing

In an effort to boost their rankings and get more traffic from image search, many webmasters stuff keywords into their images’ file names, ALT text, and captions. While doing so might seem like it would improve your rankings, it actually has the opposite effect because it is considered spam and could get your site penalized. What’s more, keyword stuffing makes your site less attractive to visitors and one key element of successful SEO is user-friendliness. After all, if your site doesn’t deliver a positive user experience, why on earth would a search engine want to encourage people to visit it by giving it a good ranking?

Bonus Tip: The bigger the images you use, the better. Just look at the way Google+ and Facebook have updated their networks to host large photos. Supersized photos grab people’s attention and make your website more visually-appealing. For the best results, use lots of images of faces looking out at the viewer because it will give visitors the feeling that they’re making eye contact and encourage them to stay on your site for longer.

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