SEO and Images on Your Website

As you know, I come from a background in web design and development and lately my clients have been asking me very specific questions about SEO (search engine optimization). Search engines such as Google use robot programs to read through a website’s html code. The search engine ranks the website’s relevancy based on the keywords it finds. So it makes sense to use keywords and phrases throughout your site that are searched for often by your target market and are relevant to your subject. Recently I was asked for tips on seo’ing images on a website. Here you go!

  1. Use keywords in the image file name. Be sure to name your image using keywords that match the topic of the article (not neccessarily the content of the image). Naming an image “image001.jpg” is throwing away an opportunity to establish relevancy. Instead name it using keywords and hyphens such as, “leather-handbag-001.jpg”. It’s descriptive, will improve SEO plus will help you in the future when you’re wondering what that image is… “Oh yeah! It’s a leather handbag!”
  2. Use your ALT tags. An image alone is just an image to a search robot. The image can’t be “seen” or “read” by the search robot but we can change that if we take advantage of the “alt” tag. The “alt” tag is our opportunity to attach text to that image that the robot can read. A typical image html tag looks something like this: <img src=”image.gif” />. An image tag with the “alt” tag looks like this: <img src=”image.gif” alt=”This Describes the Image” />. You use the alt tag to describe the image or the topic of your post or site. Now you have a double-whammy – your image draws people into reading your article AND the search engines think your article is more relevant and helpful so gives you higher ranking. Good job!
  3. Don’t stuff your ALT tags! It’s tempting, I know, but don’t stuff more than 4 or 5 words into your “alt” tags. Believe it or not, Google knows what you’re up to and will punish you for it. Using a long list of keywords in an “alt” tag will adversely affect your ranking so avoid it.

These are easy things to do. Just start in and before you know it, your entire site’s images will be SEO’d and you’ll be one step closer to that top spot on Google!



Cam Pietralunga is a web and graphic designer with over 10 years professional experience designing and building website and iOS apps. Legit. Pushing herself creatively is her thing whether it's on a detailed pencil illustration, a watercolor painting or a client's new logo.

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