When it comes to improving your page rank, perhaps the most important thing you can do for your website is to target your content towards specific keywords. However, just because content is the most important aspect of your search engine optimized site doesn’t mean that content is the only thing which will improve your page rank. Images on your website can be employed to improve your page ranking slightly and contribute to your SEO efforts. Optimizing images is not terribly complicated, but it does require a bit of care to prevent your site being flagged for keyword stuffing. Here are the two most important things to keep in mind when optimizing your website’s images.
Utilize Your Tags
There are various HTML tags and attributes which deal with images. Several of these are specifically meant to be used to describe your image to browsers which don’t display images. Since a web crawler is an automated program, it does not look at your actual images and try to discern relevance from them. Instead, it looks at these tags for an explanation of your image.
As such, there is a great opportunity here to provide the web crawler with keywords which are relevant to your website and the image. Alt tags, image titles, and image names are all looked at by the web crawler, and so including keywords in these places can be very helpful. However, it is important to remember that you can trigger Google’s spam filters if you fill these tags with too many keywords, or use the same keywords too many times for different images. Keeping your alt tags and image names relevant to the image will prevent triggering Google’s spam filters, but it is still important to try and find ways to work your keywords into these images.
Image optimization is fairly simple in concept, but finding the right mix of keywords can be difficult. While it is tempting to stuff alt tags and image names with keywords, it is important to remember the actual purpose of these tags: To tell the crawlers and other people who don’t see the image what the image is supposed to display.
Optimize Your Image Data
No matter how relevant the image, if it takes a long time to load it will only hurt your page rank. As such, it is incredibly important to optimize your page’s load speed. Images can take a very long time to load if they are stored on the server without being compressed. By compressing the image, you allow your website to load quickly, and there are many ways to do so without sacrificing image quality.
In addition to compressing your images, it is important to use universally-recognized file formats. For websites, this means JPEG and GIF format. These formats are the ones which most major web browsers recognize, and they are also the most compression-friendly formats used today. By making sure your images are stored in these formats, you are ensuring that your website will display correctly on most browsers.