High-quality images are the cornerstone in telling your hotel’s story. Images are an incredibly powerful way to create an emotional connection with consumers. We also know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to your digital marketing strategy. Even if you have the most visually-stunning website out there, if no one can find it, then it’s pretty useless.
In this article, we will explore how images affect your SEO and how to optimize images for SEO to drive more organic traffic.
How Images Affect SEO
Images play an important part in the overall health of your website. On one level, they make your website more appealing, which improves time on site and overall usability, which in turn impacts your SEO.
More directly, images support the content on your webpage. An image that is surrounded by related text ranks better for the keyword it is optimized for.
Images can also be a great way to drive organic traffic to your website from image-based search engines. Searches done via Google Images are on the rise, as is the level of engagement from Google Images searches.
Images from the Flathead Lake Lodge appear on the first page of Google image search for “horseback riding in Montana"
Add Alt Text Descriptions
Search engines, at the moment, are not able to read an image and determine what it contains. Instead, they use the surrounding text to determine what the image contains. This is where alt text descriptions come in. Alt Text (short for Alternate Text) is part of your webpage’s HTML code. It’s used by screen readers for the visually impaired to understand what an image is.
Alt Text differs from the Title Tag of an image. A Title Tag shows a description when you hover your mouse over the image. It could be an additional call to action, or details about the image.
If you look at this image’s HTML code you can see that the Alt Text description is “Montana Horseback Riding Vacations"
Use Keywords in Your Alt Text
The Alt Text box is a great opportunity to include keywords that you want to rank for. However, your Alt Text descriptions must be relevant to the image first and foremost, not the page. In other words, no keyword stuffing. With this in mind, consider what keywords or search terms make sense, and how to incorporate them into your Alt Text description, while still describing the image.
Update File Names
In the absence of other data, Search Engines will also look at the file name of an image to understand what it contains. This file name might also be used as the image’s snippet in search results, so you want it to be relevant.
For example if your image is of the Eiffel Tower at sunset, the file name should be something like “eiffel-tower-paris-sunset.jpeg.” Try to put the main keyword at the beginning of the file name (in this case “Eiffel Tower”).
Reduce Image Sizes
While you want good quality images, large file sizes can sometimes be overkill and slow down your page-load times, which impacts your SEO. When your website loads faster, it improves the usability, which will in turn increase your website ranking.
To ensure your images load quickly, scale them to the size you want them to be displayed. For example, it’s no good using a 2500 x 1500 pixels image and displaying it at 250 x 150 pixels. The entire image will still need to load.
Keep in mind that reducing an image size doesn’t necessarily reduce the file size. For that, there are tools to help, like ImageOptim, or websites like JPEGMini, PunyPNG and Kraken.io.
Other Ways to Optimize Images for SEO
- Keep your images topical and relevant to the page.
- Include captions where it makes sense to do so (i.e. to illustrate a point). While this doesn’t directly impact SEO, it does make for easier scanning of the page, which improves overall usability.
How Vizlly Optimizes Images
Vizlly removes much of the manual work of optimizing images for SEO. It uses something called schema.org, which is a specific vocabulary of tags (or microdata) within your HTML code that improves the way your image is represented in SERPs. Schema.org is the result of collaboration between Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo! and helps you provide the information their search engines need in order to understand your content and provide the best search results possible. Schema improves the way your page displays in SERPs by enhancing the rich snippets that are displayed beneath the title page.
When you upload an image or video to Vizlly, you only need to enter a caption, short and long descriptions and the relevant keywords. Schema.org then takes all of this information, auto-generates an Alt Text and includes it in your HTML code. So when search engines crawl your site, they have all the information they need to best index your images in search results. Make sure to include all the relevant information and your images will be optimized for SEO.