How do I optimize my photos for SEO?

The number one question we get from photographers starting their SEO journey is: “How do I optimize my photos for SEO?” This is definitely an important subject because you don’t want to stuff a bunch of keywords in your Alt Text, and think your site is optimized. It does take a little more effort than that. Let’s have a look!

There’s two main things you want to focus on with each of your Pages or blog Posts:

  1. Keyword optimization
  2. Size optimization

Keyword Optimization focuses on the keyword you want to be found for that specific Page/Post. So if you want your Post to be found for “The Biltmore Wedding” you’ll focus keywords will be Biltmore and Weddings.

Size Optimization refers to both the Pixel Dimension, and how many Kilobytes/Megabytes the photo takes up. We need to strike the right balance so the picture looks great, but doesn’t take forever to download (which can be an issue for people viewing on mobile).

Keyword Optimization for Images

Adding captions on your photos make a huge difference! Photo: Raman Oza
  • Filename. The filename is very important, and is a good place to add keywords. But don’t forget to add your branding to ensure they don’t get stolen. An example is ¬©JaneDoePhotography-target-keyword-0001.jpg
  • Alt Attribute. You’ve likely been using this already. But you may have been using them incorrectly. Alt Text is not a place to “Stuff” your keywords, but a way to communicate to the Visually Impaired. You should be more concerned with describing your photos so the blind and visually impaired can understand your content. Through describing your photos, you’ll naturally end up using keywords. AND, you’ll find that you gain additional traffic from various keywords that you weren’t focusing on.
  • Captions. While Alt Text describes the photo, Captions augment the story in the photo. It’s your opportunity to talk directly to the viewer about the photo. What happened, why’d you take it, what’s the context of the photo. Make it funny, make it emotional, make it connect with your audience. Not only is this a great way to use keywords, but it’s a wonderful way to make the experience of looking at your photos unforgettable. Because many photographers don’t take advantage of this, you can gain a tremendous advantage over those photographers that refuse to use them.

It’s very important to keep your Alt Text and Captions NATURAL! It’s a huge turn-off to read an “overly optimized” page. Well, don’t forget that applies to Alt Text too. A visually impaired person “reads” the alt text instead of looking at your photos. So, don’t forget their user experience.

Are you struggling with Alt text and Captions?

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Size Optimization for Images

Speed is one of the many factors that Google uses to rank websites and pages for the different keywords people are searching for. Unfortunately, photographs increase the size of the page, which means we need to be mindful of the size of our photos, AND ensure that our websites are technically fit.

Here are the areas to focus on to guarantee your photos are delivered quickly.

  • When saving your photos, size them appropriately. They usually never need to be bigger than 2,000 pixels wide. And use a JPEG setting of 70-80.
  • Use a lossless jpeg compression utility like JPEGMini to further reduce the size of your photos. In fact, if you use something like JPEGMini, you can probably save your photos in the 80-90 range because you’ll still get a huge reduction in size.
  • Use WordPress! WordPress’s has a built in function called Responsive Images. This feature automatically sizes your photos appropriately based on the device it’s being viewed on. So, phones will display smaller photos than tablets, and tablets display smaller photos than computers, and even high resolution monitors can display the higher resolution images.
  • Use a hosting company that offers SSL and HTP2. This allows your photos to all download at one time, instead of queuing up and downloading 2 or 4 at a time. This may be a little technical, but all you have to do is ask your hosting company if they offer free SSL, and HTTP2, and if they don’t find someone that does. Flaunt Sites offers both, and you don’t have to do anything, it’s automatically configured for you.

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