A picture is worth a thousand words. This idiom, wrongly referred to as an old Chinese proverb, is useless when it comes to page optimization. In fact, the text is still the main factor taken into account when search engines rank a website. Including images in the text does, however, have a positive impact on page optimization. Images, charts and photographs make the text not only clearer, but also more appealing to the eye. When it comes to images, we have to pay attention to several parameters such as file names, titles, image content and alternative texts.
“Alt” can be defined as an alternative text. It is used to describe the content of images on a website. Search engines still can not analyze images (although they are becoming more effective at it) and the best solution is to facilitate this process for them. Relevant keywords describing the images might help get traffic from search engines for images and from organic search .
“Alt” text in a code looks like this:
<img src="catpicture.gif" alt="Cute kitten">
Alt text describes the content of an image. It is used in the following scenarios:
Favicon is an image visible in browser tabs, bookmarks and the browser history. Favicon.ico does not directly impact the ranking of a website.
Including a favicon in order to increase the usability of a website is recommended. The website will look more appealing in browser tabs and in bookmarks. Some of the benefits mentioned are: brand recognition, increase of trust, time saving. In short: it is worth considering!
As with other elements, attention should be paid to how images are displayed. Images that do not load have a negative impact on the usability of a website. In addition to user loss, they might also lead to lower rankings in search engines. Making sure that all images load correctly is recommended. In the case of any issues, the best solution is fixing all broken links.
Including relevant keywords in the text is the key to ranking high in search engines. Therefore, images should be viewed as an additional space to put keywords in. If a website is about air conditioners, including images of air conditioners and describing them properly is recommended. An article about cats is far more interesting and appealing, if it includes properly described images of cats. Using descriptive image names, adding alt texts and title texts might also impact the optimization process in a positive way.
All of the above image describing practices are highly recommended. These are simple changes that will result in the increase of traffic on a website. Properly described images will affect image search results primarily, but they might also help in ranking higher in organic search results.
Jacek Wieczorek is the co-founder of Pulno. Since 2006, he has been optimizing and managing websites that generate traffic counted in hundreds of thousands of daily visits.
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