An image is a powerful marketing tool whether used online or offline. Yet images on website are often poorly managed by businesses that do not realise images can contribute to sales and SEO. On many business sites, imagery is used only to break up text, which is wasting its potential.
Learn more about how to best employ website imagery here.
Why Is Website Imagery So Important?
Website imagery supports your online marketing and sales efforts in numerous ways. A good image can attract your customers to click through to a blog post when it is featured on Facebook. They can also support key ideas you are conveying on a landing page and evoke emotions to increase your conversion rate.
Good image management, including the creation of optimised description, alternative and caption text can support your website’s SEO efforts. This will push your site higher in the rankings and allow your website to be found by more potential clients.
Imagery is therefore more than just a way to break up the monotony of your website’s copy. It is a marketing aid in its own right and one that can improve the results of any marketing activity you undertake.
Finding the Right Image For Your Site
One of the most popular sources of images on the web is using stock images or images taken from other sites. Some individuals will consider this under the ‘fair use’ of images but in reality you must have permission to use any image.
Some bloggers who have not realised this have been sued and been closed down as a result. Many of these bloggers used Google to search for images and then directly copied them to place on their blogs.
Google’s image search is a poor choice for image selection. There are questionable copyright issues and there are companies who search for images to find those who have not obtained permission to use an image. These companies then inform the copyright owner and take the offending website owner to court.
Unless you have the facilities (or the budget) to create the images yourself, a good source of website images is using a stock image website. Usually these websites contain thousands of ready-made images for you to download. Some of these images are free, sometimes requiring you to credit the original artist, while others you have to pay for.
The quality of images on these sites is high and there are sometimes options to buy in bulk to save on costs. The only issue is finding an image fit for your particular purpose. For your image you will want to consider several aspects to ensure the image improves your return on marketing activities.
Some of the image properties you may want to look for are:
- High quality image with a high resolution.
- A larger image which you can reduce in size (a small image becomes blurry when expanded).
- An image which is relevant to the content you are attaching it to.
- Colours that compliment your brand and the rest of the site.
- If you are using people within your image, you may want to look for happy smiling faces looking into the lens. This has been proven to increase engagement with the picture and page content.
Uploading The Image And Best Practices
You will want to place the image in a prominent position on the website. This could be at the top right or left of the website page next to the first paragraph. Alternatively you could place the image in-between the first and second or second and third paragraphs to interrupt the text. For longer pieces (1000-1500 words) it might be best to use two more pictures, placing one at the top and another further down the page.
If you are selling a product online and using images to support that, you should have multiple images taken at different angles.
Choosing the best file type for your image is important. You want to have your image at the best quality but also at the smallest file size. Images which use significant memory take a long time to download when a user visits your page. The average visitor will only wait three seconds for a website to load before abandoning.
Therefore, experiment with the different image types to see which offers you the best combination. For photographic images, often you will find the jpeg format is your best option.
When you upload the image there are a couple of fields which support the basic SEO contribution of the image. The first is the file name or description of the image. Many businesses simply assign an alphanumeric code or simple text string to the image. An image downloaded from a stock image site is likely to have a non-descriptive title.
This should be changed to something which would have meaning to the search engines. For instance a picture of a Dell computer could have the description as “dell-computer.jpg”. It is important to use hyphens (-) rather than underscores (_) as search engines see words connected with underscores as one word.
Next you need to set the alternative text for the image. This is the text which will display should the image not be available to be viewed on the site. Include the keywords in the alternative text you want to rank for. The same practice is applicable to the caption that is attached to your image.
Having an image on your website can be beneficial as it provides a method to attract the attention of your reader and improves the uptake of your offer. To make the most of your image you have to ensure it aligns with your website design and the messaging on the given page. To get the SEO benefits from your image you have to tailor the description, caption and alternative text to include keywords you want to rank well for. Doing all of this will ensure your images support your marketing efforts.
- Go through your website and ensure that your images have the correct labelling for their description, caption and alternative text.
- Test to see whether your images could use up less memory in other formats.
- Check the load time of your webpages that include larger images.