5 Things You Need to Know to Optimize Images for SEO

One of my big blogging goals for 2017 is to nail SEO, to bring more traffic to To & Fro. I've taken course after course and read article after article on the topic, and must admit, it hurts my head. There is just so much to know. While I am still slowly wrapping my head around SEO and its importance, I am making small gains in optimizing my content. 

I don't often share blogging tips on To & Fro, but I do want to share a recent SEO success of mine. It is my hope that the steps I used for my post, will also help others that are currently battling those three little letters. Thanks to a few extra steps before I hit publish, I was able to optimize both my content and my images for SEO, and as a result, have this post rank on Google, be pinned multiple times per day on Pinterest and continue to hold the highest number of page views of any post on To & Fro. To me, that's a success worth sharing.

How to Optimize Images for SEO

What is SEO and why is it so important? 

While Search Engine Optimization may seem like a big fancy phrase, its explanation is simple -  optimized, targeted content. 

Regardless of what your site provides, the majority of web traffic is driven by major search engines, such as Google. These search engines provide targeted traffic, or people looking for what you offer. However, in order to drive this traffic, your site needs to have good SEO. If a search engine can't find your site, you will miss out on incredible opportunities to drive traffic and increase readership. With the proper research and execution of keywords, you can create search engine and user-friendly content to drive more traffic. 

Bottom line: If you have good SEO, it will make your website visible on search engines, increasing your exposure and audience and making you an online influencer. Which I'm pretty sure is every blogger's goal.

How to Optimize Images for SEO

Images are a vital part of creating quality, engaging content online. Not only are your keywords important for your website's SEO, images are also a large piece of the SEO puzzle. Not a lot of people realize that images generate a TON of traffic from image-based search engines, such as Google Images. 

Images are a strong visual component to any webpage, so just like the body of your post, you also want to make sure they too are optimized properly to drive more traffic to your site. 

Luckily, optimizing images for SEO is easier than you think, once you know what to do.

Optimize your blog images for SEO w/ these helpful tips! 
Click to tweet. 

Here is what you need to know.

5 Things You Need to Know to Optimize Images for SEO

For the sake of this post, we're going to use the above mentioned SEO optimization success story as an example.   I am currently using Blogger as my platform, so the examples given will be in Blogger (sorry WordPressers!). 

Image relevance

First and foremost, use images relevant to what your content is about. For example, if you're talking about how to take your own silhouette maternity photos, you don't want a photo of a parrot. Instead you want photos of what you're writing about, such as camera equipment, setup, silhouette photos, etc. 

Not only will this help in search engines, but it will also help when you go to share your post on social media, or when someone else shares you post on social media, such as Pinterest.

Image size

Image size is a crucial factor for reader experience. You want a webpage that is pretty to look at, but also quick to load. If the photos on your page take a long time to load, chances are readers won't be sticking around. Make sure the image size is as small as possible, without compromising the image quality. In other words, you don't want a huge image but you also don't want one that is fuzzy or grainy.

Similar to relevancy, you want a mixture of vertical and horizontal photos in your post. For example, when pinned on Pinterest, vertical images appear larger and often receive more views that pinned horizontal photos.

File type

Make sure your images are in a file type supported by your website. The most common are jpeg and png files. 

File name

The average digital camera assigns a numeric file name to each image you take, such as "DSC0001.jpg"However, like in the text of your post, keywords are just as important when naming an image. Avoid using default names, as they do not provide any information about the image, what it contains or how it might be used

How to Optimize Images for SEO

Instead, using descriptive file names with keywords separated by hyphens (-). This will help Google locate and rank your image.  Also think about how potential visitors search for things online. What naming patterns do they use when they search? 

Example: While I am including the above photo in this SEO post, naming it "image-seo-optimization.jpg" makes no sense as it does not describe what the photo is about. A better name would be "maternity-silhouette.jpg", which describes the photo perfectly. 

If you want to see the importance of the file name in action, pick a topic and do a search in Google. View the images that rank in Google Images - they almost always have the keyword you searched for in their file name.

Alt Text

When you see a silhouette maternity photo, chances are you're instantly going to recognize what's going on in the picture. Problem is, search engines do not have the same recognition capabilities  Instead, they rely on something called "alt text". You must help them understand the image through this alt text, or text alternative. 

Alt text is probably the most important image optimization factor. A good practice is to keep them short, but descriptive, and to also include keywords for that specific post. 

Here's how to add alt text to your image in Blogger:

1. Right click on your image to bring up this blue tool bar. Click on "Properties".

How to Optimize Images for SEO

2. Clicking on "Properties" will open this Image Properties window. In the "alt text" line, add your keywords.  For the sake of this post, my alt text was the title, which seemed to be very effective and which I continue to do for a lot of my post images.

How to Optimize Images for SEO

So you've written your post, inserted your images and considered the above tips. Before you hit publish, make sure to ask yourself these six important questions.

When it comes to SEO, ask yourself these 5 questions before you hit publish:

  1. Are your images and keywords relevant to your brand, and this specific post?
  2. Did you properly execute keyword research to optimize information and images?
  3. Is your information useful and helpful?
  4. Is your content easily readable?
  5. Is this page answering the question being asked?

The bottom line is that if you take the time crafting the perfect post, make sure you don't forget about the images. Like in my example above, sometimes taking the few extra minutes to make sure your images are optimized, really does make all the difference between a post getting buried and a post being seen. 

Interested in learning more? Check out my SEO tips for recipe posts

Do you have any additional tips for optimizing SEO? I'd love to hear!

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Note: This post originally appeared on To & Fro in January 2015 and has since been updated.

How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass

Celebrate Canada 150 with FREE admission for the entire year to the many Parks Canada places that call this beautiful country home!

How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park

Did you hear the news? In 2017, Parks Canada is inviting all Canadians and visitors from around the world to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary at our national treasures from coast to coast to coast. 

To mark this special year, they’re offering FREE admission to all Parks Canada locations in 2017!  This Discovery Pass gives you unlimited free opportunities to enjoy the National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas and National Historic Sites that call this beautiful country home.

How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park

We received our Discovery Pass in the mail the other day, and the planning has already begun.

So, how will we take advantage?

In a perfect world, we would quit our jobs, load up the car and head across Canada, checking National Park after National Park off the list.  But, in reality, there’s jobs, a house, school and those dreaded things called bills.

While they’re won’t be an epic National Park road trip in our near future, we are fortunate enough to have one of the best National Parks (in my opinion at least) located just minutes down the road from our family cottage.  

It is a place that I have visited almost every summer for the past 30 years, one that Steve has visited for over 10 years now and one that little miss Morley had the pleasure of meeting this past summer for the very first time. 

Bruce Peninsula National Park is how we will be using our FREE 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass.

Morley, my sister in law and I at the Bruce Peninsula National Park lookout tower, located at the Visitor's Centre. Photo taken Summer 2016.
How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park

Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with FREE admission to Parks Canada places in 2017!

I’m usually pretty hesitant to share the special place known as the Bruce. As one of my favourite places in the world, I feel pretty protective of it. 

Over the years, it has gone from a hidden gem to, well, a popular tourist destination with visitors from all over flocking to enjoy.  It’s safe to say, it is not the same quiet place I remember growing up as a kid. 

But, at the same time, it is a special place, and one worth sharing.

How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park
How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park
How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park
How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park
How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park
How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park
How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park

A hidden gem in southern Ontario, Bruce Peninsula National Park has so much to offer. From hiking a section of the famous Bruce Trail and swimming, kayaking and canoeing through the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay, to camping amongst the birch and cedar trees and viewing wildlife galore, Bruce Peninsula National Park has something for explorers of all ages.

See also: Plunging into the Deep of Fathom Five National Marine Park

Check out @BrucePNP, the hidden gem in the @ParksCanada places! #Canada150

Want to see Canada’s National Parks for yourself? It’s not too late! Get your FREE 2017 Discovery Pass HERE. Be sure to check the Parks Canada website for important information and rules regarding the free 2017 Discovery Pass. 

How I Plan to Use My Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - Bruce Peninsula National Park

Why visit Parks Canada places?

Canada’s National Parks are a country-wide system of representative natural areas of significance. By law, they are protected for public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment, while being maintained in an unimpaired state for future generations. National Parks have existed in Canada for well over a century. Currently, Parks Canada manages 46 National Parks, four National Marine Conservation Areas, 168 National Historic Sites, and one National Landmark. These wild places, located in every province and territory, range from mountains and plains, to boreal forests and tundra, to lakes and glaciers, and much more, and protect the habitats, wildlife and ecosystem diversity representative of - and sometime unique to - the natural regions within Canada.

National parks are among Canada's - and the world's - natural jewels. So, whether you’re looking for adventure, fun for the whole family, or a break from the everyday, Parks Canada has countless unique experiences to suit your needs. And they are just waiting to be explored by YOU!

Did you get your 2017 Discovery Pass? How will you use it? What is your favourite Parks Canada place? I'd love to hear!

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