How to Drive Traffic to Your Site Using Images
5 April 2021
Having strong images on your website can enhance the user experience significantly. They are an exciting and easy-to-digest way to present information to your visitors, and can boost the overall look of your site. Most importantly, having relevant and engaging images on your website can help to increase traffic as it gives you an SEO advantage. And since 34% of all Google results now include images, optimising your images is time well spent nowadays. Here are some pro tips on how to maximise the impact of your images and shoot up in the rankings.
- Choose the right format and size
Before you start adding images to your site, make sure you are using the right file type. The JPG and PNG are the most common formats online.
- PNG: produces a higher quality image, but file is generally larger
- JPG: image quality tends to be compromised, but file is smaller
There is no right or wrong choice in terms of what format to use. Experiment with both and see what works. You’ll find that different formats are more suited to different images. The main thing to remember is not to upload any huge images.
While large file sizes generally indicate a high-resolution and excellent quality image, they do not belong on your website. This is because they can kill your loading speed which will almost certainly drive up your bounce rate. A slow website will also destroy your chances of ranking well in the SERPs. We recommend using the principle of minimum necessary force when it comes to sizing your images. Try to compress them as small as you can while still maintaining the visual integrity of the image. Most images can be reduced in size significantly without noticeably diminishing in quality. If the image looks in any way grainy or blurry, you know you’ve gone too far.
- Name your images wisely
When you upload an image file to a website, it usually gets a generic, default name like ‘ IMG_1234’. But what does this tell Google and other search engines about its content? Diddly-squat. When it comes to strategic SEO, creating customised, descriptive, keyword-rich image file names is a must. These names tell search engine crawlers what the image depicts, and they can use this information to rank your image appropriately. For example, if you’ve got an image of a known personality on your website, make sure to include the person’s name in your file name. If someone searches this name, your website has a shot at appearing in the search results.
- Optimise your alt tags
People often conflate image file names and image alt tags, but the two are very much distinct and important in their own right. Alt tags, also known as alt text, also describe the context of online images. The purpose of alt tags is to convey this context to the viewer should the image itself fail to load. While alt text won’t always be visible to users, it allows crawlers to index your images properly so they can be displayed for relevant searches. Make sure to be succinct and to-the-point when writing alt text, describing the most important elements of the image without being verbose. You should also aim to include the keywords for which you’d like to be found.
- Add captions
In most cases, visitors will scan over site content rather than carefully read and assess every element. This is one of the main reasons that images are so fundamental to the user experience. To really drive your point home, consider adding a catchy caption to the main images on your website. Google can extract key words from image captions which will improve your chances of being found in the SERPs. As with all things, of course, don’t overdo it. Be selective about the images you caption so not to overload your visitors with text.
- Post original photos
At times, the temptation to use stock images on your website is real. But relying on other people’s work all the time is a slippery slope. Eventually, you’ll find that investing in your own photography is a worthwhile endeavour. Customers value authenticity and originality, which usually makes unique images much more engaging. It will also make much more of an impact in the SEO department, as you won’t be competing for real estate in the results with other sites using the same image. Make sure your images are relevant and of high-quality. This could mean investing in a professional camera or perhaps even hiring a photographer, depending on your budget. Take aesthetically pleasing pictures of your product or service, your unique selling points, or perhaps even some behind-the-scenes action for an exclusive inside look into how you do business. People also respond well to images of smiling faces, so we suggest using images of customers or employees to add a warm human touch to your website and lift the corporate veil.
A website should be a multimedia experience, leveraging the power of words, sounds and visuals to communicate your message in a compelling and memorable way. Images are a key element, bringing life and context to your website and helping you connect with visitors instantly. Focus on using images that demonstrate who you are and what makes you special, and how this can benefit prospective customers. This, combined with the basic best practices outlined above, will attract users in the masses and give them a reason to stick around.
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