Making the Most of Your Videos & Images
Engaging content is more than just words on a screen. Images and video play an important role in keeping a reader entertained as well as add to your message. But you can’t just upload any old picture, or video, and hope it keeps someone on your page long enough to fill in a form. Here’s a quick SEO image optimization guide on how to make the most out of your images and video, for your visitors and for the search engines.
Paint a Picture
When you’re looking for or creating an image, you need to think about a number of things. First, you need to think about why you are using an image. An image should be used to enhance your content. It should be relevant to what you have written, and should either help explain something visually or support a point you are making. If it doesn’t do either of those things, maybe you don’t need an image. Or you need to find a different one.
Once you’ve found an image that fits your content, next decide where to put it. Typically images work best higher on the page as people don’t always scroll down. So if you’re putting in one image, try and keep it above the fold. Another thing to remember is; don’t put key information, or text, inside the image. Not only can it not be read by search engines, but if for some reason the image doesn’t display, the rest of your page becomes redundant. The goal is to have a visually pleasing page, one that uses images and other techniques (like subheads and bullets) so your reader is enticed.
Don’t Forget Behind the Scenes
So now you’re uploading your image, in the right place, it’s important to set an image size so your users’ browser doesn’t need to wait until the image has loaded to render the rest of the page. To create visual consistency, keep the image size the same. It will help give your pages a structured feel.
Again, to protect against an image not loading, help the visually impaired, and to aid your SEO, make sure the filename of your image is relevant Banana.jpeg is much easier for Google to understand than 234064-Wide.jpeg is. The same goes for alt text and anchor text. Try and be descriptive and avoid keyword stuffing. For example with your alt text; “a yellow banana in a white bowl“ is much better than “banana, fruit, yellow thing, Bananarama, apple, orange.” However, it is important to keep your alt text and file name different. The alt text should be more descriptive. It is possible to over optimize!
A Video Paints Ten Thousand Words
SEO image optimization also applies to embedded videos. Video can really help to bring your content alive. Videos that dig deep into a topic are popular, especially if they answer questions. The same goes for linking to relevant content or breaking down a topic on YouTube.
If you’re thinking about using video you need to keep a couple of things in mind. First; people watch videos to either learn something or to be entertained. If you can’t do either of those things then perhaps a video isn’t the right medium for the content. For example, a white paper may be appropriate for lengthy or technical information. However, if you can turn that white paper into a how-to-use video, that may engage your audience.
Lastly, consider transcribing your video content, especially for technical or in-depth subject matter. Your audience may want to refer to the transcription in lieu of taking copious notes.
Stick To What You Know
A video is a great opportunity to help you show your expertise on a topic. If you’re an expert on Origami, then here’s your chance to show it off. If you’re not an expert, then, again, perhaps a video isn’t what you should be focusing on. On average the most popular videos on YouTube are around the 2-minute mark. Try and condense your information into that timeframe. If it runs longer, you run the risk of people getting distracted. If it’s much shorter, are you really providing enough useful information?
Once you’ve posted your video, you can use YouTube’s audience retention report to see where your viewers drop off and look for a pattern to get more people to the end. Google recommends that you post regularly on YouTube, as there is a correlation between the highest performing videos are regular posting. If you’re stuck for inspiration look at videos on similar channels and relevant comments.
Give Me Credit
As an aside, remember if you’re sharing images you haven’t created yourself you need to check that they are either:
- In the public domain and free to use for your business. Or
- You’ve paid for them (using a service like Getty Images for example)
If they’re public domain images you also need to make sure you’ve given credit to the photo’s owner. You can see an example of this at the bottom of this blog post.
SEO Image Optimization In a Nutshell
If you follow the above tips, you should be well on your way to engaging website visitors… the ultimate goal for your SEO efforts. If you’re interested in more detailed information on how to maximize the power of your images, then check out this great post from Google Developers, where they really get into the nitty-gritty of what you need to do to squeeze all the SEO juice out of your images.
What SEO image optimization techniques do you use?
Blog Post updated: 28/8/18 – Originally Published 12/5/16
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