Rob Jennings is a Creative Web Designer that escaped the craziness of Melbourne and exchanged it for the craziness of a little provincial town called Castlemaine in Victoria, Australia. View Rob’s wonderful design work at Explainafide and read the rest of his bio [here].
Ready? Aim? Name!
Because I am someone that specialises in designing websites for artists and Andrea, our host at Open Studio, teaches artists how to make a living from their art, I thought this would be a perfect forum to discuss some of my tips and tricks for optimising your images to help you and your art get discovered by people searching on Google.
Personally I think this is vital for all websites- but when you’re talking about a predominantly visual website such as an artist or photographer then it is doubly as important.
Optimising images for your SEO is so often overlooked that it is a great oppurtunity to gain additional visitors as 90% of your competition haven’t even thought about it!
But how do you optimise your images?
With the advent of digital cameras we all seem to be taking 20 times the photos we did 20 years ago. This is great in so many ways but there is also the increasing issue of finding those images.
Think of the internet in the same way as you would think of your laptop in terms of file management. How do you find that photo of Uncle Rick from Christmas 2007? It’s the only photo you have of him and you really want to give it to your Aunt. Only problem is your digital camera saves things with a file name such as, DC56734.jpg and you have 20,000 photos!
Now think about that situation. Then think that Facebook alone had 100 BILLION images as of the end of 2011. That’s a needle in a haystack if I ever saw one.
How on Earth do people find your artwork?
Fairly easy really, all you need to do is to tell Google exactly what each image is. There’s two ways to do this:
- File name
- Alt Tag
Optimising your images for SEO Tip #1:
Ensure you change the name of each image from DC56734 to a string of words that you want your website to be associated with.
andrea-rosenfeld-art-business-01 would be a good example
This is so rarely done properly it’s not funny. As an example my business blog gets at least 5 hits per day from people looking for ‘antique telephone’. No my website isn’t about Telephones- I used an image discussing antiquated communication systems and called the image ‘antique telephone’.
What does this highlight? There isn’t a single Antique Dealer anywhere in the world that has saved any of their antique telephone images properly!
Optimising your images for SEO Tip #2:
When you are uploading your images into a CMS such as WordPress or Joomla you will see an area for Alt Tag.
Alt tags are used to describe the image.
A perfect example might be: andrea-rosenfeld-burnt-orange-Carnelian-stone-jewelry
This tells Google that it is Andrea Rosenfeld’s Jewelry, it is stone jewelry, it is Carnelian stone and it is a dark orange in color.
Other reasons why spending an extra minute or two on Alt tags is important.
- You will ensure your website gets crawled effectively by Google so it actually understands what your website is about
- People that are visually imparied will benefit.
- If people have slow internet connections the Alt Tag displays before the image opens.
If you happen to specialise in Glass Jewelry and half your content relates to glass jewelry and most of your images refer to glass art, jewelry, glass jewelry then Google knows that you sell glass jewelry. If your images have no Alt Tag it doens’t know if your images are of Uncle Rick or Glass Jewelry.
Optimising your images for SEO Tip #3:
Ensure you make the image size as small as possible without losing any quality. This may mean that you resize the image in terms of pixels and resolution. There are countless ways to achieve this but the easiest way is to make sure you upload the image as the size that you want it rather than resize it later.
Optimising your images for SEO Tip #4:
A small advantage is given to file names that are saved as Google wants them.
Techincally you should use dashes between words in the phrase, such as…
Rather than underscores:
Underscores are read as an alpha numerical character not white space like you intended. The difference for your SEO is fairly minimal so don’t lose any sleep if you’ve got 1,000 images using an underscore but as you load new images up why not do it the symantically correct way?
Optimising your content is far superior in terms of SEO value, but optimising your images cannot be underestimated- especially if you’re an artist, photographer or jeweller.
Well, you have quite a bit of work ahead of you if you want to rename ALL of your past images, but why not start with the new images you just took? Rename the alt tags in your own website so that they are “seen” by Google. Go into Flickr or any other image sharing site and either delete then re-upload or change the file names in that particular site.
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