The easiest way to help communicate a message on your website is through images. Whether the images are infographics, stock photos, photos of your services or products, etc., chances are users are skimming the content of your pages and paying more attention to photos. With this in mind, there are a few things that should be taken into consideration when adding photos to your website.
– Don’t use images found in google search – Avoid the $1,000 (or more) fines by not using photos you find in a Google search and instead use resources specifically for reusing photos. Even if you’re using Google’s image search with the option to reuse selected, you could still find yourself in hot water. Rather, use one of our favorite resources: Dreamstime.com, Shutterstock.com, Freeimages.com and Pexels.com.
– Don’t forget to add images to your sitemap – Adding an image sitemap increases the optimization of your website, although there is not a guarantee all photos will be indexed.
– Avoid using low quality photos – In addition to your website looking professional by using high quality photos, you also increase the potential of social shares. If you’re using low quality photos, your website could see a spike in the bounce rate which ultimately effects your SEO. It is important to remember the quality of photos is more important than the quantity.
– Use images relating to the content – Photos say a thousand words and you want to make sure the ones you’re using on the pages of your website are supportive to the written content.
– Appropriately sized images to improve page load-time – Your website should load within 3-5 seconds, depending on the device, and images that are too large can increase the load time. Tip: When saving photos in Photoshop use the option, “Save for Web” where you can adjust the quality of the photo. If you don’t have Photoshop, Pixlr.com is a free online photo editing resource.
– Use descriptive alt tags – Search engines are unable to see the images on your pages, but by using descriptive alt tags you’re able to communicate what the image is about. Keep in mind, you should avoid stuffing the alt tag with keywords as this could negatively effect your SEO.
By using free image resources found across the web, you are on your way to increasing the optimization of your website. For further reading, check out our blog post on Visual Presentation from our three part blog series on the importance of first impressions.