Adding pictures to your website is a very easy way to make it much more visually appealing to your visitors. And, there’s the added bonus that it’s great for SEO too.
Images actually effect your website’s SEO efforts in two ways.
1. The parts of the image that Google and the other search engines read is direct.
2. The way the images effect your visitors’ actions is indirect.
Search engines cannot see the pictures you use on your posts and pages, at least not yet anyway.
The HTML in the source code of your website let’s them know that there are images. However, the search engines need a little help to get a better idea of what’s in the pictures.
That help comes in the form of something called Alt Text.
Alt text , or alternative text, is actually text that you can place in the source code that hides behind the image. You can add it manually in the HTML, or with WordPress you can do it the easy way.
When you upload an image to your site, it will be stored as media —
When you look for your image within media, you will see an box where you can add text:
Alternatively, you can click on the image within the body of your post like this:
Which will let you edit the alt text as well:
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you add alt text, it’s just important that you do.
The best practice is to accurately describe the picture.
That doesn’t mean use the same SEO optimized alt text in every picture on the page. However, you can strategically place the page or post’s target keywords within the alt text–just don’t get spammy.
For example -
If your keyword was pink kitten mittens, then you could use alt text in appropriate picture like:
The great thing is that if the pictures are relevant to your content, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with relevant alt text.
Time on site is believed to be a key aspect of Google’s ranking algorithm. Therefore, when someone lands on your website, it’s important to keep them there.
Enticing images can also direct people from the original page they landed on when entering your site to other pages or posts on your site.
And guess what?
Giving your readers something else to click on helps you reduce bounce rate too.
Just make sure your pictures are topical. Misleading your readers for a short-term boost to your website usage metrics is not going to win you any fans, nor will it help you long-term.
Now you know that it’s great to use images on your website. But, where do you get them?
First things first -
DON’T just grab whatever you find on a Google image search and download it for your own usage.
Some stock image companies have made it their business model to aggressively go after websites that used their art without paying for it. Apparently that has been more profitable for them than what they make actually selling the images.
Luckily, there are some great options out there for getting images for your site.
If you have money and are short on time, you can always sign up for a stock image service. A place like Depositphotos offers pay-as-you-go plans as well as plans that allow 10 to 50 image downloads daily for extreme needs.
For the price, you get a lot. Please check them out through my referral link here.
Smart phones have amazing cameras these days, and with certain types of sites, like a cooking site or a fitness site, personal pictures mean so much more to your readers than stock images.
Another great way to add unique images to your site without the need to take tons of new pictures yourself is to make or buy some custom graphics. In case you haven’t noticed, that awesome picture of me at the top left of this site isn’t real. (And, it only cost $5.)
Some sites offer free images. They don’t have nearly the amount of pictures that paid sites do. But, if you have lots of time to hunt and little money to spend, or you’re cheap like me, they’re awesome.
Here’s some to get you started:
I’m sure there’s more sites like these out there too, and if you know any that you think should be added to this list, please let me know.
Images are a great way to enhance your website. From drawing readers in and keeping them engaged, to giving Google a little more useful information about what your site is about, images matter.
And, they’re a great way to let your personality shine through all that text.