Adding images to a website creates a tremendous user experience.
When we were young we were taught with books that were visual, they had pictures that helped us understand what the book was all about.
That’s the one thing that has never left us as we grow older, the desire to read publications that are visual.
Imagine reading a newspaper without images or a magazine that was just pages of text, then imagine your website in the same light. Not very engaging is it?
Placing relevant imagery strategically is going to make your work a lot more appealing and hold your readers’ attention for much longer.
Images should be used beyond the purpose of adding them for the sake of adding them, they should be a visual guide to the subject of your post.
The Legal Use Of Adding Images To A Website
Just because you find an image you think will suit the purpose of your post/page doesn’t mean that you can download it and place it on your site.
Images carry the same copyright laws as any other personally owned matter. You cannot use them without permission.
Now having said that there are a number of imagery sites that offer Free To Use images.
These images are covered under the Creative Commons CC0 license, which means they have been dedicated to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work.
Google images also offer Free To Use images, but again make sure you use the correct License.
Type into the search bar the subject of the image you are seeking.
Click on “Images.”
Click on “Tools”
Click on “User Rights”.
Click on “Labelled For Reuse”
From there you are good to go.
Other Places To Find Images
There are many sites that offer free imagery.
Just type “Free Images To Download” into the search bar and a whole list of sites will come up.
I personally use Pixabay, I trust the site, it has been around for some considerable time and they offer a wide range of categories.
These are just a small example of Free To Use sites. there are many similar sites.
Always check that the image is in the public domain covered by the CCO license as some of these sites also carry copyrighted material that can be bought.
If you have any doubt at all, assume it holds a copyright and steer clear.
Even though images can have a great effect on user experience, they can also have a detrimental effect for the same user.
Each image that you insert into a page has a cycle it performs before getting to the user’s computer.
The image has to be downloaded from your server to their computer and depending on the size of the image file this can take up precious loading time for the user. Not good for User Experience. Not good for SEO.
Images account for around half of your websites weight, so to reduce page loading speed, your images should be the first place you should concentrate on.
The first thing you should focus on is File Type.
There are 3 file types and each serves a different purpose.
PNG – will give you a better quality of the image, but will have a much larger file size. PNG will only use lossless compression. This format should be used for transparency.
JPEG – is the most popular format used as it is the format that compresses the most, and it uses both lossy and lossless optimization.
GIF – will normally only be used for animated images. GIF will only use lossless compression.
A very good WordPress plugin that will do the work for you is EWWW Image Optimizer.
This will automatically optimize any images you upload to your blog.
The images must be in the any of the formats mentioned above.
Once you have optimised your images in the file type, to make your images even more SEO friendly they have to be compressed to reduce the file size for downloading.
Compressing the file size comes in two ways, Lossless and Lossy.
Lossless image compression will preserve all the data from the original file while reducing the file size, whereas Lossy compression will remove some of the data from the original file thus reducing the file size.
There are multiple plugins that will do the job for you, personally, I use Tiny PNG.
Naming Your Images
Search engine spiders are designed to only read the text of a webpage, therefore, they ignore images.
So you have to tell them what the image is all about.
The first thing you need to do is change the file name.
Once you have chosen an image to download and you click on “save image as“, before you click “save” rename the file with a descriptive name.
Use the ALT tag
Once the image is uploaded to your Media File, there are a couple of areas that need to be filled.
The ALT Tag will tell the search engines what the image is all about.
Although they can’t crawl the image they can read the description you give.
Another area that must be given attention is Alternate Text. This again gives the search engines an indication of the image, and it is always advisable to use your keyword here if at all possible.
Captions are another way you can describe your image, give the search engines as much information about the image as you can.
Resizing and positioning your image can be done before uploading it to your post/page, but can also be done in situ.
Once uploaded click the image and the edit bar will appear.
Then hover the cursor over the positioning icons to find “no alignment”, now you can reposition your image to where you want it.
The same with resizing.
Place the cursor on one of the tiny circles in a corner and drag out or in as desired.
I hope this Part 7 Adding Images on Website has given you an insight of what an important part images play in your website’s SEO.
If you have any comments about this or any other part of this series please leave them in the box below.