Most local seo experts will tell you the importance of optimizing images on your website and social media. Image SEO has always been considered an essential part of on-site optimization, especially if images are a central part of your content or blog strategy. But in recent years, website builders like WordPress have allowed business owners to create their own websites without the assistance of developers. The problem with this is that many business owners don’t realize the importance of image optimization for local SEO rankings. Those that do know that image optimization is important don’t know how to do it.
Many business owners that I meet with are very surprised with how easily image optimization can be done and very pleased with the results. Here are four simple steps to optimizing the images on your website.
Optimizing Images for Local SEO
The first step is to rename the file. Most images when downloaded from your camera or phone, have a file name like 325658.jpg. This is great if you want to rank for the keyword 325658 but terrible if you want to rank for your location or business description. This is a very simple fix. Prior to uploading an image to your website, Google My Business or social media rename the image file to include your desired location and keyword. For example, changing the name of the file 325658.jpg to chiropractor.jpg gives search engines a much better idea of what your site is about and a much better chance of ranking.
Page Load Speed Affects Local Search Rankings
The second step is to check your image size. Since page load speed affects search rankings, if an image is too large and takes too long to load it will lower rankings. I’ve received images from clients that were over 5000 pixels high and wide. Way too big! In over 90% of websites 1000 pixels wide is fine. However, on the other side of that is going to small. If you resize an image to a size this is too small, then when it is expanded to fit banners or featured images is will appear blurry. There are several sites online that allow you to resize images before you upload them. Even better, if you have Photoshop you can optimize images even further by reducing the file size. For example, taking a file from 100kb to 40kb will increase the load speed.
Local Search and Geotags
The next step is to ensure your images have geotagging. Geotagging is information in the metadata of an image that tells the search engines where the picture was taken. Basically, the latitude and longitude of where the image was taken. So, it’s pretty obvious that having the location data included in an image of your business would be beneficial. Most mobile phone and many digital cameras add geotags automatically, however, if you need to change the geotag there are plenty of free tools online to help with this.
Alt Text and Local SEO
The final step is to add alt text with keywords. Alt text was created to describe images to people who cannot see them. In some browsers with this feature you’ll see words pop up when you hover over the image. However, there’s another benefit that comes with alt text and that is with SEO. When local search engines index your site the bots also crawl your images and alt text so make sure that you include keywords in your alt text.
Does it Make a Difference in Local Search Rankings?
I know it may sound overwhelming. Trust me, I thought the same thing while writing this post. But once you get into to the habit of optimizing your images you’ll see that the 60 seconds it takes to optimize and image for local seo will give you tremendous results.