Tag Archives: optimize

Optimizing Images in WordPress for Google Image Search

Ever wondered how to get your images to appear in Google Image Search? The process is similar to getting a web page to rank well in Google Web Search: optimize your image so that Google sees your image as relevant content. Let me walk you through a few things that you can do when adding images from within WordPress that will help your images get noticed by the search engines.

Choose your keywords

As with any SEO endeavor, you have to decide up front what keywords you want your image to rank for.  Doing this right takes a little work, but the payoff is worth it:

  1. Research – Pick a few keywords that you think are descriptive of your image. Do some research and extend your original list of keywords.
  2. Evaluate – Take your keywords and plug them into the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.  Take into account the search volume and competitive nature of the keywords.
  3. Decide – Choose a relevant keyword with moderate traffic and, if possible, one that isn’t too competitive.  Most importantly, make sure your target keyword actually describes the content of your image.

Name your image

The actual filename of your image matters.  Unfortunately, once you upload your image into WordPress, you can’t change the filename.  Before you upload your image, make sure you rename the file so that it contains your keywords.
For example, if you have a file named DSC103.jpg, you would rename it to mykeyword.jpg.

Provide alt text

Once you upload your image, be sure that you don’t leave the ‘Alternate Text’ field empty.  Screen readers read this text to users to describe the content of an image. Since a search engine can’t read the contents of an image, they depend on this text to get a better understanding of what the image is about.  Make sure you provide a relevant description, but also be sure to include your keywords. Setting WordPress Alt Text

If you were to set an image as a link, the alt text is considered the anchor text for the link.

Provide context

Google and other search engines don’t just depend on the file name and alt text to determine what an image is about.  If that were the case, we would see a lot of irrelevant images in Google Image Search because not everyone would be entirely truthful about the contents of an image.  Because of this, it is important that your images are also surrounded by content that reinforces the file name and alt text that you have set.

Optimize the page

One of the things you will find is that images always rank better when the page in general ranks better.  So you are off to a great start using WordPress, but there are still a few things you will want to consider:

  1. Make sure you use your keywords in the page title
    By default, WordPress takes the title you set for the page and uses it as the title tag in the HTML and as the heading on the page.  The important thing is that the HTML title tag reflects your keywords.  So if you are using a WordPress SEO plugin (I recommend Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin), be sure that the SEO title reflects your keywords even if the heading on the page is different.
  2. Create a slug that uses your keywords
    WordPress allows you to edit the slug that is used in your URL for the page.  You can change it just below where you put the page title.  The slug is not set until you save the post and will match the page title on initial save.  It is a good idea to remove words like ‘and’, ‘the’ and the like from the slug and to be sure that you have used your keywords.Setting the Slug in WordPress
  3. Link to your page with anchor text that matches your keywords
    This is basically link building, which can be done internally as well as externally.  There is no difference between the two outside of the fact that internal link building is done within the context of your site, whereas external link building is done on other sites.  The idea is that the more links to a page, the more important it is and the more likely Google and the other search engines will take note of it.

    Since you are in complete control of the links on your site, this is the easiest place to start.  Just find another page on your site where you mention your target keyword for the current page.  If it doesn’t exist, see if you can work it into the content of a page somewhere.  Next, just highlight that text in your editor and create a link to the page you are optimizing.

    Categories and tags within WordPress can also be a great way to build internal links, but keep in mind that they are for classifying information… assigning a tag to a single post is useless.  My rule of thumb: Don’t create categories or tags if you don’t plan to have at least 10 posts that are assigned to it.

301 Redirect

Redirect Old Domain to New Domain via .htaccess

When you migrate a site from one domain to another, it is very important that you don’t break all the links that you built to your old domain. Proper redirection of all the pages on the old domain to the same location on the new domain will ensure that visitors to the old domain will end up in the right place.  A failure to redirect will result in a loss of visitors as well as search engine rankings.

Continue reading Redirect Old Domain to New Domain via .htaccess

How Google Sees Your Site

Ever wondered exactly what Google can and can’t see on your website?  Well, we are actually referring to what ‘Googlebot’ can see.  Googlebot is Google’s web crawler.

What Google Can’t See

  • Videos – While great for human users, search engines really can’t see the content of your videos.
  • Images – They really spruce up a site, but Google can’t see what is in your images either.
  • Flash – Google can see some Flash, but it is best used very sparingly

What Google Can See

  • Text – Any text that you can highlight with your cursor is visible to Google.
  • Links – Any text or image links can be seen.  Text links are best for SEO, but if you must use images, take a look at the last item on this list.
  • HTML – Any text markup on your site is also visible to the search engines.  This can include page title tags, description tags, author and copyright tags, keywords and more.
  • Content around videos and images – While Google can’t really make out image or video content, but Googlebot can see what is in close proximity.  Google uses the context of the content to determine what it is about.
  • Image ALT attributes – The ALT tag is an optional attribute for the text markup of an image.  In other words, ALT stands for ‘Alternate Description’ and is intended to be show if an image could not be loaded.  You want to be sure any images containing text have a matching ALT attribute, or any images without text are well described.

Still not sure what Google can see on your site? See your site through Googlebot’s eyes

Check for Broken Links!

How many times have you been to a website, found a link that sounded interesting, and clicked on it only to be taken to a page that says ‘page not found’?  Broken links can be extremely frustrating for your website’s visitors.  They can also be costly to you if visitors can’t access your sales or sign-up pages! Continue reading Check for Broken Links!

Screen Resolution: Its Impact on Site Design and Conversion Rate

Computer monitors come in all different sizes these days.  Some are small and have a screen resolution of 640 x 480 while others are much larger, such as 1920 x 1200.  It is important to keep in mind what your average website visitor’s screen resolution is for a couple of reasons… Continue reading Screen Resolution: Its Impact on Site Design and Conversion Rate

Google Uses Website Speed as a Ranking Factor

If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest news in search engine optimization, you might not realize that Google is now using site speed as a ranking factor.

You can see the official announcement on the Google Webmaster Central Blog.  It began when Google announced that it wanted to make the web faster, now they are beginning to enforce the speed of the web by using it as a ranking factor.

How quickly does your website load?

If you don’t know how fast your site loads right now, chances are that it can be improved.  Here are a few tools that can help you to find out how fast your site loads and what you can do to improve:

What are some standard methods for improving my site speed?

There are a lot of ways that you can speed up your website, these are among the more common:

  • CSS Sprites – by combining background images into one and using advanced CSS methods to display them, you can cut down on the number of http requests for your site to load.
  • Enable Caching – by caching your web pages,  or storing them temporarily on the users computer, content that is not updated frequently will be loaded from the users machine instead of being re-requested and re-loaded from your site.
  • Optimize Images – by removing unnecessary bytes from your image files, they will load much quicker.
  • Make CSS and JavaScript External and Cache-able – It is good practice to keep all CSS and JavaScript separate from your HTML.  This makes it easier if you need to update these files easier because everything is in one location.  By caching, you can eliminate the need to continually load these files and by making them external, you can make the file size of your main pages smaller.

So tell us, what have you done to make your website load faster?  How much time / bandwidth did you eliminate?