Most bloggers and readers know how dull it can be to stare at blocks of text for even a few minutes at a time. It’s easy to break up text with a few interesting pictures or images. But did you know that adding images correctly can help your marketing and SEO work? Read on to learn why relevant images are important for your website.

Relating to Your Focus or Keywords

The images you use on your site or blog are valuable tools in conveying your focus. They provide the opportunity for you to show what you may not be able to describe or don’t have the time to tell about. Twitter bird icon For example, a cosmetic dentist could use an image to show a before and after shot of a patient who had teeth whitening. A movie review blogger could use an image of a specific movie poster so that viewers will know right away what movie is being reviewed–they don’t even have to read the blog title. A relevant image is an opportunity to display a featured product or service or something impressive about your company. Regardless of what is featured, the image should be relevant to the page it is on.

Utilizing the Alt Image Text

Each image can be optimized with the alt image text or alt image tag. The alt image text is the text that will appear if the image is unable to load. This text is also used for site visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Additionally, and possibly most importantly for your site’s traffic, the text is read by Google and used in image search results. Twitter bird icon While most searches are done in the “Web” option of Google, the “Image” search option should not be ignored. People looking at before and after pics for teeth whitening procedures just might find your business this way.

Useful vs. Unuseful Images

The most useful images are ones that accurately and honestly represent what you are offering. Twitter bird icon If you aren’t able to capture your own useful image, stock photos can be helpful. However, exclusively using stock photos can make your site come across as fake or cheap. Additionally, your site’s logo or header won’t do much to show relevance in a Google image search. For the highest level of optimization you should have at least one relevant, permanent, and unique image on each page of your site. In this case permanent means that the image is not part of a slider or other animation. It is also important that your image is unique since your website’s text is not the only thing that can get flagged for plagiarism.

While the content and copy of your site is definitely important, images should never be overlooked. Always be sure to add relevant and useful images to your site for a user-friendly (and SEO helpful) design. Let us know in the comments where you like to find images for your site!

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8 Comments

  • Jeremy Lindstrom, July 21, 2015 @ 9:22 am

    Alt image text for SEO purposes. Nicole, do you know or can you guess the % of websites that understand and use alt image text properly? Is it many, or only a few?

  • Nicole Black, July 28, 2015 @ 9:34 am

    I don’t know a percentage, but I’d say that from what I’ve seen maybe 1/5 of all websites seem to have some understanding of alt image text (this could be a low ball number though). It’s pretty common to see sites with either arbitrary images or alt image text that doesn’t really relate to the image at all.

  • Caz*, July 28, 2015 @ 9:21 pm

    It really is so easy, yet so often overlooked

  • Jamison Michael Furr, July 30, 2015 @ 2:47 pm

    I think you’re probably right, Drew. Almost anyone you ask will tell you that pictures capture there attention on a website much faster than text does, and I’m sure Google is well aware of that. Perhaps the small phantom update was just a precursor to more substantial quality updates (totally guessing there), of which images will be an important factor.

  • M Andrew Eagar, July 31, 2015 @ 3:05 pm

    Great work @disqus_w3gdqzAhMQ:disqus! I love the idea of relevant images. It used to be that SEO’s would add non-relevant images just so they could spam the ALT text. Advances in Google’s image recognition process put an end to these practices.
    http://googleresearch.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/a-picture-is-worth-thousand-coherent.html

    Google is able to understand images better than ever before. Having relevant images with proper alt text is imperative, otherwise Google will see it as spam.

  • Maria Williams, August 24, 2015 @ 11:16 am

    Great blog @disqus_w3gdqzAhMQ:disqus . Not many people know the importance of having good and relevant pictures on the website. The key is also to have the ALT image to tell Google what’s the picture is about. I’m a visual persona and I like when websites has pictures to describe the services that they provide.

  • Josh Aaron, September 9, 2015 @ 11:06 am

    I haven’t always done a great job at adding alt image text. I’m doing better now than before, but I think you’ve just motivated me to go through all my site’s images to add that. Then, going forward, it only takes a moment, so I’ll just make it a part of my process every time. Thanks!

  • Caz*, September 13, 2015 @ 8:18 pm

    Even if pictures are stock photos, I am a sucker for really well-composed pictures. I won’t even stop to read the words if the picture does not grab me first — whether that is for a website, an advertisement, or even judging an ebook by its cover.

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