The 3 Rules of Image Optimization for the Web

Images are among the most important elements of your site. And you need to do everything in your power to make sure they’re properly optimized.

Especially with the rise in prominence of ecommerce, social media, and digital communication over the past year, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. However, a picture that’s overly large, slow to load, or poorly chosen will inevitably do more harm than good. In order to avoid alienating your audience and ensure you bring in as much traffic as possible, there are a few cardinal rules you should follow where image optimization is concerned. 

Resize

Whether you’re downloading a free image, purchasing a stock photo, or using one of your own photographs, there’s a good chance that the image is going to be absolutely massive. And that means it’s going to ruin load times.

Your first step, then, needs to be downsizing. Use an image editing program to cut down your image’s resolution. Generally, we’d recommend 1200×800 or 800×600, but this may vary depending on your website’s layout. 

We’d also recommend reducing image quality to about 80 percent. This will allow you to further cut down on file size without any noticeable drop in image parity. Anything lower than that, however, and you’ll start to notice a decline. 

Preview and Test

Careful consideration of layout and design is at the core of a positive user experience. You thus need to ensure that your layout works on both desktop and mobile and that your images properly align with your copy. We recommend using either https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ or https://caniuse.com/ for this, as well as to test the load speed of your pages. 

Write Your Title and Alt Text With Care

Per Google’s own developer guidelines, its algorithms use this data to determine context and better understand the content. As such, the metadata associated with your image is of crucial importance when it comes to optimizing your images for search. When you look at an image, consider the following:

  • What ideas does the image convey? 
  • What are you using the image for? 
  • How would you describe the image in a few words?

The answers to these questions will inform how you fill out your image’s title, alt text, and caption. The former should basically convey what the image is, leveraging a single keyword associated with the image. The alt text, meanwhile, should act as a brief description of the image, as it displays for people who are unable to see images on your pages.  

Optimize With Care

On the web, a picture is worth a thousand words, but only if it’s properly optimized. By following the three cardinal rules above, you can ensure that every image you use is. And you’ll be one step closer to ranking on the search engine results page because of it. 

3 Traditional Search Engine Optimization Tactics That Will Get You Penalized Today

Search engine optimization has changed a great deal over the past several years. Your tactics need to change too.

A lot of people don’t entirely understand what search engine optimization actually is, or what it means. It’s a little ironic, really. It’s right there in the name.

It’s about optimizing your website to perform well on search engines, which, in a modern context means putting content quality and the end-user above all else. That wasn’t always the case, though. Today, we’re going to take a look back at some old-school SEO tactics that you should avoid at all costs. 

They may have used to work, but they no longer do.

Duplicate or Thin Content

At one point in the past, thin content was a great way to game the system and get your website to the top of the search engine results page. Over the years, however, Google has released multiple algorithmic updates that harshly penalize this tactic. Content that’s deemed duplicate or thin by Google will directly hurt your ranking, meaning you’re losing out on potentially valuable traffic. 

Keyword Stuffing and Invisible Text

Keyword stuffing is another old-school technique that once went hand in hand with duplicate content. In the earliest days of search engines, websites filled with multiple, stuffed pages shot to the top. Again, however, Google’s algorithms are wise to this now.

Repeating the same phrases over and over indicates to the search engine that you’re attempting to manipulate the system and that you aren’t actually interested in providing quality or value. And even if your content is of decent quality, it’ll still get flagged if you insert invisible, repeating text keywords anywhere on the page.

Mention a few variants of your keywords throughout a page instead, making sure to stick to natural language. The better your content flows, the more your audience will engage with it. And the more your audience engages with it, the better you’ll do in the long run. 

Guest Post Spam and Link Farming

Guest posts are an excellent source of brand recognition and web traffic, particularly if you can place them on sites that are recognized as high-quality or authoritative by Google. It is, however, important to note that quality is what’s important here. If you publish the same low-grade guest post on multiple different sites with no rhyme or reason, that’s going to do you more harm than good.

Your guest posts need to be tailored to the sites on which they are placed. And they cannot be attention-grabbing clickbait or inaccurate, outdated filler content. The point of guest posting isn’t just to bring in more traffic, after all.

It’s to build a reputation. 

Similarly, link farms — websites that host backlinks for the express purpose of gaming the SERP — are explicitly prohibited by Google. You cannot buy traffic, and you cannot buy backlinks. If you aren’t growing your website organically, Google will be able to tell.

A Changing Landscape

We are nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, and the world is changing very rapidly. Both businesses and consumers today operate in a very different fashion from how they worked around this time last year. And by this time next year, things will change again.

That includes the search engine optimization space.  Particularly with Google’s plan to implement core web vitals into its algorithm as a ranking factor by May 2021, SEO is going to change in a very big way. Don’t worry too much about that, though.

Focus on creating quality content, and you’ll do just fine.