Adding images or videos to your blog content is crucial to make it more attractive and easier to read. Aside from visual benefits, media files can also leverage your visibility. Around 62% of all searches on Google Web Search come from Google Images.
However, there are several steps to take before your images and videos become effective tools to boost your search engine ranking. In this article, we will look at eight important tips to consider when optimizing images for blog.
1. Identify Your Blog Topic
Understanding what your audience might expect from a specific blog topic can help you find out what kind of media files you should use. Some topics require infographics that help make data easier to understand, while others work better with step-by-step screenshots.
The best way to know this is by reading popular blog posts from competitors and identifying what kind of media makes their articles interesting and easy to read. Try to avoid using generic images that don’t address anything in the blog post. Look for unique media that suits your topic and grabs people’s attention.
2. Break Up the Text
Images and videos are also good to separate your blog post into several smaller chunks that make it easier to read. Longer articles are typically harder to understand and less attractive because they look like a wall of text which intimidates most readers.
That is why it is important to know where to place images or videos to break up the text without interrupting the flow of your article. If you have plenty of optimizable images, you might be tempted to include one in every paragraph. However, this can distract readers from understanding the article.
It is better to include images near the relevant text. Aside from aiding readers, this also allows search engine crawlers to understand the context of these media files and show them on the right search results.
3. Compress Your Media
Including crisp and clear images or videos in your blog post is a staple. However, we may forget that high-quality media typically have larger file sizes. These files usually make your blog page load slower, which may increase your bounce rate and hurt your SEO.
According to HTTP Archive, around 21% of the total webpage’s weight comes from images. So make sure to compress and optimize images for blog.
You might worry that compressing will make your media files of worse quality. The good news is, there are many tools to reduce image resolution and file size while maintaining its quality. These tools include JPEGmini, ImageOptim, and Zyro’s Image Upscaler.
When you make your media files of optimal size, check your page load speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights.
4. Optimize Alt Texts
An alt text should describe the image it’s being added to. This text will appear in place of the image if it fails to load. It also helps the screen-reading tools describe the image for visually impaired users.
Alt texts play an important role in improving SEO because search engine crawlers only identify text information from your web page. Therefore, always add relevant alt text to your image to make sure they get indexed properly by the search engines.
Be specific and concise when you write an alt text. Limit it to around 125 characters and only describe what you see from the image without any assumptions. Avoid starting an alt text with An image of or A picture of.
Incorporate keywords into your alt text if possible. Just make sure you don’t use them excessively to avoid getting a penalty that potentially lowers your site ranking or even removes it entirely from the search results.
5. Add Structured Data
Adding structured data to your web page and its images allows search engines to display it as a rich result, a Google Search result with extra visual or interactive features. Take a look at the example below.
Structured data can make you more visible on search engines. As shown above, people are more enticed with search results that include more details and information, which can increase your click-through rate.
Google Image allows three types of structured data – namely product, video, and recipe. Make sure to check Google’s Structured Data General Guidelines to know the best practices of adding structured data to your content.
Tools like Yoast SEO can help also make this task easier by automatically adding the appropriate structured data to images on your blog.
6. Choose the Right Video-Sharing Platform
One of the most common ways to include a video in your blog post is by embedding one from a video-sharing platform. Embedding lets you show video content on your blog post without uploading it to your web server, reducing its impact on your page loading speed.
YouTube and Vimeo are examples of popular video-sharing platforms people embed in their blog posts. The only downside is once your videos get indexed, people may click directly on the YouTube result instead of visiting your blog.
If this is an issue for you, consider unlisting the YouTube video. It makes the video undiscoverable by the search engine but still allows embedding.
7. Include Video Descriptions and Transcripts
Sometimes a website has a dedicated video page with minimum text as the video content is the main focus. Crawler bots might find it hard to index this page since it lacks written context and keywords that can be used for the search results.
That is why adding descriptions and transcripts should be a habit when publishing video content on your blog. Aside from improving SEO, these two elements can also boost usability and accessibility.
Make sure your video is accompanied by the following features:
- Page Title and H1. These should be the same as the video title.
- Video description. A short paragraph that summarizes the content of your video.
- Transcript. The formatted transcript of your video to help users with hearing difficulties or audio problems.
8. Pick the Right Format
Before uploading media files to your blog post, it is important to know the best file format for user experience. Ignoring this factor may result in visual elements not loading on users’ browsers or displayed incorrectly on some devices.
Three of the most common image formats used in websites nowadays are .PNG, .JPEG, and .WebP. .PNG is suitable for screenshots as it makes texts in the image more readable because of its high image quality. However, .PNGs usually have larger file sizes.
.JPEG is perfect for complex images such as photographs or illustrations containing vibrant colors due to its more adjustable file size. WebP is a relatively new image format that supports both lossless and lossy compression. Some websites use .WebP to replace .PNGs and .JPEGs entirely.
As for videos, MP4 is the most widely accepted format by web browsers. If you decide to host a video on your site, consider encoding it into both Ogg and MP4 formats to ensure compatibility in all browsers and devices.
With the constant improvement of search engine technology, images and videos should be an important part of your site’s SEO performance. Aside from improving how your blog post looks, media files can also help boost your content’s visibility and potentially increase the traffic to your website.
In this article, we have looked at eight important steps to take when optimizing images for blog, including:
- Identify your blog topic
- Break up the text
- Compress your media
- Optimize alt texts
- Add structured data
- Choose the right video-sharing platform
- Include video descriptions and transcripts
- Pick the right format
Now that you know the importance of images and videos and how they can improve your SEO, it is time to optimize them and attract more traffic to your website.