As bloggers, we put a lot of time and effort into creating beautiful images to show case in our blog posts. The work doesn’t end after we upload those images to our computer however. There’s so much more we can do to optimize those photos so they stand out and get discovered by Google. Here are my suggestions to help your SEO rankings and have your images stand out on the different social media platforms.
1. Rename your images files
Renaming your image files is one of the simplest ways to improve your SEO and it also helps you stay organized. Renaming your files using descriptive, keyword-rich file names not only helps you easily identify your images when you go looking for them, it helps Google identify your keywords for that post. Google ‘crawls’ through the content of your blog post looking for those keywords and it also searches the name of your image files. As you know, the more often your keywords authentically appear in your blog post, the more authority Google gives your site. Giving your image files a descriptive name also gives your site an opportunity to be discovered if someone ever does an image search through Google.
2. Brighten up your images
Everyone is drawn to bright, beautiful images. If you have the opportunity, use a photo editing software to brighten up your images so they stand out in the sea of images in Pinterest. Most camera importing software comes with built-in editing software. Take advantage of what you already have or can get for free before invest in software like Adobe Lightroom.
If you do not have photo editing software, try make sure to take your photos in the best possible lighting. If you’re just getting started into photography and would like to learn more, I highly recommend The Food Photography Book (affiliate link). This book completely changed the way I take my photographs.
3. Adjust the size of your image file manually
While you’re in your photo editing software, resize your images. Here are a couple of my thoughts on this:
- Resize your images so it reduces your file size. Don’t use a plugin. Don’t resize the image through WordPress. I know you can resize a 2000×2000 pixel image to show as 500×500 pixels in your post but the photo data is still there and will slow down the loading speed of your site. This is not good for SEO or those poor people trying to load your site on those slow Internet connections. If you want to show your image as 500×500 pixels, resize it before you upload it to your page.
- Resize the images to all be uniform on your page. This is purely my personal preference! I resize all images to be 600 pixels wide – regardless if they are a horizontal image or vertical. This creates a uniform flow to my images, which I feel is more pleasing to the eye. Again, just my personal preference.
4. Use Social Media image resize tools to save time
I’ve recently been introduced to Sprout Social. I am sure there are other websites out there that do the same thing but this is a HUGE time saver for me. I pick my favorite image for the post I am working on and upload it into Sprout Social. This website then asks me which social media platforms I would like to customize the image for. I am then given the opportunity to resize and crop the image into the specific dimensions that work best for each platform.
Have you ever noticed that Facebook will sometimes crop your preview image and it’s not always the most flattering? If you create an image file that fits Facebook’s preferred dimensions, you won’t have to worry about your images getting cropped.
5. Include both vertical and horizontal images in your blog post
Every one has a preferred image style. Sometimes fellow bloggers like to share your content. (Hello, SEO link back?? Yes please!) Some bloggers prefer horizontal images to share, other’s love vertical images. I like to include one of each type of image in my post so if some other lovely bloggers care to share my image and an link back to my site, I can let them choose which they prefer.
I also used to only use horizontal images and never thought to include a vertical image. One day I realized people like to pin directly from my website. Now I always create a long collage-style image specifically for Pinterest and hide it (keep reading, that tip is coming up next) but not everyone is a super fan on the ‘super long with text’ images I like to create for Pinterest. Studies have shown, long vertical images seem to out preform horizontal images in Pinterest. However, by providing a vertical image in my blog post I feel I still stand the chance to have a great preforming image while making my guests happy with their pinning experience. I like to give people options.
6. Create a long form collage-style pin image
Ah, long form collage-style Pinterest images. There are so many debates on this. People have conducted studies to see if “long collage-style pins are actually more effective than traditional “short” images”. My opinion is yes. So do many other people feel the same way. These collage-style pins stand out in the Pinterest feed. The text helps draw a person’s eye to your pin and the longer image takes up more real estate on the page so you can’t help but notice it too. The collage-style pins also gives you the opportunity to brand your images by including a URL address, your logo or simply using your personal branding colours.
However there are still those rebellious individuals who disagree. For those who are on the same band wagon as myself, here’s my tip for including a collage-style pin image in your post.
Unless your blog post layout is conducive to these collage-style pins, you’ll want to hide the image from sight until someone clicks on your Pinterest share button. You can easily hide an image by adding this code to your page.
I work in WordPress so I just go into the Text tab when I’m creating my blog post and add the above code around the code for the Pinterest image I want to hide. Make sure you close your code by adding </div> otherwise everything after that code will disappear from view too.
7. Updating the Alt text & Title of image
So here’s a crash course on Alt text, or more specifically the Alternate Text. From a technical stand point, if your image does not load on your page the Alt Text will appear in it’s place instead. It’s like telling the world something is supposed to be there but it’s unavailable for the moment.
I ALWAYS include my SEO keywords in the Alt Text field. I’m sure this also helps with SEO because you’re sneaking in your keywords again and I’m sure Google loves that when it’s crawling through your code. I’m no expert but it does make sense.
The biggest reason why I update the Alt text field when I’m adding an image is that when someone comes to my site and wishes to share the love and pin my image to their Pinterest account, my SEO keywords appear as the description. If you don’t have anything in Alt Text field, the first sentence of your blog post is pulled into that field or worse, the file name! And heaven forbid you left your image file name img_0098.jpg.
What a shame it would be to have that lovely photo you put so much time and effort into, to have a person click on YOUR share button to post it into the Pinterest world. Only to have the opportunity for that pin to be discovered by others fall flat. Because who is going to search Pinterest for something called img_0098 (did you read point #1 above?). See where I’m heading with this? The same rules for SEO apply in Pinterest – make sure you include your keywords in the description of your pin-able images so other people are able to find them when they do a search in Pinterest. Looking for examples? Check out my 365 Days of Easy Recipes board to see how I name my pins.
Call me a control freak but I’m going to add my preferred keywords to the images on the off chance they make it into Pinterest world without my help. People want to find your lovely pins so let’s make it easier for them by giving them exactly what they want.
This is a sum up of some of the tricks I’ve learned since starting my blog. It’s such a shame when I see missed opportunities by fellow bloggers. I know the time and effort that goes into planning a post, writing it, posting it sharing it, etc. Why not take a few extra steps to fully optimize your content and images so when the content makes it out into the social media world, it leaves the gates running and doesn’t fall flat. We all have wonderful things to share with the world, let’s make sure it gets discovered.