17) Pictures, Images and Logos for SEO

Google Expert Discusses Alt Tags for Images, Pictures and Logos (Video)

Optimizing images for web SEO as posted on NobsCuro.com

I noticed how many people don’t optimize their images properly, which results in extremely slow loading time. When you intend to publish your images online, you have to comprimise the quality — just face the fact you cannot use a 100KB image on a website layout. It’s not fair to your visitors.

This tutorial will explain in detail how to use Photoshop’s Save for web… option.

Facts about image formats
There are many image formats available, but only a few work on web. They differ in some important properties, and you should learn how to use them best.

There are two kinds of image compression, lossy and lossless.

Lossy compression means once you decompress the compressed data, you will not get the exact same image as the original. However, this will only be visible at a closer look. Lossy compression is good for web, because images use small amount of memory, but can be sufficiently like the original image.

When you decompress a lossless image, you will get exactly the same image as the original. This compression uses greater amount of memory, so at times it may not be good for web.

JPEG is a format name, .jpg is the extension for it. This image type is lossy, and you can control the compression level in image editors.

It is good for saving images with millions of colors, like photographs, drawings with many shades, images containing gradients etc.

This format is a bitmap, which means it’s a grid made of tiny pixel squares. Data about every pixel is saved (so it’s lossless), and you can save up to 256 colors. Pixels may also be transparent.

GIF may contain more than one frame, so it can be animated.

Since image programs can control the exact number or colors stored in a particular image, it is a good format for saving images with less colors, like charts, small graphics (bullets, website buttons), images containing text and other important details, flat-color drawings etc.

This format was created to become the new and improved GIF, because GIF was patented, and thus not free. PNG has greater color-depth than GIF, it can store partial transparency, and can achieve greater compression.

It’s best to save images in this format when it’s both needed to preserve transparency and large amount of colors, or partial transparency. Since it’s a lossless format, these images are often not small enough for displaying on the web.

Image Optimization Tips as posted on SearchEngineWatch.com

•Image originality. The panelists agree that there is a special advantage to taking original photos, even if you are a retailer who already receives photos elsewhere such as from a manufacturer. “The more control you have over the images on your site the better.” says Evans. “You can brand them with your logo, url or trademark. It also allows you as the retailer to present the product in the best possible way that will convert with your own audience, not to mention allowing you to present the features in a different way than other competitors.

•Image quality. Start off with good quality pictures, and make necessary resolution adjustments between your full size images and your thumbnails. Smith mentions that pictures with good contrast tend to work better. “When they’re reduced down to the thumbnail size, stronger contrast is needed to better discern image, which will lead to more people clicking and linking to image.” he says.

•Image formatting. Thurow advises saving photos as JPG files, and other graphic image types as GIFs “Search engines are going to interpret a GIF as a standard graphic image with 256 colors,” Thurow said, “and JPGs as photos (because photos have millions of colors.” says said Shari Thurow, Webmaster and Marketing Director at Grantastic Designs, Inc..

•Image naming. “Make the image names of your files match what is actually represented in the file,” says Thurow. “The image name will appear beneath the graphic image in search results. It helps to communicate to searchers that they are viewing the desired graphic image. “Do NOT expect your photo editing program’s default settings to give you optimized file names,” she continued. “Default names communicate nothing to the search engines on their own. Make sure to set up your own file naming structure in advance.”

•Tagging – More content is “King” It’s a given to make sure that your images match the actual products and keywords you place in there, along with ample descriptions of what you’re featuring. But you should also take full advantage of the many special contextual tags for social sites with image search. Not only are image names given more weight than regular search results, but you can also add special tags such as captions, comments, cross-grouping, location, and themes.

•Expand audience base. Be broad in your subject matter. Image search is not just for retailers directly reaching customers. “There are all sorts of innovative ways you can get people interested in your company and hence build up traffic and conversions. For example, factories might show steps in product manufactures, hotels might show furniture & decorative art in addition to details on their rooms, and restaurants might show picturesque views or special event rooms.”

•Optimize the page with the image. Optimize the page the image appears on can be just as important as optimizing the image itself. “Optimizing the actual page for contextual search improves graphic images search,” Thurow added. “Search engines also look at text surrounding a graphic image to determine relevancy.” says Thurow. “Text within the anchor tag and next to anchor text is especially going to influence image-search rankings,” said Thurow. “If you can reasonably put labels and captions on key graphic images, try and do so.”

•File organization. Both Evans and Thurow mentioned of crucial importance is creating an image folder on your web server space that’s accessible to the search engines. “Do not robots exclude your graphic images directory or limit search engine access to graphic-image files.” says Thurow. Another big mistake people make is putting their ‘click to see larger image’ inside of a JavaScript link. When you do that, you are limiting search engines’ access to that image file.”

•Usability is “Queen”. According to Thurow, usability is very important in image search optimization. “It’s one thing for a graphic image to show up at the top of image search results,” she said. “It’s another thing to get people to click on the link to the image and go to your site. Writing alternative text (which shows up in Google Image search results) that is keyword stuffed is not going to inspire people to click on the link in that image to your site.” Smith also added that sometimes adding a not directly onto a region of a photo can invite users to comment and participate.”

•Freshness. Smith recommends that if you’re targeting high popularity keywords, try experimenting with re-uploading your pix, since image freshness is a contextual clue for the search engines and might affect relevancy.

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