As Google now takes more account of social reach, a very important aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to optimize images for visitors. Eye catching, appealing images encourage readers to interact with your site, share on social networks, and to take action.
Image Optimization for Social Sharing
Images, rather than all text, shared via social media create more of an emotional response, more engagement and increased conversation. The quick rise in popularity of Pinterest and Instagram is testament to this as is the amount of comments images receive on Facebook.
The more of your images your are shared on social networks, along with their url, the better the chances of your post rising in SERPS (Search Engine Ranking Placement). Creating backlinks through social engagement is now a very important factor for SEO . Growing your social network following also brings you more blog visitors who will share your images, creating yet more social backlinks.
In my last post I talked about using the Pulse Hover plugin and Pinterest buttons to increase social sharing of your images but there are other ways you can optimize images for social networks.
Research done by Curalate on Pinterest images gives data on image popularity.
- The most pinned images have multiple colors which are not too light or too dark.
- Red is more popular than blue and reddish/orange/brown images are repinned twice as often as blue.
- Avoid large areas of a background color; less than 30% is best.
- Crop images to emphasize the most important area of your images.
- Textured backgrounds are more popular than plain but don’t add texture to your image object too.
- Surprisingly, faces are not too popular. (unless they are of cute babies?)
- For maximum impact use image sizes that won’t be cropped when shared on Facebook. This infographic on Just Ask Kim shows you the 2014 Facebook Image sizes.
- Use image types that are more readily shared. Your blog may not lend itself to photos of tempting food or cute fluffy kittens but you can incorporate elements of the most popular photos within your blog images.
- Image quotes remain popular and these can easily be made applicable to many blog post topics.
- In case your readers do not scroll down place important, sharable images towards the top of your post.
- Pin your own blog images to Pinterest and share on other image sharing sites such as Flickr, Instagram, Twitpic, Gentlemint and Dribble.
- Share your image rich post on Facebook, Twitter, gPlus, and Linked In and other relevant social networking sites. Facebook will not allow you to boost posts or post ads where images contain more than 20% text so it is likely that text heavy images will not be shown on all of your friends and followers timelines.
Note: Pinterest just announced their new Pin It buttons for Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress and Wix You can download the WordPress version here: Pinterest Hover Pin It Button
Optimize Images For Generating Responses
Visitor retention and return
Blog posts without any images are less pleasing on the eye. They show lack of time commitment to producing a post and come across as less professional. Visitors are less likely to return to your site.
Calls To Action
If you want to elicit a response, call to action images are more effective than plain text. They are used extensively in splash and landing pages but as long as you do not go overboard they are good for blog posts too.
- A large call to action image button is more noticeable than text and results in more clicks, optimizing your results.
- Arrow images draw attention to information you want your visitors to read.
- A text image with an attractive background used for asking questions that you want readers to answer in comments.
- Recent post plugins under your posts which use images rather than only text.
- Using image icons or buttons for social sharing and following are now a standard practice.
Optimizing Images for Traditional SEO
Although writing your posts for readers and not search engines is more important, there are ways to optimize images that need to go on behind the scenes for search engines.
Make sure your images are SPANCT:
Sizing Pixels Alt Name Caption Title:
My next post will go into detail about SPANCT images for SEO.