In a recent article I discussed How to Tag Your Blog Right. In that article I mentioned that to increase SEO results and thus visitors and views to your blog does not mean extra work. Tagging your blog content is something you do anyway, so why not do it properly? I also discussed the permalink change that is no extra effort. Extra effort to me is if I have to do research and search for all the things to do for an article. I like to just go with the flow of the mind waves.
Today is another ‘No Extra Effort, Should Already Be Doing It’ thing to, again, increase SEO results. I harp on SEO results. I don’t do this to try and turn you into a tech savvy market yourself machine. I do it to give you the lingo and the basics of blogging and website management. You write it, you build it, don’t you want it seen?
I get in a rush sometimes and don’t always do this. To be honest, as I have said before, I am not so much focused on really pushing my blog to be some monster machine. I’m happy the way I am. That being said, I should be doing these things. Reading about these things might make it SEEM like there is more to do, but it’s not. It’s just you are reading about what you already do. That always makes it sound like work.
Image Type or File Type
When you look at images on your computer you see those letters at the end after the . that are usually JPG, GIF or PNG. Those really are QUALITY things to look at. If you want QUALITY at any size go with the JPG. PNG and GIF would just depend on what you have. I notice that at times a site called picmonkey will save a creation in PNG form. This is not to say it is better than others, it just means that the format is good for that image. How do I know this for certain the JPG is the best quality? I took a picture and did something I will discuss in the next point. The JPG quality sometimes surpassed PNG and GIF greatly.
You are probably wondering how if you have a GIF how you can turn it into a JPG. In WINDOWS you simply open the file then click;
- SAVE AS
- And Choose JPEG from the Save as type portion of the pop up box that shows up. At least that’s how it works with mine. Most will work similarly. Play with it if yours is different.
Right about now you are thinking that is a lot of work. Do it a couple of times and it takes you maybe 30 seconds. My apologies if that ruins your day.
Others of you are asking yourself “What difference does it make since the picture looks fine to me?”
File Size or Web Page Load Speed
You’ve written a catchy sounding title, it’s been clicked on and then it just sits there attempting to load. If I am a passerby visitor I’m gone already. If I am a friend and follower of yours I will refresh to see if it works and if not, I might come back later. Sure I will eventually read your post if I remember. If I have 10,ooo followers on my Blog and another 20,000 on Twitter and I might have shared that post with them at Lunch Time in the New York City time zone and am now sharing it in the 2 AM New York City time zone instead, that might mean a bit of difference to you.
This is a little extra work for you. But it’s quick work.
The smaller your File Size for an image the faster your load time. But be careful of your quality. Reducing File Size means reducing the number of pixels per inch. As you reduce the number of pixels you are basically taking away detail of the image.
- DynamicDrive has something called Image Optimizer that is free to use online. You can choose a URL to load or an image from your computer. You can convert to a different type, and then compress. The really great part? You can then scroll down and look at the original photo and compare to the different reduced file sizes for what you like. Yes, they get bad toward the bottom, but the first couple are pretty good. And depending on your purpose for the image, that -21% image might be nice enough. Then you just save the image you want and move on.
- I Optimized the same photo in all three file types and the jpg was by far the best quality.
- What you have below is the original photo in JPG form, then reduced by 21% in JPG form, then by 19% in GIF and then the PNG is the only one they offered.
Now you know about quality file types. You know about compressing or resizing your file types. Now onto something else that’s important and we will discuss it in three forms. Why? Because there are three different forms
Naming Your Images
File Name or Image Name
This is the name you give it on your computer and then load it to your site or blog. Think key words and simple English. Don’t jam it full of buzz words. Let’s say you have an image of a sunset. Suggested File Name;
Basically you describe what is in the image with the most important words first, just in case you use too many characters. In a way you are ‘tagging’ your images. Basic and to the point. If you had a vehicle you would put in the details of the vehicle such as blue-honda-accord-2007-se.jpg or something like that. Your images have to have a name so why not make them useful for you and SEO. I have done a bad job of naming some of my images in the early stages and spend forever looking for that one image I need.
If you look in the Media portion of your site or blog you will see something called an Alternate or Alt Text box. Fill that out. Don’t leave it blank. When you load the image you will already be on this screen with this field staring at you. What do you do? One simple thing would be to take the file name and just replace the dashes with spaces. I know that sounds simple but that is one suggestion. You can also give it a different name such as;
- sunset over laguna beach pacific ocean
Now you have two different wordings for the same image for the SEO to see. Just remember to use the important words first.
The great thing here is that for WordPress.com users this is already filled in. Now you can always change it for a third descriptive and short blurb. If you have a site or blog that doesn’t fill in the Title go ahead and put something in there. There is no 100% answer to if it does or does not impact SEO but why not? You can even just copy and paste the ALT Text blurb if you like.
So why the big deal about naming?
There are tools out there for the visually impaired that actually read your images. Also SEO reads your images and if you have an image at the beginning of your article or post and there is nothing to read but gibberish File Name numbers that came from your camera then that search is going to skip right by you. I am not certain how far into your content a search goes but make sure those first couple of of paragraphs, images included, have important words in there.
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