In my first post on SEO basics, Getting Started with SEO: Some Basic Principles, I touched briefly on why SEO for images is important.
“Search engines can see words, but they cannot see images. They have no way to see an image and describe it. So it is important that we do that for them. We optimize images with the title, with the alternate text, or alt tag, and description, which should use your keywords.”
The same holds true for videos, vlogs, and podcasts, which can be uploaded to WordPress in the same way. So let us now dig a little deeper and explore SEO for all of these types of media.
SEO for Images
The Title Tag
Above I noted we begin optimizing images with the title tag. When you upload your image, you will have the opportunity to change the title. The title should contain one or two keywords that describe the image and relate to your post or page. These keywords should be at the beginning of the title, and there should be no dashes between the words.
The Alternate Text
The alternate text, or alt-text provides visibility not only to search engines, but also to people who are vision impaired and don’t allow their browsers to display images. And every once in a while we are all going to get that pesky image that doesn’t load. Alt-text will be placed where the image is supposed to be, telling the reader what should be there. There is no need to work too hard on this, as you can copy and paste your image title into the alt-tag space.
The description should be a short blurb about not only your image, but also your post or page. (Your image should be a good representation of what your post or page is about). It should include a couple of keywords, placed toward the beginning.
Captions is a funny one because using captions does not directly affect your SEO. The theory, though, is using captions will keep readers on your page longer, and the amount of time readers spend on your site does affect SEO.
The speed at which your page loads affects SEO, so you want to make sure your image is re-sized to the smallest size that is appropriate. You see, when you upload a large image and re-size it using WordPress, when a user loads a page, the large image loads first, and then the small image is displayed. That is why image re-sizing should be done prior to uploading images. For example, if you are using an image from Flickr, you have the option of choosing which size you want to use, and it gives you the URL of that size, which can be inserted into your media uploader. If you are using your own images, you can use image editing software installed on your computer, or use online sources. My personal online favorite is PicMonkey.
*Note: My good friend Kristen from Four Hens and a Rooster, pointed out that images should be saved to your computer and re-named before you upload them to WordPress. This is true, and I thank her for pointing out that detail!*
Optimizing Videos, Vlogs, and Podcasts: One Simple Step
In WordPress, provided you are not trying to upload a file that exceeds the maximum file size, the process for uploading and doing SEO with videos, vlogs, and podcasts is the same as uploading and doing SEO with images. There is one more simple step, however, that you can take to more fully optimized.
Just like search engines cannot “read” images, they cannot read, watch, or listen to videos, vlogs, or podcasts. That is why it is important to provide a transcript or a synopsis of these media items. You can subscribe to a service to get transcripts of your content (or just do it the old-fashioned way and listen/watch and type it yourself). You can also write a short synopsis, highlighting the key points with h-tags and bullets, making sure to include keywords. Both of these options can be posted right onto your post or page.
Optimizing media on your site is a great way to take your SEO further. It really doesn’t take much extra time, and I know personally that the payoff is worth it, as many of my hits come from image searches. So, take the time to implement these steps, and enjoy watching your stats!