How to Use Photos to Increase Search Engine Visibility
- Sebastyne Young
I looked high and low to find a quote that related to pictures and words without using the one we’ve heard all our lives. You know which one I’m talking about.
Pictures have a place in the literary world, but not in all literary places. For instance, you rarely – if ever – find photos in a novel. Why? Because the author wants his words to paint the pictures that are seen by the reader’s imaginative eye.
Novels enjoy the luxury of side-stepping search engine optimization. Whether you read books with an electronic device or the old school way, as I do, SEO has nothing to do with why you read your favorite authors. Our bookcases are completely oblivious to Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other robotic measures when selecting whose novels adorn the shelves of our home libraries.
Are you aware that photos can be optimized for SEO?
Until You Earn Best-Selling Author Status
The truth of the matter is, even if you are working on a novel, the bills have to be paid. Not many of us become a huge success with our first authorial efforts. If you’ve chosen writing as your life path, you more than likely are writing online content to tide you over until you make the big time. Whether you write for outside clients, mills or yourself, most of what you pen ends up online.
Since much of what is sought by online searchers is of an informative or instructional nature, having pictures accompany your text is key to keeping the reader on your page. Photos help drive the point home. They bring understanding to the reader. It's quite difficult to picture something in your mind if you're not familiar with the subject or are yearning to learn something new. Most of us learn by seeing and doing. Photos allow how-to and why-for posts to sink into the readers' minds. Your photos need to be as carefully choreographed as your words.
The goal is to increase readership, sales and reputation. If you’ve been at this for any length of time, you know that your work must be recognized and ranked by the search engines or you might as well get a day job. When a client hires you to maintain their blog or post articles on their website, you’d better be giving them an increased return on investment (ROI) or they’ll find another writer who’s more effective. Same for your own business; if you’re not ranking on the first two pages of Google, someone else is enjoying the profits that could be going into your bank account.
I’m not going to harangue you with how to achieve good SEO results. You’ve heard it until you’re blue in the face. Besides, there are plenty of tutorials and forums available online that go into great detail on that issue.
This article addresses how photos can increase the search engine visibility of your online posts.
First let me show you a photo I’ve been dying to use.
Pretty cool, huh? I call this my Donald Duck tree. Well, it’s not exactly my tree – it lives across the street from me.
I’m going to show you step-by-step how to optimize this photo (or any photo) for online use. In order to do so, let’s suppose this article is all about the Donald Duck tree. It’s necessary for me to intertwine something about this tree in order for Google to not raise its robotic eyebrows at me and give me the proverbial WTF??
A Little Story About the Donald Duck Tree
It was a day like any other. After feeding the cats, I poured a cup of coffee and went outside to enjoy my morning wake-up juice. The neighborhood was a-flutter with the annual influx of birds seeking refuge from the cold winter up north.
Aside from the symphony provided by Nature’s feathered friends, the morning was quiet. The birds sang of peace, keeping me company as the cobwebs slowly lifted from my sleepy mind.
With coffee in hand, I arose from my perch on the porch to stretch my legs and survey the garden. My back was to the road but I could feel a presence. I turned, expecting to find a neighbor walking his dogs. Nope. No one was there. Then I saw it. One of the oaks across the street was smiling at me! What the….?
I set my coffee cup on the bistro and swiftly went inside to grab my camera. Crossing the street, I couldn’t help but marvel at Mother Nature’s artistry. Out of a knot in the tree, some sort of mushroom had grown. The mushroom had a top and bottom lip – at least that’s what it looked like. The tree was grinning at me! After taking several shots, I deemed this tree with lips to be my Donald Duck tree.
For several days the beautiful oak greeted me with a smile. Then its smile faded and disappeared all together. I was left with a sense of sadness and wondered why, after all these years, the tree chose now to show me it has a personality.
Perhaps Donald Duck will return next winter and share his story with me.
Okay, I hear you dear readers. You’re thinking I’ve lost my mind or – at the very least – my ability to spin a tale. This was very impromptu and serves only as the setting for what I’m about to show you.
Let’s move on, shall we?
How to Optimize Photos for SEO Purposes
Using a back door technique, your photos can be recognized by Google. Combined with the keywords in your online posts, what I’m about to show you will allow your photos to be “read” by the search engines, thus increasing ranking.
- Choose a photo from your pictures library. Right click on it.
- From the drop down menu click on properties.
3. On the General tab (default tab) rename the photo if needed.
4. Click on the Details tab. You’ll see several categories: description, origin, image, etc.
5. Hover your mouse over each “value” area on the right. You’ll see a box appear where you can rename what’s in there as default. Change the names accordingly and add keywords you want to rank for in the “tags” box.
6. Add your author name. If this is someone else’s photo, give it proper (legal) attribution. Click OK. This will save the changes you made to the photo.
7. Upload your photo to the article you’re working on.
Note: be sure to go through the process again if you choose to use the optimized photo in an unrelated article.
There are two areas I did not optimize because I don’t want to confuse Google with this tutorial. However, if I had written an article about the Donald Duck tree I would have also done the following:
- Give the pic a 5 star rating. This is found in the Description area under the Details tab.
- In the comments section, copy/paste your entire article. Again, I didn’t do this because the photo I used was for instructional purposes only.
Below is a video taking you through the process. I suggest you take the time to watch it, as it is more comprehensive than what I’ve shown you here.
This attorney talks about using photos in online posts
Optimizing your photos is a great way to boost your articles’ SEO ranking. Make sure the photos relate to your article and only use this practice when you are including original photos that you own.
When you pull pictures from the web, use creative commons images and attribute them properly. Do not attempt to optimize them with the tactics presented in this article. Remember, you are borrowing them; you do not own them. Don’t try to fool the search engines or you might find yourself in a heap of trouble.
I hope you found this article informative. If you choose to optimize your photos (and you should) I’d love for you to come back and let me know if your newly optimized articles are enjoying higher rankings than those you've previously posted.
Shauna L Bowling
Refining, Defining or Rhyming
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