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On-page SEO entails quite a lot of practices that are carried out solely on the pages of the web platform being optimized.
The core focus of all on-page SEO strategies is the modification of the site’s written content in order to optimize it for search engine rankings.
But there are other elements of a website that can be ideally tweaked to make it more potent for SEO.
Images and videos are an integral part of a fully functional website or blog. And they play quite a vital role in improving the aesthetic grandeur of a web platform.
Using only written content to convey a selection of ideas or some helpful tips is just simply inadequate. Not to mention, it results in a web page that is bland and unappealing.
Apart from the aesthetic functions executed by both highly important visual components, images and videos can also be used as SEO tools to strengthen a site’s quest for high search engine rankings.
With Google having result pages dedicated to both images and videos, the duo of visual content has become an important element of on-page SEO.
Even if you choose to ignore the contribution of visual content to on-page SEO, you cannot undervalue its importance in social media marketing – a critical aspect of off-page SEO.
Simply put, the social media shares of a site’s content will only be massive if the major component of the shared content is a crisp image or an impressive video.
You will basically be failing in your social media campaign without even commencing the process if you do not intend to include visual content.
Penalties Awaits Sites with Poor or No Illustration
Not including images or videos (particularly images) in an article or web copy has way more than a negative aesthetic effect on your site.
This is because the search engine giant, Google, now penalises websites that do not properly illustrate their content with very crisp visuals.
So you’re not just ruining the quality of your site when you fail to incorporate images and videos, you’re also hurting your site’s chances of achieving a good search engine ranking.
Websites and blogs that are filled with pages that house poorly illustrated content are certain to suffer very unpleasant consequences that will result in the plummeting of their traffic.
And only those of you who are able to rectify the issue and drastically improve the quality of their visual content will see an upturn in fortune.
How to Optimize Images for Search Engines
The image search process in Google is relatively different from a typical text search in the sense that the web user executing the query usually has a picture of what he or she is looking for.
And only the first image that comes close to matching that mental picture gets selected.
Relevance is key when searching for images, and an average web user will continue to scroll down the results page until the ideal image is seen.
There are specific things that can be done to make an image well-primed for a high search engine ranking, some of which are briefly discussed below:
Name Your Images Properly
A lot of site admins in charge of uploading images to the pages of the sites they manage do not see the need to properly change the names of the images they obtain from various platforms.
This means most of the images in the pages of these web platforms are bearing very vague names that are usually made up of randomly juxtaposed alphabets and numbers.
A typical example is an image file with the name, DA00001DF.jpg.
In the example given above, only the format of the file has any descriptive relevance, and even that is very limited.
Such files will have lots of difficulties being crawled by search engines and won’t be able to achieve suitable rankings, even if they are crisp and highly illustrative images.
You must properly name the images you intend to upload on your website or blog. And you must also include very relevant keywords in their file names if you want them to achieve high rankings.
Use the Alt Tag All the Time
When uploading an image that will end up forming a core part of the page’s content, it is pertinent to the SEO success of the content to fill the alt tag option of the image with a proper description.
Since Google’s algorithm that ranks images on the search engine platform isn’t capable of visually identifying the images on the internet, the alt tag basically functions as its translator and helps it to link the appropriate images to related searches.
Images that do not have the alt tag option filled out will struggle to get ranked since an apt description of what it illustrates doesn’t exist.
Reduce Image Size
Image size has a direct impact on the loading speed of a website, which can also play a key role in influencing user experience.
Thus, it is paramount that the images used in the pages of your site are highly optimized for quick and responsive website performance.
Whether you curate the images yourself from credible sources or outsource the task to a freelance expert, you must ensure that they are properly adjusted for swift loading and display.
How to Optimize Videos for Search Engines
Videos are somewhat similar to images in the manner with which they are ranked by search engines, and hence, require special modifications in order to become properly optimized.
Since videos are seen as well-detailed content that is highly valuable, Google prioritizes their display in searches that aren’t even video-specific.
These tips briefly discussed below will give you a clue on how to make your videos rank higher on the search engine platform, Google.
Use a Schema Markup for Videos
Schema markups are tags that are invisible to web users but can be easily recognized by search engines when the videos are being indexed.
They aren’t quite easy to incorporate into the videos and most oftentimes require the expertise of a web developer in order to configure the site’s template and generate the short-codes that are wrapped around the video files.
If you, however, do not wish to hire an expert solely for the purpose of optimizing your videos, then a more automated option is also available in the form of a plugin.
A widely used plugin for the inclusion of schema markups is the Video SEO plugin from Yoast.
Create a Video Sitemap
Like the name suggests, video sitemaps are quite similar to conventional sitemaps that detail, in list format, all the pages in a website in order to grant easy access to search engines.
Video sitemaps perform similar duties, though they are more specific and tailored towards optimizing videos for search engine queries.
Transcribe the Video and Make Captions
Search engines are unable to identify the content of a video by simply looking at it.
It is important that you give a video on your website a good chance of being highly ranked by properly naming the file as well as transcribing its content.
Providing closed caption, especially for YouTube videos, is also an effective SEO practice that is commonly utilized. And it also helps videos get easily spotted, both on Google and the YouTube results pages.
Optimizing Images and Videos: Conclusion
Images and Videos form a key element of every on-page SEO effort and their omission can have quite detrimental repercussions for the search engine ranking of a site.
But more importantly, they are critical components of a website that play a vital role in influencing its aesthetic feature.