Making sure your images are optimized for search engines is important. Because search engines can’t do a very good job of deciphering images, they need to rely on the text around the images to try to figure out what they are.
Not only does this help bring traffic to your site when people are searching specifically for images related to yours, but it also helps out the general SEO of your page; it allows you to legitimately add some extra very important signals to your page that help the search engines decipher it and classify it correctly.
Take a look at a short video by Senior Google Engineer Matt Cutts talking about the importance of describing your images with text.
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Text for Images in WordPress
There are four different types of important text that can be directly associated with an image when you upload it via the WordPress media uploader.
- Alt Text (Alternative Text)
- File Name
* The alt text (or alternative text) is meant to describe the image so machines can get an idea about it.
In WordPress, you will see boxes for these types of text when you have your image open for editing.
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Default Text for Images in WordPress
By default, WordPress takes the name of your image file and uses it as your title for the image. This can help, but if your image file is named something like PICT0881, this tells the search engines nothing.
Or even if you’ve given your image file a descriptive name (which you should try to do), you might be able to squeeze a little extra SEO juice out of the image if you had a term or two more added to the text.
And then, of course, it would help to give the images alt text.
But all this takes w*rk.
SEO Friendly Images Plugin (DOWNLOAD HERE)
Luckily, the SEO Friendly Images plugin will automatically fill in your title and alt text boxes for you based on tags associated with different elements from your site. It will also do this for any images that you’ve already published.
This plugin lets you set your alt and title text by automatically substituting in the title of the post, the name of the file, the category, tags associated with the post, or even general words that you type in yourself.
Take a look at the settings page.
As you can see from the setting page above, I’ve set my title to take the name of my post plus the word “photo.” So as you can see, you can even enter your own text. (But keep in mind that if you insert a word of your own, that same word will appear in the title of every image.)
In the alt text section, you can see that I’ve made it the name of my file plus the name of the category I’ve put the post in. (Keep in mind that if your images have generic names like PICT0881, and you don’t plan on renaming them, then you’ll want to use a different tag there.)
The full code for the image would look like this.
<a href="http://mysite.com/wp-content/uploads/peanuts.jpg"> <img title="Nutrition in Peanuts photo" src="http://mysite.com/wp-content/uploads/peanuts.jpg" alt="peanuts healthy eating" width="300" height="165" /></a>
You see my title says, “Nutrition in Peanuts photo.” (The title of the post + “photo”)
The alt text says, “peanuts healthy eating.” (My image file name + my category name “healthy eating”)
Optimize Every Single Image Automatically
If you’re meticulous about SEO optimizing your images, then obviously this plugin isn’t for you. But if you’re like most, and you want an easy way to automatically optimize your images, then this plugin is the ticket.
If you set it up in an intelligent way, then you will get some pretty decent optimization applied to EVERY SINGLE IMAGE on your site. And that, of course, is miles and miles better than nothing.
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Photo: Film from BigStock