It is safe to say that you are not blogging just because: You want people to really read what you have written. However, for that to happen, your blog should be easy to find online.
The right images can significantly increase the visibility of your blog, especially now that Google is in the process of moving from text to “a more visual way to find information”.
For years, Google’s algorithm has preferred blogs with images. Now the images are essential if you want to increase organic search traffic and user engagement.
But any old image will not work.
Your images should be optimized, on the subject and placed properly.
We will cover everything you need to know about the selection of images for your blog. But first, let’s deepen the role played by the images to improve their classification.
Why do blogs need SEO images to classify?
Why are optimized images important? As already mentioned, Google (and other search engines) value the skillful use of images. Optimized images can be an indicator of a high quality blog.
The images break the text, creating an easier and more pleasant reading experience. They can also arouse the interest of their readers and take home their main points, which keeps visitors in place for longer.
When search engines realize that people tend to stay, they come to the conclusion that your blog offers value. This, in turn, improves your organic search ranking.
Opportunities for SEO
All the images have file names, and the images on your blog must also have alternative texts and, sometimes, subtitles.
Each one gives you the opportunity to improve the density of your keywords and emphasize in the search engines that each blog post deals with. (We will discuss the writing of alternative SEO texts below).
Tips for selecting appropriate images
Keep these 4 tips in mind when choosing images for your blog posts.
1. Always check the licenses
While some websites provide completely free images, others provide theirs under licenses that impose certain obligations on you.
For example, in some cases, you may need to contact the owner to obtain a permit or provide them with attribution in your publication.
Some images, of course, can not be copied legally or used at all. Before choosing an image, find out what you must do to be in the clearing legally.
2. Choose relevant images
Both for SEO purposes and for the benefit of your readers, it is imperative that you choose graphics and photos that are related to your subject. Doing the opposite can leave search engines and readers confused, which hurts their ranking.
3. Do not forget mobile users
More than 50% of Internet traffic is mobile, so your entire blog must be compatible with mobile devices, including images. In addition, mobile users will see their sites with a variety of screen sizes.
The way your blog is displayed can differ a lot on the devices. You want to make sure that your images are the right size, appear in the right places and maintain their quality, regardless of which mobile device is being used.
4. Choose compelling images
The images are not just there to look beautiful. They are tools to motivate people to action, even when “action” simply means continuing to read your blog. Therefore, you need attractive images that increase commitment.
The photos of people are an excellent tool for this purpose.
Research has shown that audiences respond particularly strongly to faces.
For example, one study found that Instagram photos with faces are 38% more likely to receive I like others. Whenever possible, choose dynamic images that appeal to your readers.
5. Keep your images “with the brand”
To achieve the best results, there should be no confusion when it comes to your brand. The photos you choose should be aligned with the way you present your business as a whole. There are several aspects of this to consider.
As mentioned above, your photos should match your theme. If there is no obvious connection or connection between the two, and the images do not help you to communicate your thoughts better, it does not make sense to use them.
In addition, the types of images you choose should accurately reflect your business and your personality.
If your blog has a happy or serious tone, choose images that match. You should use the colors of your brand when possible, perhaps by applying filters to all your photos to keep them uniform and, when possible, make them uniform in width.
If you decide to produce your own images, which will be discussed later, you should also maintain the coherence of the sources and the logo.
Where to get images for your blog (and avoid legal risks)
At this point, you know why you need to classify the images, as well as how to select the appropriate ones.
Now, you need to know where and how to find images for your blog posts.
You have three options: Free stock, stock paid or internal. Here are the strengths, weaknesses and legal obstacles of each one.
This option is excellent if you have a tight budget but still want to enjoy the benefits of using optimized images in your publications.
There are several sites where you can get completely free images for your blog. Some of our favorites include:
Instant Magazine created a complete list of 10 free stock image sites.
Regardless of the site you use, you should always be careful. The different sites have different requirements with respect to the accreditation of the original source of each photo.
Some do not require anything at all, while others require an adequate attribution to the creator.
Similarly, some sites, and even individual photographers at those sites, may place limitations on the way their work can be used.
For example, some images can only be used for non-commercial purposes. You must make sure what is required of you before downloading and using them; doing it in another way exposes you to potential legal action.
Paid Stock Photos
Paid stock images are similar to their free counterparts in terms of requirements and limitations. As long as you respect the rights of the creator, as indicated on the photo site, you must be sure.
Where can you find paid stock images? Here are some sources:
- Adobe Stock
- False images
In general, the quality of the images in these paid sites is a little higher and, often, these photos are already sized for web content.
Internal image creation
Do you have doubts about using stock images? If so, it is understandable. Although it is unlikely that you will ever use an image that any of your readers recognize, it is a possibility.
Even if it never happens, some archive photos have an obvious “look” about it; almost everyone has seen an image at some point and they have thought: “Oh, that’s a file image“, even if they had never seen it before.
With a decent camera, good lighting and a decent editing program, you can produce your own images that will improve your blog’s ratings and attract your readers.
The drawback: this option is the most expensive, both in terms of the equipment and software you will need as well as the time and energy it will take.
Which of the three options you choose will depend on you and your needs. Whichever you choose, when looking for photos, keep the following in mind:
Where not to look for images
There are some places that you should never take pictures of. It is true. For example, never extract images from Google Image Search or any other similar search tool.
For almost any search, almost all major results will be copyrighted.
You should also avoid taking photos and graphics from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. On these platforms, most images operate under fair use.
If you are writing for a monetized or affiliate blog, you are not allowed to make use of those images.
The same applies to the screenshots you take from other websites. The fact that you have taken the screenshot will not necessarily protect you. Publishing an image of another person’s website is equivalent to republishing your content.
Make sure you have the rights to do so, even with attribution.
Always do your homework
In summary, make sure you understand the copyright law and use it right before committing to using other people’s images. Communicate with the creator whenever possible, make sure they are compensated for their work and always give credit when necessary.
Making your images friendly with SEO
Once obtained, it is time to optimize your images with the hope that they will help you to classify your website. What is involved in this process?
Adding Alt Texts
All of your images have something called “alternative text” that “tells” the search engines what the image represents. Google evaluates alternative text in terms of accuracy and relevance. The deceptive alternative text may incur a penalty.
Alternative text also appears when the image is not loaded in the browser, and is what screen readers read to web surfers with visual disabilities.
To add this text, you can write it directly in the HTML tags of your site. It should look like this:
<img src = “image.jpg” alt = “A sentence that describes your image”/>
Many WYSIWYG content editors (what you see is what you get), like the one WordPress, uses, allow you to enter your alternative text in a simple text box.
Writing the alternative text
Your alternative text should be a concise sentence (125 characters is the usual limit) that describes the image. For example, this image may have the alternative text, “Close-up of pine cones on a tree branch”, and in fact, that is exactly what alternative text is.
Choose the correct size
There are three main types of image files on the Internet: PNG, JPG and GIF. Everyone has their niche, and determining which one to use in your blog can be complicated.
Here is a quick breakdown of each one.
- PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. PNG uses DCT compression to create images without loss, which means that images can be saved, reopened and scaled without losing quality. It is the standard for most digital photographs, and is ideal for graphic designers who work with high-quality images and vectors, but can be too detailed (meaning that the file size will be too large) for some publications. Blog.
- GIF, or the images Graphic Interchange Format, also have losses, but only support a maximum of 256 colors. They work best with moving graphics, small icons and graphics with little pixel variation.
- The images JPEG named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group (the creators of file type) and have become the standard for images of blogs. It is a lossy format, which means it loads quickly, but tends to lose quality as it scales and reloads.
Regarding the dimensions, make sure that you only reduce the size downwards, never upwards; nothing is worse than blurred and grainy images.
For header images, make the most of your website’s web space by measuring the width of your site’s banner and choosing images long enough to cover the entire page.
For body images, keep the images relatively small to avoid interrupting the flow of your publication.
Place your images with care
The appearance of a page can dramatically increase or decrease the bounce rate of your blog. Therefore, where you place your images is critical.
- Header images: Recently, Ogilvy discovered that headlines placed below the hero images are read 10% more often. That means that a bad location of the highlighted image can drastically reduce your readers. Do not make things difficult for yourself. Place your header images at the beginning of your blog.
- Body images: Sandwich your images between paragraphs, as close as possible to the relevant paragraphs. Try to avoid placing them immediately after the headlines and at the end of the body sections.
Follow these general rules and you will see good results.
Am I still confused? Hire a little help
To summarize, there are many things you should keep in mind when selecting the right images for your blog. Among other things, you should think about whether an image is relevant to your subject or not, compelling, in line with your brand, free to use and suitable for visitors who use mobile devices.
When you do not feel comfortable with the image verification and publication process, it can take a long time.
If it seems too much trouble, consider outsourcing a service that provides you with complete content with SEO images. Why not make things a little easier for you?