As the iconic Dorothy Gale once said, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” The days of SERPs (search engine results pages) filled with web pages discussing your query’s topic are over. Google, along with a bevy of web 2.0 sites, are serving up a smorgasbord of information. Universal search is ushering in results that include videos, images, news, maps, books and websites. Social networking sites, such as Flikr and Facebook, are making it easier to share photos. You Tube has sky rocketed online videos to another level. If your site offers up visuals, then you need to optimize them. Who wants to miss out on the opportunity to rank more and drive additional traffic? To get you started, we have assembled 2 “How To” top 10 lists to help you capitalize on your website’s pictures and videos.
Optimizing for Image Search
1. Give the file a name that clearly represents what the image is. This will help communicate what keywords you are optimizing for with the search engines. Ex. Your picture is of a vacation home on the beach. Name it “vacation beach house.” This is a much better option than a filename like IMG 12345.
2. For the image description tag you will want to use a long description. In the world of SEO, it may be referred to as a “long-tail keyword.” Ex. “3 bedroom vacation beach house in New York.”
3. When you “tag” the photo, make sure your tags/keywords match exactly what the product is or image is representing.
4. Apply short descriptions to ALT tags. Ex. “beach house at Jones Beach.”
5. Save your photos as JPG files.
6. Try making the image path as uncomplicated and short as possible. An example of a good path would be www.examplesite.com/vacation-house. An example of a bad path would be www.examplesite.com/pictures/houses/vacation-house.
7. Be sure the file folder that stores your images is not blocked by the robots.txt file.
8. Page content surrounding the image is a must!
10. Experiment by re-uploading the picture. Image freshness is a clue for the search engines and may affect relevancy.
Use a photo sharing site to get your photos out there and exposed. Want to share your pics? Check out these social media sites that are for photo sharing:
Optimizing for Video
1. Think of the terms users are likely to be searching for.
2. Surround the video with on-page relevant text. Be sure the video and the content on the page go hand in hand.
3. For videos directly on your site, be sure you put them right off of your root folder.
4. Add a video search on your site.
5. Create a video sitemap. You can create a video sitemap here.
6. Be sure to use keywords when “tagging” the video.
7. Use SEO best practices; use keywords in the title for the video and in the filename for the video.
8. Evaluate other pages on your website where content may be relevant to your video. Create a hyperlink from that page to the page where the video is.
9. Create brand awareness and visibility by embedding and imprinting your brand logo into the video.
10. Be sure to have a social book marking tool on the page the video is placed on. This will help facilitate the distribution of the video.
A few other pieces of information to consider:
· Search engines will block videos that load via a popup.
· If applicable, create “how-to” videos. Submit these videos to social media video sites. These types of informative videos are perfect for viral distribution and can be a great luring tactic that will drive traffic into your site.
· Create an informative and entertaining video experience that will leave your users craving more.
Want to get your videos out there? Here is a list of popular video sharing sites for you to distribute your videos to:
· Yahoo! Video
· Google Video
There you have it! Nothing can replace fundamental SEO strategies, but applying these best practices to your images and videos will give you an extra boost. Go ahead, guide traffic down the “yellow brick road” (paved with optimization) to your website.