The web is getting more visual. Social websites like Imgur, Pinterest and Instagram have exploded in the last few years. Some internet users only look at photos and do not read content. With this being the case, one would think that photos, images or pictures would help when it comes to SEO. Before making this assumption let’s understand how Google crawls and indexes websites.
The first thing you must understand is that Google crawls written content, words, the most efficiently. This is why most of the top Google search results are Wikipedia or Amazon pages. These pages tend to have tons of words on the page. In the past few years Google has been able to better index and rank photos but it is still not as seamless as the indexing and ranking of text. That said, you cannot Pin to Pinterest without a photo. You cannot share to Instagram without some type of photo. For this reason, I would strongly suggest putting some type of image on your blog posts.
There are plenty of blog posts I have written that have no images but the only reason is because I do not own an image that makes sense. Pinterest links are very valuable. If you have no image on a page you are not able to get that Pinterest link. I think as we move forward with social media websites it will become more common that images are necessary to share a link. So, go ahead and start selecting photos or images to share on your blog posts.
On WordPress, there is an option to select “Featured Image”. It looks like this:
If you have an image on the blog post and you use a WordPress theme that has a thumbnail image on the home page it is smart to set the featured image as the image on the blog post. Please understand that you do not have to do this. This is solely to make the WordPress website more visually pleasing to the user. If the image is in the blog post Google will be able to crawl, index and rank it in search.
Naming Your Images for SEO Purposes
Something I have always done is properly name images with what I would search to find them. Unfortunately, many people just leave the image name as DSC.2383. How many people are going to search that? I would guess zero. Take the time to rename your photos the exact phrase that you would search for that specific photo. You will be shocked at how much traffic you can generate to your website simply through Google Images search.
In fact, Google Images search continues to get more and more powerful each day. Note that some of the traffic may not be getting all the way to your website because searches can click the image and expand it within Google Image search. Even though this is the case, it is still an opportunity for you to get your website in front of more eyeballs. The searchers will see where the image is on the Internet.