When setting up a website youíll want to do all you can to increase the visibility of it on the web, and this can involve a range of processes, such as banner ads and pay per click for example, but the most natural and long lasting method is search engine optimisation. Within search engine optimisation, or SEO, there are many different important activities which can contribute to your web rankings. Firstly we need to discuss your website itself, as after all if your own site isnít set up to help itself then why should the search engines grant you higher rankings?
Ultimately your website is your resource, and while developing it to serve your customersí needs is of course a primary concern there is no reason you canít make it work for you as well. SEO should start at the very foundations of your online business and inroads in to achieving better web rankings can be made as soon as you create your site.
While there are certain things you can do to optimise your site you will probably need a properly managed SEO campaign to push your site further up the rankings and maintain top positions. A professional SEO campaign involves a wide range of activities, from social media marketing, article distribution and media liaison to bookmarking and link building activities. First letís look at some of the most under used, and perhaps misunderstood, ways in which you can develop your site and better prepare yourself for SEO.
Images are of course an important part of any site. They offer colour to a page, illustrate products and help to engage the user by breaking up text. The problem with images on a website is that on the whole they are underutilized, as images can offer much more to your site than simple aesthetics and can contribute to SEO.
No matter how large or small your site, youíll have at least one or two images on show to your visitors. However, there is a lot more to including a photo on your site than simply uploading with a relevant caption. As a file based addition an image will have a file name, and (hopefully) ALT text. ALT text is in essence text added to any image to enable the screen readers to understand them, and in Internet Explorer we can see this ALT text by mousing over the image and looking at the yellow tooltip that appears.
While itís not rocket science there is a skill to writing ALT text for images, and itís not just a matter of putting a description in there. Firstly itís important to note that file names and ALT tags should be straightforward; ALT tags in particular should describe the image as succinctly as possible, so visitors unable to see the image still get an idea of what should fill that space. In the case of an image being used as a link through to another page within the site, the filename will perform much the same function as anchor text, making keyword inclusion and relevant information essential. Remember, ALT text should describe the content of the image and nothing more; the trick however is coupling this simplicity with keyword inclusion.
While ALT text is probably the most significant factor for SEO when it comes to images there are a couple of other points which will help you ensure your images are fully optimised. Firstly you should consider the surrounding image text, as Google will weigh the text that surrounds each image in determining what the picture is about. Within this you will want to ensure that you place relevant keywords above and below the image you are looking to optimise.
Second it is important to consider the file name under which your image is uploaded. For example if you were trying to optimise the word "funky t-shirt", you might name the image funky-t-shirt.jpg. Because it can be difficult to optimise in this way if you are forced to go back and change the name of existing images it is a good idea to keep keywords in mind when you are naming them in the first place.
The importance of images on a website is absolute, and we all know what happens when we visit a site of pure, unrelenting text... we leave. The basic principle here, and the main thing to take away from this advice is that images should work for you, and while they look pretty you should always be expecting them to perform a multitude of functions. So before unloading images or adding descriptions, stop, and think SEO.