Why SEO Matters for Images and Video
As web writers, we generally understand the importance of SEO when writing content. We want people to find our web pages organically.
And, I must admit, it’s quite a buzz when a page I’ve written appears near the top of a Google search!
Now, it’s not uncommon to spend some pretty serious time researching keywords and following SEO best practices. We carefully weave our chosen keyword into our copy, taking time to ensure everything is perfect.
But, are you always as diligent with your images and video?
If not, you’re missing out on some easy gains, an easy way to rank higher in the search engines.
Let’s look into this a bit further.
It’s Not Just Web Pages
Try this. Open your favorite search engine and type in “dogs.” What do you see? A list of web pages. What else? Videos and images. Ah ha!
Click on an image and you’ll see a link to a website. Click on a video and you might see a link to a website in the description. So, these videos and images are driving traffic back to websites.
You’ve taken the time to optimize your web copy for SEO. Spend a little more time optimizing images and videos for SEO, as well.
It’s easy to do and worth the effort.
Let’s look at a real-life example from an article I wrote for my Money-Making Website. This article is about an abandoned station (or farm, for you northerners) in Australia’s outback called Old Cork Station. This sits on an iconic outback Australian river called the Diamantina River.
After conducting keyword research, the best keyword was “diamantina.” An alternative keyword was “old cork station.”
Now, let’s look at how I used images and video to increase my organic traffic to this article.
There are three places where you should optimize each image for SEO. When you upload an image in WordPress, you’ll see three boxes: Title, Caption and Alt Text.
When I uploaded the images for Old Cork Station, they all had generic titles, like IMG_5567.jpg. So, I changed them to meaningful titles like “old-cork-station-diamantina-river-sunset.jpg.”
You’re writing the Title for the search engines, helping them to understand what your image is about.
I included my keyword in the caption text, too. So, for a sunset image, I might say, “A striking outback sunset over the Diamantina River.”
You’re writing a Caption primarily for your readers. Keep in mind, though, you’re also helping the search engines to better understand the image.
Alt Text is the text that appears when you hover over an image. It’s also the text you see if you’ve blocked images from downloading. So, Alt Text is important.
Continuing my above example, I might write, “Sunset over Diamantina River, Old Cork Station in the background.”
You’re writing Alt Text for both your readers and the search engines. Imagine you were blind and had text-to-talk. My Alt Text above is far more descriptive than “Old Cork Station, Diamantina River.”
It also tells the search engines what your image is about. Search engines can’t decipher images, so they use Alt Text as another clue to understand what’s in the image.
So, Title, Caption and Alt Text all provide information to your readers and/or the search engines. Optimize them for SEO, and the search engines will likely rank your images higher in their search results.
Continuing our example, I have a YouTube video embedded in my Old Cork Station article.
Now, it all gets a bit complicated with YouTube. You can optimize for the YouTube search engine … or for Google, Bing and so on … or for both. For now, let’s keep it simple and focus on YouTube.
You have three opportunities to optimize your videos for SEO: Title, Description, and Tags.
Use your SEO keyword in the video Title. For example, my video’s Title is, “Old Cork Station, Diamantina River QLD.”
This helps your readers and the search engines to understand what the video is about.
Incorporate your keyword into the Description. This should be simple if you’ve chosen a keyword that relates to your video. Write your Description so that it accurately describes your video, and the video enhances your copy.
One trick. Embed the URL of the web page where you’re using the video in the Description at the end of your text. While it doesn’t show as a highlighted hyperlink, it actually is. Yet another way to increase traffic back to a website!
How do you do this? Copy and paste the URL … that’s it. So, you might say something like, “[Your Description text] … Find out more about Old Cork Station here: https://topwiretraveller.com/old-cork-station-diamantina-river/.”
Tags help the YouTube search engine to find relevant videos. I used “Old Cork Station,” “Diamantina,” “Diamantina River” and “Outback Queensland.”
You can be creative here, if you like. I could have added “Outback Australia” and “Abandoned Houses,” for example. Just make sure one of your Tags includes your keyword.
To optimize for YouTube, use the Title, Description and Tags to help your readers and the search engines find and understand what your video is about. If you do it right, you’ll start to see your videos in the search engine results … and an increase in organic traffic to your website.
If you’re optimizing copy for SEO, take the time to optimize your images and video, too. Yes, it’s more work. However, you’ll now have three ways to rank in the search engines, instead of relying on the copy alone.
And, one final tip, if you write articles for companies and provide images or videos …
For each image, provide an SEO-optimized Title, Caption and Alt Text. Likewise for each video.
Your clients will love you!
Do you optimize your images and video for SEO? Have you seen an increase in organic traffic?
Share your experiences in the comments below.
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