Digital Santa Presents – Imagery and Brand
Welcome back to our Christmas blog series ‘Digital Santa Presents …’ With the help of the Digital Santa, we will be talking you through how to optimise your website this Christmas.
This week, Digital Santa bears gifts regarding imagery and branding. Like always with SEO, using images means a battle between optimising for Google, and optimising for the user. There are a number of ways to optimise images so that they have a positive effect on ranking score, some of which are very simple. Likewise, imagery has to reach out to your target market browsing the web as well – do the images you use effectively represent your brand?
With the help of Digital Santa, we’ll be asking and answering all the essential questions when it comes to imagery and branding!
Pleasing Google with the basics
There are a number of rather simple optimising techniques that can be surprisingly effective:
Image Size: One of the most commonly reported errors in Google’s Page Speed Tool is overly large images. Of course, you don’t want to compromise quality, but in order to avoid slipping down the rankings due to slow page speed, it is best to keep the image within the KB range rather than MB.
Image Hosting: In some cases you may not want to sacrifice the size of your image – it might be essential in representing your brand. Or you may just have a number of webpages that feature a large amount of different content. If this is the case, there is a fairly simple solution that many people aren’t aware of. Simply put, a content delivery network can be set up, which is a system of servers that allows you to cache your website’s content.
A content delivery network can result in technical benefits and essentially a faster page loading speed, in turn making your website more visible. However, an important point to remember is that by placing your images on a content delivery network, it means that when someone links to your images, they are actually linking to the content delivery network website because of the change in domain.
Image Alt-text: This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it is still crucial as the alt-text is the only part of an image that Google’s crawlers can read. Alt-text should be clear and concise, describing what the image is without being overly stuffed with keywords.
Google is happy, what about the web user?
So, the technical stuff is out of the way – what now? Most importantly, your imagery has to be appealing to the user who has landed on your website. Is it eye-catching? And if it is, does it effectively represent your brand? Will the the web user have a better understanding of your brand/product through your imagery? This is not a new phenomenon, just consider this Gillette advert from 1895 …
There are a number of ways that imagery might be incorporated into your website. Whether it is your brand’s logo, or some images embedded into an article, there are certain details that may have an effect on the web user’s experience.
Purpose: This is the first step, and arguably the most important. What purpose does that particular image have on that page of your website? Does the image fit your brand? Will the customer understand your brand through the image, or be engaged and therefore stay on your website? All of these factors must be considered with any imagery you use on your website.
Simplicity: This element of imagery mainly applies to branding. Some of the most recognisable logos in the world are very simple. You want your logo to be instantly recognisable: simple and distinct. Remember to make your logo visible on many pages of your website, what’s the point of all that great content if the customer doesn’t immediately associate it with your brand?
So, when it comes to optimising the imagery on your website this Christmas, choose effective imagery that represents your brand, and then make sure that it stands up in a technical sense to Google’s crawls. This can be as simple as making sure that image files aren’t so big that they will affect page speed, and that they are appropriately captioned. The imagery you choose must reflect your brand and must grab the web user in some way. They have got to your webpage because you have effectively optimised your website from a technical point of view; now make sure that they stick about.
If you need help with optimising the images on your website this Christmas, then why not give speak to one of the Tamar elves?