Whenever I am editing my images in WordPress, I find myself observing tons of “rules” that could potentially boost the effectiveness of my effort. To be honest, there is no definitive list of what you need to do to get your images right. However, I have put down a list of the most essential things you should know about inserting and editing images in your WordPress site.
Where you host, your site is just as critical as how you set up the images on your site. A well-structured site hosted by a reliable hosting provider is always a win. Take a look at this hosting solution if you are still trying to figure out where to host your WordPress site. Once you are done setting up your site on a server that is well-taken care of, you can comfortably embark on working on your website’s images. Let’s get started.
Compress Your Images
According to the analysis conducted at HTTP Archive, images account for about 21 percent of the total weight of a web page. That’s a significant amount of weight. The problem is that too many high-quality images tend to contribute more weight. The result is a bloated webpage that loads slowly and which Google’s search engine may have a hard time looking at.
For these reasons, it is considered to be a sound SEO practice to compress your images before uploading them to your blog. There are more than enough WordPress plugins you can use to accomplish this, including TinyPNG. If you already have Photoshop on your workstation, things can be way easier.
I would personally recommend WP Smush, which trims the size of your images without compromising their quality. Whichever plugin you choose, make sure to choose one that completes the compressing externally on their own serves. This can remarkably reduce the amount of load on your site.
Use Next-Generation Formats
Have you tried to use Google’s PageSpeed Insights in the recent past? If you did, then you must have seen this message: “Serve pictures in next-generation formats.”
Through this message, Google has two intentions: to help you upload pictures in a format that boosts the loading speed of your site and to help you convert your pictures to Google’s open-source WebP format.
Images uploaded with WebP have the same qualities you’re used to seeing in a JPEG, GIFs, and PNGs, if not better. The WebP format is not the only format of its type available to bloggers; you can opt for JPEG 2000, which has similarly better image compression capabilities. With such next-gen formats, you will kill two birds with one stone: your site will load faster, and you will be on Google Search’s good side just in case they make changes to their algorithm.
Describe Images With Captions
Although Google has gotten better over the years at recognizing what an image is and what it contains, you should not rely on their abilities entirely. You will be shocked by how Google’s AI can read some images wrongly.
Fortunately, it doesn’t hurt to provide the context for your own images – so proceed to fill them with captions, all of them! Text captions can be of great importance to any search engine, not just Google Search when it is trying to contextualize what is happening on your site.
Better yet, captions help human readers to scan an article and know what it is all about before reading it in entirety (Nielsen had already learned it in 1997). Nielsen went on to write:
“Some of the elements that ease scanning include bold text, heading, captions, headings, table of contents, topic sentences, and graphics.”
KissMetrics highlighted something similar in 2012:
“Captions at the bottom of pictures are read and scanned on average 300 percent more than the rest of the body of the article, so using them incorrectly, or not using them at all, means you are missing the golden opportunity to engage the biggest part of your prospective readers.”
Need to do it in bulk? Use a plugin like Auto image alt text to ease the process.
Add Image Structured Data
Structured data is used to markup events, reviews, recipes, and even products to make it easy for Google Images to pick up this data and present on the search results in an enhanced manner.
So if your site is reliant on voice-activated actions, interactive mobile results, snippets, or a listing within the knowledge graph, it must have pictures and pages marked up with structured data.
Basically, structured data are bits of data elements that you incorporate in your pictures and the entire website so that search engines can have an easier time understanding it. You need to use a special vocabulary provided by Schema.org, whose libraries are used by all major search engines on the web.
Just how important are images with structured data? Incorporating structured data on your site and images means Google will display those pictures as rich results. Although Google has been quick to clarify that structured data doesn’t influence the rankings of your page, they have confirmed that structured data does help the user achieve more fleshed listings in Image Search. It is more than that.
For instance, if you’re running a cooking website or recipe repository and you incorporate structured data in your images, Google Image will recognize them and add your badge on all the involved images. This helps to indicate that specific images belong to relevant recipes. Google Image will support structured data for these recipes, videos, and products.
Google has its own list of guidelines that site owners must observe if they want their images to show up in Google’s rich image search. Chief among them is that your pictures should be indexable and crawlable. Here is a comprehensive list of those guidelines.
A screenshot is a powerful element of imagery that serves to emphasize the point you have already outlined in words. In most cases, a screenshot simply elaborates on what you stated in the blog post. Screenshots are subject to the traditional rules that apply to regular images – if you must use someone else’s screenshot, then you must give credits. This means screenshots enjoy copyright protection, just like any other type of content.
And that’s what you should know about inserting and editing Images in your WordPress site. Just pay attention to the size of your images, formats you use to upload them, and the captions that describe them. The incorporation of structured data is essential, as well.
Author: Mary Derosa