Using Website Graphics to Boost Your Local Search Ranking

How To Optimize Graphics for Local SearchA compelling, well-tagged image can help drive traffic to your local website through an image search (think Google Images). Google ranks local websites based on their usefulness. Being useful as a website is a quality that is transmitted through more than just textual content, but also through graphic content.

Optimize Your Image File Names for Search

If you’re uploading a picture, it comes with its file name onto the Internet. So if you upload a picture you loaded off your camera, it’s probably going to read something like “DCLN103_22.jpg.” Don’t use that name when you upload it! To make your website useful, name the photo for what it is, e.g. “teton_mountain_view.jpeg.”

Another place to put text for a photo is in the alt tag. This is a description that pops up if you hover your mouse over the picture and should be similar to the photo’s filename, e.g. “View from the Teton Mountains in the morning.”

Finally, you can use captions of your photo to provide even more textual direction for image searchers to find your graphic. A short or witty description of what the photo is, or why you included it, is enough to boost your local SEO.

How to Optimize a Graphic Using Text

  • Name your file something that is descriptive, but also plain English
  • Give your file an alt tag description
  • Caption the image on your site
  • Use keywords someone would search in naming your images (but make sure the description is accurate for the image)

Use the Right Kind of Picture

The three most common files types for photos are, in order of most common to least common:

  • JPEG – a decent image quality for a low file size
  • PNG – use if you have a few colors, and words that need to be legible in the photo
  • GIF – small animated picture, or a simple decorative image

Make sure that the images on your website are as small as possible; 70 kb or less, without sacrificing quality, is pretty standard.

Load times are critical for useful sites – computer users usually only wait 3 seconds for a page to load completely, while mobile users wait 5 seconds. You lose a lot of potential customers with even 10-second load times.

Decorative Imagery

Any graphics that are used for branding or site aesthetics are considered decorative imagery. Decorative imagery can make your site more pleasing, but it can also increase load times.

To help make decorative imagery most effective (that is, maximum aesthetic for minimum load times), ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Can this image be substituted with CSS programming?
  • Can this graphic be made into a smaller file without compromising quality?
  • Can this graphic drive traffic?
  • Can this graphic keep traffic on the page?

Act immediately on these questions (as applicable) and make changes to improve your website.

Remember, the more useful your site is (including graphics) the higher Google will rank your site locally. Optimize your graphics to boost your ranking today!