Three Simple SEO Tips

I recently came across this question, "Do you have any tips regarding SEO and naming your images?" and I had so many feelings. It brought up shameful memories of peaking behind the hood into the code & guts of a website and needing to let the website owner that they were making a terrible mistake.

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The memories that question brought up were from an earlier time lurking on social. It was a small business trying promote their new site through a facebook group and here I was with this bundle of unsolicited advice. I don't think they listened to me & my big mouth, but their file naming strategy of no strategy, (just the string of numbers assigned to each file by the camera) was a huge opportunity lost! 

I’ve spent a lot of time learning about this because because I've worked for a small e-commerce business for years. To be honest, I learned about the subject for the purposes of arguing against poor-decision making based on the outdated strategy of never fixing the usability of the menu bar because simplifying the navigation and removing redundant language was bad for SEO.

At first it was hard though, because Learning about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO meant wading through an industry of jargon and acronyms. SERPs, SEO, SEM, PPC... the list goes on.  Fortunately, research & learning have always been the foundation of why I got into art in the first place.

Start with a Good File Name, It's good for GoogleJuice

Okay, Googlejuice isn't a real thing, that's just what I call SEO. What they taught me in art school for file names mimics our general practice for our e-commerce business - long descriptive file names with the words separated by dashes or underscore. When differentiating between similar but different photos of the same thing, you can always add descriptors like overhead, macro, isometric etc.

In addition to good names, for every image you put on your site, you should caption & add alt-text with a few sentences with your target keywords, written naturally. So that I don't too weedy about keywords, I would think of them as basic terms that you would associate with your work, that people might search for to find your site.

Essentially, keywords are the phrases that people would type into a search engine to find the information they are looking for.

Optimize Images for Prime Speeds

Huge image files...this another critical mistake that I see all the time. A slow site is, in my opinion, is worst. I just give up. Inexperienced artists, photographers and designers can unwittingly provide huge files, which will drag you down in search ranking and page load times.

Your website is not the place for images many thousands of pixels wide & tall saved at the best quality. Shave the bytes and use the right sized image, saved somewhere in between medium and best (as low as you can go without sacrificing quality).

Then run it through an image optimizer like https://tinyjpg.com/ to shrink the file size even further. Highly recommend.

Stay away from the Dark Side of Black Hat SEO

There are so many solicitors who will try to sell you SEO services, and I'd advise you to stay away from most of them. It's a battle between which type of salesman can annoy you more, SEO slingers or Credit Card Processors. Stay away Black Hat Practices and if you do invest in SEO services make sure you do your research to determine if they are using credible practices. Search Engines are always reconfiguring the algorithm to try and unrank spammy sites. So if your site gets a boost from unethical practices, consider it temporary.

While Links are still very valuable to the current state of SEO, particularly from trustworthy sites, but it’s not just you got them or nah situation anymore. It's 2018 and the binary is dead. Search Engines are taking into account to some degree social signals (sharing on social media) & while social alone won't get your site to rank, it is a correlated factor. 

A lot of sites have blogs for SEO purposes, I personally think it can be very good in that regards if you post consistently. Keep your expectations reasonable, because SEO is a long term strategy.

 

There's so much more that can be said about the subject, so here are some good resources to get deeper into it.

Moz https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo

A in-depth guide for marketing https://moz.com/blog/the-noob-guide-to-online-marketing-with-giant-infographic-11928

Search Engine Land https://searchengineland.com/