How to Optimise Images and Videos for The Web

How to Optimise Images and Videos for The Web

So, you have videos and images embedded on your site. They are tweaked to provide excellent content and great information.

This is great.  Especially, if you have heard the news about images and videos converting better than any other medium.

It’s true.

They do.

But there is a catch – search engines are not tailored to interpret and understand multi-media as easy as they process text.

As it relates to videos, this is where YouTube comes into the equation when seeking rankings on Google.  YouTube is owned by Google so they will rank these properties well on their search engine.

When they do, they check textual content that comes with the video rather than the video itself.  Yes, there are some things that they look for as it relates to the video but it is textual based details that they are after.

Images are a different topic as we will discover during the rest of this article.

Before proceeding, it is worth noting that web pages with videos and no text are read as blank pages. This is because search engines cannot process or parse this kind of content in the same way that they do related details.

That said, it is much easier to optimise text and get ranked for specific keywords. With regards to videos and images, you need to follow some basic techniques to ensure that search engines can understand what they are about.

Not doing so will be a tremendous disadvantage for your marketing efforts.

6 Ways to Optimise Images for the Web


optimise images for the web


Before we continue, it is important to note that some of the following advice will work for pictures and some for videos.  Further, the way that everything interacts together can be different between the two forms of media.

As with any organic marketing, it is not recommended to expect results overnight.  To be found on the search engines takes time, commitment and consistency.  That is how your steepest competitors arrived there, and that is how you will be able to do so too.

That said, let’s take a close look at six image and video optimisation strategies that will drive your project to the top of search if you stick to it.  It is a long-term strategy, but one that works well once you arrive.

1. Alt Tags


These tags are at the heart of any image/video. This tag informs search engines what the visual content is about. Use tags like:

<img src=”health-awareness.jpg” alt=”Health Awareness”/>

The result will be a tiny window that opens when the image is scrolled over.  Given the above example, that window will read “Health Awareness”.

While using these tags, ensure you describe what the media is about – your contextual representation of it.  Your best bet is to use a short, flowing, meaningful and user-friendly combination of words within creating your tag.

Examples include Nikon camera DSLR, white shoes from Gucci, and Diani Beach sunrise.


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2. Optimise Images File Name


You should use short and meaningful names for your files. Keywords added to the file names will make a world of difference. This is because search engines consider alt tags and file names to understand what the visual content is about.

If your media is from a stock library, it likely has some reference number (i.e. 506292) which isn’t going to do you a great deal of good.  Changing the file name to reflect the keyword targeted for that page can mean a world of difference in how your page is optimised for the search engines.

NOTE:  If the media being added is not an actual piece of the content being delivered (i.e. a fancy bullet point) then naming these properties can be detrimental to your success with ranking the same. 

In such cases as these, you want to number the media (i.e. 1.jpg) so that Google understands that you are not attempting to use this property to receive search engine ranking ‘points'.


3. Description, Caption and Surrounding Text


how to optimise images is a powerful online tool for reducing drastically the size of your images and photos whilst maintaining a high quality with almost no difference before and after compression.


As far as possible, ensure you include short captions of the videos and images in one or two sentences. If you can work in a short paragraph of what the image is about, include it. The textual content will optimise videos and pictures on your website.

Search engines consider surrounding text as a high signal while evaluating the relevance and usefulness of visual content. They also consider surrounding text and captions to be in correlation with the video/image in question.


4. Page Title


The title of the web page will go a long way in helping both pictures and video rank well on the search engines. This is because it is the primary signal the search engines will use while defining the usage and purpose of a web page.

To this end, if the page title is about oranges and you have added a photo with no alt tag or description, search engines will assume that the picture is related to oranges.

You should use page titles that define the purpose of that page – and not just the meaning of the image itself.  The tighter that you niche all related properties together the greater power you will receive from search engines as it relates to rankings.


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In case your site has an extensive collection of pages with videos and images only and no textual content, ensure that you set up a great commenting system. Then, encourage people to take part in it.

A Facebook comment box or a Disqus comment engine will work out.  I would also recommend investigating SumoMe, especially if using the ever so popular WordPress technology.

When users are commenting, they will talk about that image, describe it, and praise it. This way, you will get more textual content on the page – and search engines will better understand the visual content.

When you receive a comment on your site be sure to respond to it given that it is not a spam content.  This will create a website strategy that search engines pay attention to because they love seeing engagement taking place.

Search engines also pay attention to how interactive you are with the comments being left.  Do you reply to visitor feedback on your posts?  Are you sending a strong social marketing signal?

If these types of answers are not yes, then there is trouble brewing which can be avoided by becoming more interactive with your audience.

When you provide this two-way street to interaction with your visitor’s search engine will pay attention to you and what you are doing on the web in a positive light.  That focus leads to better rankings which translate into higher earnings, and in my opinion that is not just a good thing to know, it’s great.


6. Image Sitemaps


Use such image sitemap generators as XENU to create image sitemaps of the website. You can, after that, add the sitemap to your Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Webmaster Tools accounts.

Like regular XML or HTML sitemaps, the image sitemap helps search engines discover and learn more about the pictures you have embedded deep in your site.  The more you empower the search engines to do their job the more they will reward you in the form of increased rankings.


optimise images


Concluding Image and Video Optimization Thoughts


In conclusion, videos and images provide great content for your viewers.  This is a visual world we live in.

Yes, people will read what you must write.  Even so, if they can look at a single multimedia display and see what you are saying without knowing the result will likely be an increase of traffic generated.

I recommend learning how to increase the viewer count to your website by following the above ideas.  One of the best ways to do that is by marketing your media content.  The best WordPress plugin that I know of for doing exactly this would be SumoMe.

Along with a plethora of other ways of increasing social awareness for a site including integrated social share and eMail list building, they offer the ability for people to share images with Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in a single click.

This, of course, would increase the power of media marketing strategies.  The bottom line is that if you do not take just a little time to optimise visuals that are presented in the form of images and videos on your website, then you are your worst enemy when it comes to organic ranking strategies.

To that end, I recommend integrating the strategies listed above as how to optimise images online and videos to gain the best results on the search engines with your media marketing efforts.

As you stay focused on carrying these strategies out you will be able to watch as your blog and or website takes on an increased amount of niche targeted traffic.



Author Bio: Wendy Williams is an experienced online marketer and a regular trade show attendee. She enjoys helping brands make their mark on the digital world and the real one. You can find her online: @williams_wendy1

  • Abegail Louise Acosta says:

    Great for a newbie like me! I am working in a professional website development company since last week. Thank you for sharing.

  • J. Cornier says:

    Would it be possible to explain the differences between HTML and XML in web design work? I think it would make for a helpful followup article. 🙂

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