Image optimization – why is it essential and what you should do
Joomla doesn’t come as such SEO ready out of the box, and there are a lot of activities developers need to take care of to make your website come on top of the search engine results. There are a lot of discussions going on regarding ensuring the speed and performance by choosing an appropriate hosting service, renaming htaccess.txt, need for search engine friendly URLs, etc. Here, we will discuss one of an essential SEO tip of image optimization.
Do you optimize the images on your web pages?
This is the key question you need to ask any Joomla developer taking care of your website project or when you do it by yourself. Images are so important when it comes to web pages now with the specific options for the users to do image searches on the search engines. There is a higher chance to get listed on top if you have relevant and unique images on your website, and it can bring in plenty of traffic to your pages.
Joomla image optimization
If your website is already running on Joomla, there is a high likelihood that it is not image optimized to be crawled by the search engine spiders. In this article, we will explore how to do image optimization on Joomla sites.
As per the search engine optimization experts, one area which many of their clients can see quick and easy wins regarding SEO is image optimization, which now becomes increasingly important for any business sites.
Can image drive in traffic?
Images are considered important in SEO now as all search engines have included the feature of universal search results. Which have a higher click-through rate lately (almost 31% as per the reports). The importance of the images used varies based on the nature of your industry and that of your target group. Do you think of selling you latest fashion winter wear or a precious piece of ornament without optimizing images?
Images on Joomla sites
The content management system of Joomla CMS is not woven by default to make the best out of the website images you use. When goes in live, if you use to keep all the default setting of Joomla as such, then the search engines don’t index majority of your images loaded onto the web pages. You need to do a set of custom tasks to get the images optimized and made available on the search results.
Tactics to use
1. Robot.txt should be changed to allow the search engines access the image folders
While you install the Joomla CMS suite, the by-default creation of robots.txt file happens, which is hosted in the root directory of your server. This is the file which gives direction to the robots of search engines about which all files out there they can access. The default robots.txt file on Joomla informs the crawlers or search engine spiders not to access the index folders as temporary or the administrator folders. The instruction has also been given that the crawlers cannot index any content at the image folder.
As the folder of images is the default location to store all Joomla website pictures, this denial of the access result in the exclusion of image crawling on default Joomla sites, and thus these don’t get indexed by search engines. To solve this problem, developers need to simply edit the robots.txt file and remove the disallow tag from it. The same technique can be used to speed up your WordPress site too.
2. Image location
If you are adding images to blog articles or web pages, the default location usually on Joomla websites is like www.abcsample.com/images/stories/. This doesn’t seem to be an apt practice when it comes to optimization of images. While assessing the content of a website, the search engine crawlers usually examine various directories and file names of the content and site. The files which stay close to the site’s root are given priority. So, it is always ideal to keep your image folder as close as possible to the root.
So, you can always change the image location from the default setting of pictures/stories to simply an images/ folder. This can be done by the administrator on the backend.
First choose, Site – Global configuration – System – Media settings
- Then change directory to the Path to the Image Folder
Once if you changed it, the new images added later would get added to this new images folder closer to the root whenever you upload a new image.
3. ABC of image usage
- Always use appropriate images – Selection of appropriate images for the topic, content, and context of the page is necessary to do image optimization. Once on changing the robots.txt file and shifting the image location, you can have a more focused approach to optimization. E.g., A photo of an energetic elderly female on your plastic surgery service offerings page.
- Best file names – Filename of the image needed to be ideally the keyword or the key phrase you wanted to target. The naming protocol is to separate the phrases with hyphens.
- Create apt alt text for images and right title tags – Alt text is the text you assign to the picture posted. The search engine bots will not be able to read your image as a visual content but instead crawls the alt text to identify the purpose and context of the picture to list it against search engine queries. The title tag of the image also should contain the targeted keywords and phrases to get noticed.
To do this well, you can make use of the keyword research tool of Google. If is not a big issue even if the alt text and title tags don’t exactly match to the same keyword, but one should always ensure closely relevant keywords.
Along with these, there are many other tactics too you can use for image optimization. On Joomla, WordPress, or any other website making process, image optimization is a crucial aspect of on-page SEO. As with any other aspects of SEO, it is imperative for you to execute this task in a perfectly descriptive and accurate manner.