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Balancing Image & Text for Best SEO Results

     
7:47 pm on Oct 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 9 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4966830.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 7:40 am on Oct 26, 2019 (utc -5)


I seem to be making a slow recovery after being hit so hard in September. Seems to happen to my site a lot, an update happens, I get whacked, and then I see a slow improvement.

Can I just ask, do people use a lot of images on content? I am a huge image user, because I like my content to be visual, so say I'm writing about 10 foods unicorns love, I would add an image for each of the ten foods. But I'm wondering if this may be causing issues.
8:05 pm on Oct 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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browndog + my website is very image heavy, It took literally months to resize 5000 pics to less than 400px, add alt txt for the visually impaired and then compress them all. I definitely saw an improvement after I had done it, both on load speed and indexing.
8:06 pm on Oct 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@browndog Readers usually prefer more visual content (depending on the topic, of course) but you have to balance that with load time. Lots of (large) images will slow things down quite a bit, so you'll want to leverage lazy load, cdn, caching, properly sizing images, etc. if that's the route you plan to take.
8:39 pm on Oct 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My images are resized to 650 px wide, I have lazy load and a plugin (can't remember the name) which compresses the images. I asked my 16 year old daughter if she was looking for info on a particular dog breed she loves, would she like to see a page with 5-10 cute photos along with the text and she said 'I don't care, I just click on the first result'. For me personally, because I am very visual, I love content with lots of images...where relevant. But of course it does impact load time, even when I do do everything possible to optimise.

Alt text is on all images, and I try to be descriptive without being spammy. So instead of 10 images which say 'unicorn', I'll describe it as 'brown unicorn in a meadow', 'blue unicorn with her baby' etc.
9:15 pm on Oct 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Sorry mods I don't want to be off topic but do want to reply browndog + my pics were 650px so I resized them again as they were fit for purpose 3 years ago but not now .
9:35 pm on Oct 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@TeressaD

Good point about compression of pictures but again trust me will not help with converting traffic we did massive work to load under 1 second and there was no change in conversions.
You said it already it is all about smart bidding. For AI it matters not to break the Adwords formula and buyer traffic goes to ?
10:14 pm on Oct 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"It took literally months to resize 5000 pics to less than 400px, add alt txt for the visually impaired and then compress them all."


@TeresaD Sorry, as a developer I have to ask why it took you months to perform the work that a program like Photoshop and a little PHP could do in minutes?
10:16 pm on Oct 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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mosxu + I have moved my site so waited over 24 hours for DNS propagation, but did see in GA that the bots were coming from the sitemap when my site was down and all loading 2 pages, a category and a product.

I have set up a new shopping campaign based on the new URL's and not smart bidding but manual. I will see what happens and compare it to the last campaign.

I am laughing at load in 1 second our wifi is so rubbish we would probably be suspicious if it loaded that fast.
10:20 pm on Oct 25, 2019 (gmt 0)

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steffanlv + I did it manually, I use a CMS that is not wordpress so have no access to php or plug ins (I did photoshop in my degree and it hates me as much as I hate it I use Irfanview and Gimp)
9:33 am on Oct 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@TeressaD

How fast is your prodct page loading with test my site with google?

[edited by: goodroi at 12:43 pm (utc) on Oct 26, 2019]
[edit reason] thread formatting [/edit]

1:06 pm on Oct 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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mosxu + I load in 4 seconds since I did the images which is very fast for Ireland. Our wifi providers are rubbish so non of us expect sites to load instantly and are used to practically dial up speeds on 3g and 4g.
11:03 pm on Oct 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for splitting this into a new topic.

How many images do you think is too many? Right now, I am writing a post which lists eight 'widgets' and their impact on 'unicorns'. Everybody reading the article will know what each widget looks, usually, I would still include a widget under each header...ie; blue widget, pic of a blue widget, red widget, pic of red widget. But is eight widget photos, as well as the image at the start of the topic too much?

Once again, I am a visual person, and find all text and no images to be stark, but other people may prefer plain text for speed.
3:49 am on Oct 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Number of images depends on the topic ... and how much you want to share FOR THAT ARTICLE/PRODUCT.

I keep things down to 4 images above the ordinary (headers, logos, etc) to keep fast loads, and also because there is the OTHER side of image ... too many pictures and you lose your READER. The person seeking INFO ...

Pick and chose.

Pictures work, too many pictures works against you.
.
3:56 am on Oct 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Also pic size makes a difference ... sometimes a small thumb does more than a big one.
12:47 pm on Oct 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The reason it too me so many months was because I cropped out as much white space as I could, resized them to over 250px for Google shopping but under 350px for load speed. Not all of my images are the same size so I could not do it in bulk.

I put them all on a white background with no extra "noise" or text.

I also retook a lot of them as when I first got the light box I spent a lot of time fighting with it but can now take better quality images.

I paid $20 for a years subscription to compress the images in bulk once I had optimised them, it was the best money I ever spent.

Instead of putting extra widget images on the product page I moved them to related products but not sure if that will work for an info site?

I had to find a compromise between desktop and mobile, as 2/3 of my customers use mobile and can expand the image if they click on it I went for smaller images on the desktop, my optimum size is 300-320px wide.
4:28 pm on Oct 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I could write pages and pages of advice and recommendations however I'm not going to since it would takes hours however I did post this in 2009 under my previous moniker, message #3963173 - 4th message down:

[webmasterworld.com...]

I have thousands of pages with images yet I still try to adhere to the principal I created in the 90s of a maximum page weight of 100K, they loaded fast then and with today's connections they are instantaneous even on slower mobile connections.

Two major observations / experiences I have about images and clicking through to larger images.

1. In general SEs seem to prefer a fresh page with that larger image plus all its relevant details.

2. I really like using Lightbox and it is a very simple and very efficient way of displaying just a few image enlargements or even a lot of images creating a gallery HOWEVER, in general, whilst images using Lightbox can sometimes rank in the image SERPs, very rarely will they rank in the regular SERPs.

Just trust me on this, I have experiemented with hundreds of thousands of images, more likely millions, over the past 25 years and whilst a Lightbox image may occasionally rank in both SERPs it is absolutely nothing that can be predicted nor relied upon, a dedicated page is still the only way to go even if one only completes the title bar, description, H1 and a little on-page text.

I hope that helps.
1:14 am on Oct 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It is, after all, content that is king ... and that's usually WORDS not images.
5:38 am on Oct 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thanks everyone, it's great to hear your insights.

I guess for me, I love images, but not everybody is like me. I wrote a new post today, and it has an image at the top, but no other images (it doesn't actually need them for this topic), and it looks really stark to me. But I am leaving it alone!
10:14 am on Oct 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If you look at the blog on <snip>, you will see that they use a sh*t ton of images. The blog also ranks for some of the most competitive search terms in the SEO sphere. So, I'm pretty sure that your use of images should not be the reason your pages are not performing. Unless, of course, you don't accompany the images with enough written content.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:41 am (utc) on Oct 28, 2019]
[edit reason] Removed domain specifics, per forum Charter [/edit]

11:24 am on Oct 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It is, after all, content that is king ... and that's usually WORDS not images.


Ok, I am going to reveal a very important piece of SEO information insofar as images are concerned and their importance to a page's subject and content.

A page with 3-4 images should always out-rank an identical page with only one image and not just by a couple of places, I mean much, much higher.

It's up to anyone whether they want to believe that or not however once you have proven that for yourself don't tell everyone else!
1:23 pm on Oct 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The amount and size of images can't be a "one template fits all".

If a section of text benefits from accompanying images, then I would never think to leave visual aids out. Think of an instruction manual. Aren't the images helpful!

@browndog If you're talking about an animal, i's the picture that grabs the reader and makes them feel. Think of any commercial for animal adoption and anti-cruelty.

I add images of 2000 + px if I'm detailing a product. Especially, with the increased resolution of modern screens. If my article is about getting into the details of a "how-to" or "product", I want the viewer to see the details I'm describing. Not a low-res pixelated visual that keeps people wondering and confused.

If speed and bandwidth is a concern, then the details on how to improve that with a CDN, lazyload, etc. were already mentioned.
10:53 pm on Oct 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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As with most things, it depends. For a how-to piece, images can be extremely useful. Take a page about rolling out pie crust, fixing a faucet, changing the hard drive in your computer, or buying transit tickets from a vending machine. Why wouldn't you include an image for each step?
11:41 pm on Oct 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The question was images v seo ... and images aren't that easy to "seo" ... text is ...

Find the sweet spot of how many images are required to MAKE THE CONTENT (words) shine and go from there.

Pics alone will not elevate your seo strategies, but having a bunch will make g and other image display sites very happy so they can KEEP visitors on THEIR sites.*

*and the copycat ripper thieves will love you all the more!
2:07 pm on Oct 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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and images aren't that easy to "seo" ... text is ...

And used correctly that's why one should use the title attribute for the image, the titlebar in the head plus the meta description, get all three to marry up to the page's subject and you're onto a winner, using three different lots of mixed or non-specific text and the page is much less likely to succeed ... However with G nothing is a certainty since it quite often ranks stuff well for apparently absolutely no reason whatsoever.
12:29 pm on Oct 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just for the record, the example I was linking to above was [snip]. Not sure why it got removed but I think it's a good example of a successful blog using tons of images if you want to check it out.

[edited by: phranque at 1:46 pm (utc) on Oct 31, 2019]
[edit reason] [webmasterworld.com...] [/edit]

12:44 pm on Oct 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The question was images v seo…

I was under the impression, "too many images may be hurting site speed and therefore SEO rankings?"

and images aren't that easy to "seo" ... text is ...

As redbar touched on, images have plenty of…and I would argue, are easy… options to include text and help with SEO, including alt text and recently the push for better schema markup.
3:40 pm on Oct 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I was under the impression, "too many images may be hurting site speed and therefore SEO rankings?"

We can only guess how much weight Google gives to page speed, or where the breakpoint is for "slow enough to impact search rankings."

Also, no factor (including page speed) exists in isolation. You could make your pages load faster by having only images the size of postage stamps or, better yet, no images at all. But how would that affect user satisfaction? Let's say, for example, that you have a fashion site, a recipe site, a car-review site, or a travel site. If your pages look like excerpts from academic papers, searchers are likely to bounce back to the SERP (which tells the search engine that your page isn't a good result for the query).

IMO, "use in moderation" is a good rule of thumb. Depending on your topic, it may be important to provide a satisfying visual experience, but that doesn't mean your images have to be huge or that you need to save JPEGs at 100 percent.