Photographs are a great tool commonplace to the website design process. They help tell a story, visually articulate your message, even align your design with a given audience. But while they can provide an excellent source of visual interest and branding, photographs in website design can be a crutch that leaves your site limping across the finish line in the race to Page 1 of Google search.
Search engine optimization (SEO) rankings are determined partly by evaluation of the most efficient site design as a function of user-experience. When photos are ill-used in website design, they can hurt a user’s experience. From aesthetics to photo specifications, photos can hurt your website’s rankings if you don’t use them correctly. Avoid these four problems when designing with photos online and you’ll go a long way toward the kind of SEO success that nurtures a business’ growth.
- Using Photos That Are Too Large: In 2015, Adobe reported findings of a survey that suggested 39% of people stop engaging with a website if its images don’t load or take too long to load. It creates a poor user experience, for obvious reasons. Large file sizes will take longer to load, particularly when the file is much larger than needed. Most photos are indeed larger in file size necessary to display the photos as they are used on the site. Try compressing photo sizes before you upload them to your website and avoid the hassle of painful Google rankings drops.
- Using Text in Photos: Text is a most valuable SEO tool for website designers seeking to incorporate SEO management techniques into their design strategy. The problem with embedding text directly into photos is the text is not read by Google algorithms, only by website visitors. That doesn’t help your SEO ranking. Place the text over your image in a layer over the photo or adjacent to it and you’ll get the benefit of search ranking potency when that text includes industry keywords.
- Not Implementing Alt Title or Metadata: Alt or Alternate Title and Meta-titles, descriptions and captions all support high search engine rankings when used appropriately. But the fact is many website designers upload their photos without including any metadata what-so-ever. So photos go without any optimization at all. Photos add alternate media to a website, and that’s great for SEO, but when metadata are added to your photos, and when that metadata is an honest description of the photo’s elements, that will support good search rankings. Just be careful not to game the system by adding unrelated keywords to your photos. If the text does not accurately reflect the photo, your site can get penalized for spam. And that is a headache you just don’t want.
- Utilizing Too Many Photos and Not Incorporating Graphics into Your Design: Aesthetics mean everything to design, so forgetting the basics can simply be an enthusiasm killer for your users. Employing too many photos on your website simply constitutes clutter, and who wants that? And when you add too many photos and not enough graphics, you lose balance in your design. Keep the photos to a minimum and avoid a lackluster design that sends visitors packing the minute they get a good look at your site. Remember, bounce rates can hurt your site’s ranking as quickly anything else.
If you would like to work with Proctor Digital strategists to develop an effective, modern website design optimized for conversion and growth, call us at 773.664.5819. We’d love to help!