The Value of Using High Quality Images
The internet is a highly visual medium where information can be easily communicated at a glance because of its ability to mix the variety of formats that it displays. Images make up an important part of every website and they are much more useful than their decorative value alone. Used well, high quality images can add value to your website for both customers and the search engines at the same time. Choosing the right images is crucial to creating a successful website.
The main quality that separates a good image from a poor image is clarity. A good image will be instantly recognizable for what it is and a great picture will show it off well enough so that you will want to buy one. So many websites have a great design but the mediocre product photography detracts from it. Just as with print catalogs, it is worth the investment to have good photographs and quality artwork to show off your products in their best light. Good quality images not only help to create an attractive website, they also contribute to improving SEO when they are used to their fullest potential. Part of what search engines consider when ranking an image in the SERPs is how many links and shares it has generated, because it takes a human eye to separate the quality of different images; in many instances, a good image will rank higher on this basis alone.
When you have chosen your best set of images, there are a couple of things to consider when you are ready to use them. The size and the resolution of the image will affect how well they will work on the web. An image may look great when it is displayed largely on the screen, but when it is reduced to the size that it will be shown on your web page, all of the detail might become unclear. If your image isn’t clear when it is displayed as a thumbnail that is 160×120 or 160×160 pixels, then it may not be the best shot to use because it won’t look right on Facebook or Digg. Resolution, though related to size, is more about the size in bytes of the image. In short, the higher the resolution, the greater the number of dots per inch, or pixels, and the image can hold more detail. On the internet, images are viewed on a screen with a resolution of 72dpi, so images exceeding that resolution are adding to their number of bytes without gaining anything for it. Because the iPad has a screen resolution of 132 dpi, it is becoming common to use that as a new benchmark for image resolution on the web, but the visual difference is negligible.
Part of the value of having good, legible images on your website is the positive effect that they have on SEO. Because spiderbots can’t actually look at an image, Google Images ranks pictures in its SERPs by evaluating some of their related qualities. Make sure that the file name and the title of the picture both mention your keyword. Add descriptive Alt text to the image, making it crystal clear to the crawlers what the picture is of. It can also be good to link the image to some anchor text in the website to create an internal link and it is important to link it to text that describes the picture well. Because images are commonly shared on social media sites and recycled on other websites make sure to embed links to your website in the image so that when it is shared on Facebook or added to someone’s Pinterest boards it is still a direct link to your website.