Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Four Steps to Optimizing Non-Text Website Content

So much fuss was made about optimizing website text for search engines that it took a while before people started applying the same SEO concepts to non-text content. In fact, optimizing graphics and other non-wordiness may be more important to search engine rankings.

Long blocks of text still exist on the web, but what would you rather do, read a long blog or watch a video with cool effects? If you chose the video, you’re in good company. Unfortunately, many site owners aren’t doing everything they can to optimize these website elements. To reach the highest ranking possible, take these four steps.

Optimize Tags and Descriptions
Google’s algorithms can now distinguish relevant content from keyword stuffing. So have readers, for that matter, so you can no longer use the same word five times in one paragraph. Content tags and descriptions can optimize your site without making it looking obnoxious.

Instead of flooding your product description with the keyword contractor software, use it in descriptions and tags of photos on your site. However, don’t just write a bunch of tags — write a description you might share with a friend or colleague.

Change File Names
Most photos and videos are saved with a random string of numbers and letters, which mean nothing to search engines. Google and other sites look at file names along with tags and descriptions, so rename your files before publishing.

Think of your file name as a summary of your description. A video of a lecture from a physics professor could be named “Physics Professor Lecture.” There’s no length limit, as long as the name includes keywords and accurately describes the piece of media.

Use Simple Domain Names and URLs
Do the URLs on your web pages read like gobbledy-gook, or could you read them and know exactly what’s on the page? Descriptive URLs help search engines find you, and they help visitors find the information they’re looking for on your site.

Two basic rules apply to rewriting URLs. First, put your chosen keywords near the beginning of the name; search engines weight the first words more heavily than the last. Second, don’t make the name too long. Shorter names are easier for users and search engine spiders to work with.  

Choose the Right Formats
Search engines value certain content formats more than others. If you’re posting videos and photos that aren’t in a Google-supported format, the algorithms may ignore them altogether. Before publishing your content, convert it to a search engine-friendly program.

Most image and video editors allow you to export files into other formats. For instance, Photoshop saves photos in a PSD format, which Google doesn’t read, so export your file to a more compatible JPEG format. Also, keep the file small; faster downloads mean higher rankings.

Your website won’t be fully optimized until you manage every piece of it, including non-text elements like those listed above.

Adrienne Erin is a social media marketer and avid blogger who writes regularly for Search Engine People and SiteProNews.

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