So, why do images matter in product reviews?
Well, the web is now far more image driven than it was a few years ago – and it’s not only because our attention spans have been shortened by using the internet. Images make posts look more attractive, and, therefore, make them more shareable.
Today when we discuss content development that has the potential to go viral, we’re talking about visual content rather than just words.
Now, it can be easy to get hung up on creating “perfect” images for your posts, but you need to create your visual content with the same authenticity that you use in your writing.[!–more–]
If you have a smartphone, you can just use your phone to take the pictures. It doesn’t need to be “high art”. Images of you using a product are going to be more interesting to your readers than stock photography. And, to top it off, images add additional SEO benefits.
If you can’t take photos yourself, there are plenty of places to get royalty free images – just be careful. Whatever you do, don’t just do a Google image search and use photos you find – that’s a fast way to potential legal action against you.
Photo Best Practices and Optimization
Images can generate a ton of traffic, so you can imagine that optimizing your images is a smart way to get your site found. So how do you make sure your images are properly optimized?
Use Google Supported Image Formats
This includes BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, WebP or SVG only. However, by far the best are JPG and PNG; these not only work the best with most internet providers, they also work well on mobile.
Use Filenames That Also Describe the Image
Search engines look at your file names while crawling your site, so making sure the name is relevant to your review and the product is another great SEO trick.
Don’t Leave the Alt Text Section Blank
When you upload an image to WordPress, you’ll see a line for “Alt Text” in the popup window. This is yet another opportunity to add in your context and keywords for SEO and is searched by the spiders. If you aren’t on WordPress, go into the code/text section and look for alt=”” and add your text in the “alt tag”. For instance, if the image is of the game, Cards Against Humanity, you would add those keywords in between the quotes like this: alt=”Cards Against Humanity”.
Provide Context for the Image in Your Post
If you include images, go ahead and address the picture in your post. For instance, you can say something like, “You can see my new favorite card game, Cards Against Humanity, in that picture on the left.”
Keep Your File Size Small
No, Google doesn’t technically care what size your images are – but they do care how long it takes your site to load. Huge, high-resolution images do not belong on your website unless you want folks to avoid coming to your site. Never upload a picture with a resolution above 72dpi (that’s dots per inch if you’re curious), and keep the dimensions under 800 pixels wide (600 pixels is better).
Use Descriptive Anchor Text When Linking To Images
If you link to an image, don’t simply say, “Take a look here” and link to the word “here.” Instead, say something like, “Check out my favorite card game, Cards Against Humanity!” and link to “Cards Against Humanity.” This amplifies your keywords even more.
Submit an Image Sitemap
An image sitemap helps Google understand your images better. You can learn more about sitemaps and how to create them, directly from Google.
Make Images Shareable On Social Media
Back in 2012 the eCommerce world was pretty shocked to realize that Pinterest – a social media site still new to the game back them – drove more traffic to retail sites than Facebook and Twitter combined. This has led to all of the various social networks becoming more image-driven, but those tricky buggers all have different ideal image sizes. For instance, a lovely vertical image with text on the picture will do well on Pinterest, but that same image will get awkwardly cropped on Facebook (and if you promote a post possibly penalized for having too much text).
Additionally, like all new technology, social media changes fast. The image sizes used today may not be the image sizes of tomorrow. For a quick reference guide to all the required image sizes for social media sharing, check out SproutSocial’s “Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Meida Image Sizes“, post.
I tend to go with a neat little workaround of using several images in a post of various sizes, so the image has prominence on the different social media sites.
Add Text to Images
So how do you add text to images? Well, if you’re a Photoshop aficionado, you already know. But if you aren’t, don’t worry – it’s very easy to add text using free photo editing sites like PicMonkey.
You can also use smartphone apps to add text to your photos simply and easily. I like Over.
Here are some image resources that I’ve used when I haven’t had ready access to Photoshop: