As a charity, it’s important to minimise costs where possible to leave more funds to put towards the things that matter most. One way nonprofits can cut their advertising costs without compromising on results is to master search engine optimisation (SEO) – and within this is SEO image optimisation.
Whilst SEO can take time to perfect, it’s worth it in the long run. Not only is it free, it helps to enhance your credibility, increases reach and awareness & has an impressive conversion rate – to name just a few!
What is SEO image optimisation for charities?
Just as you want your charity’s fundraising event posters to nab a prime position in the real world, in the digital world you’ll want your event marketing materials, fundraising images and relevant awareness assets to secure the top spot for relevant Google searches. Cue SEO image optimisation.
Just like regular SEO for nonprofits, image optimisation will help your charity to increase its reach, raise awareness and drive action from a relevant audience. And for no additional cost. But what can you do to ensure your charity’s images are shown to the right audience at the right time?
Key SEO image optimisation terms
Before we dive into the tips, let’s get to grips with some of the SEO lingo you’re likely to come across.
- Alt text: image alt text (sometimes referred to as alt tags or descriptions) is used to describe an image and help the visually impaired and search engines to understand visual content. It’s also what you’ll see in place of an image that fails to load – think slow-loading sites or emails.
- Title text: used to provide additional information about an image to users but is not explicitly used by the search engines.
- File names: whilst it can be tempting to stick with image file names such as “Header image.jpg”, it pays to make your text relevant to your content. You don’t need to go overboard here, just a couple of words that describe the subject of your picture will do.
5 SEO image optimisation tips for charities
#1 Size matters
If you’ve read our ultimate guide to SEO for charities, you’ll know page load time is a key ranking factor used by search engines. For this very reason, it’s crucial to compress and resize your images. So let’s break it down.
Resizing your images is crucial for load time. Why? Even though it may be set to display at 450×600 pixels, if you’ve uploaded a 4500×6000 pixels image, this will still have to load – so save time & stick with the display size. Tools such as Photopea and Canva allow you to quickly & easily scale your images for free and with no software download required!
Now it’s time to compress your scaled images. In essence, this means reducing the file size without compromising on quality. There are plenty of free tools available online, including TinyPNG, TinyJPG and Compressor.io.
As we’ve mentioned above: a smaller image size doesn’t mean lower image quality. Users are far more likely to engage with high-quality images, so ensure your visuals are sharp and on-brand. To help you out, here are two of the most commonly used image file types with ideas of when they should be used:
- JPEG: if you are uploading larger visuals to your site, you’ll generally want to ensure they are in JPEG format, as this retains clarity whilst minimising the file size
- PNG: as the PNG file size is larger, you’ll want to try and stick with JPEG format for photos, but for smaller visuals such as logos & icons along with assets requiring transparent backgrounds, this is the ideal choice
#2 Don’t leave it to the imagination
They say the right picture paints a thousand words, so finding a few to describe your image should be no problem, right? Since search engine crawlers use file names and alt text to analyse and interpret your images, including relevant keywords can help put them in front of the right people at the right time. But the key word here is relevant. You should only use keywords if and when appropriate – the main aim is to describe your image to make it more accessible for all, so as with any area of SEO, keyword stuffing is a big no.
Image credit: Google
#3 Optimise for mobile
If you’ve been putting off optimising your site for mobile, we’ve got news for you: 55% of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. That’s right, over half making it the most popular way to access the internet- and it’s only set to increase as the younger generations take over! So what can you do to ensure your charity’s images are mobile-ready?
- Resize images appropriately
- Compress images
- Work on building a responsive website for your charity to ensure content is displayed effectively on mobile devices
You can put your site to the test with Google’s free mobile-friendly test software.
#4 Put it on the map
It’s best practice to include images on your charity’s sitemap. This will essentially help Google to discover images by providing URLs directly. You can choose whether to add your images to your charity’s existing site map or create an entirely new one specifically for images. To learn more about image sitemaps, check out Google’s latest guidelines here.
#5 Give it some context
When uploading images to your charity’s website, you’ll generally want to incorporate them into a relevant blog post or landing page. Why? By embedding images into relevant body text you’ll be providing context and ensuring you not only drive a higher volume of traffic to your site, but that it’s the right audience too.
But take note – it’s never advisable to add images for the sake of SEO. At the end of the day, Google prioritises sites that value user experience, so always consider whether it will add value and how relevant it really is. And top tip: original content (both text and images) is favoured by search engines, so ensure to make use of your own photos or create relevant visuals where possible.
The key thing to remember when optimising your charity’s images for SEO is that it’s all about the user. If you keep the above principles in mind and work with images to enhance your user experience, you won’t go too far wrong. For more help with your charity’s SEO, get in touch to organise a free consultation or head to our case studies page to see our work in action.