Search engine optimisation or SEO is the practice of making your website visible online in the unpaid search engine results. We have written many articles on the best practices for SEO but have you ever considered what role the images on your website play in driving traffic and generating bookings? Optimising images for search is often overlooked and we believe hoteliers are missing out on huge opportunities to win in organic search. We all know the expression ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, well in this case a picture could be worth a thousand euro if used correctly.
So read our 7 top tips to optimise your images today!
1. Choose Your Website Imagery Carefully
Alongside price, location and guest reviews, images play a significant role in the browsing stage of the online booking process. Therefore, you should aim to wow visitors to your site with attractive imagery of your property and facilities, including any new or unique features. Considering both UX and SEO, original photography vs stock imagery is best where possible. Too much stock imagery won’t help your SEO, making it difficult to stand out from competitors. You can also run the risk of copyright infringement if you do not correctly source or reference stock photography. Do your research when it comes to investing in photography, as high-quality images help to tell the story of your property.
2. Categorise Your Website Images
When sourcing and optimizing photography for your website, make sure that your chosen images are topical and relevant to the page. For example, for Accommodation pages, ensure all images showcase hotel rooms and room facilities, while the Dining section of the site should provide quality imagery of bars, restaurants, etc. Individual image galleries, such as a Wedding Gallery page, can also be effective in building engagement on your hotel site.
3. Make Your Image File Names SEO-Friendly
By default, digital photography often follows a numerical naming convention, resulting in file names with little or no relevance to the image subject. When uploading images to your site, we often mistakenly take the easy option of making bulk uploads directly from a device. However, for SEO best practice, it is crucial to assign descriptive names to images files, with important keywords in the titles.
4. Optimise Image Dimensions & File Size
When file sizes are too heavy, this can slow down your site speed which has a negative impact on user experience and SEO. Large image files should be compressed where possible, without compromising on image quality. Ensure you have edited images to the appropriate dimensions required for where they will sit on your website. For instance, for large background images on the homepage, choose a high quality image with adequate proportions, avoiding any blurry or distorted imagery. Remember, you don’t have to be a digital photography expert to optimize your photos for your website. There are various free online tools which allow you to perform simple image compression and graphic design tasks easily and quickly. For image compression we would recommend a tool such as Tiny PNG and for quick and easy graphic design Canva.
5. Optimise Images for Mobile
Whether you have opted for a fully responsive website or a mobile app template, it is crucial to ensure that images are optimized for mobile experience. The growth of mobile is a widespread trend, not just in the hotel industry. Increasingly, people are performing searches and completing bookings on their mobile device. While a landscape image of your property on the homepage might be ideal for the desktop version of your site, does it still have the same impact on mobile?
6. Write SEO-Friendly Alt Text
The Alt Text attribute (or image alt tag) is a snippet of text used to describe the contents of an image file, so that search engines can crawl and index images online. Each image on your site should have unique alt text with a concise description that tells the user exactly what is in the photo. From a usability perspective, this is crucial to ensure that the site is accessible to individuals who are unable to view images themselves and use screen readers to help them interact independently online. Furthermore, investing time in updating alt tags is beneficial to your SEO strategy, as this can help your site gain better rankings in image search, by optimizing with relevant keywords.
7. Optimise PDFs for Search Engines
Adding pdf files to your hotel website can be a great way of providing additional resources and information about your facilities and services, such as restaurant menus and wedding packages. However, content contained within pdfs and images may not be downloadable on certain devices, or can be difficult to read. For content that you want to rank well in organic search, it is advisable to add this content directly to a page on the site rather than confining to a pdf document. If necessary, you can have both the content and the downloadable PDF available on the page. PDFs should follow the usual SEO best practices when it comes to file size and naming convention. Additionally, all PDFs should open in a new tab or window, to avoid disrupting the user’s session on the site.
Images play an important role in organic search performance but are often overlooked as part of the overall SEO strategy. However, while image SEO uptake is slow among hoteliers, this presents a strong opportunity for your hotel website to get ahead.
Simple tweaks to your image files and galleries can help you strengthen the overall SEO health of your website and potentially gain a competitive edge in search engine results.