It's a good idea to use images to break up the text in your blog posts. A sea of text is boring and make your post difficult to digest. Not only do images help to enhance your article, they can also help with your SEO.
Another good reason to use images is that when someone shares your post on social media, one of your images will appear in the share and this will make it more visually appealing, which mean people are more likely to click on it.
1. Use quality images
They don't need to cost you anything either. For a list of free stock images site check out this article here: 15 sites where you can find quality free stock photos.
2. File name
Search engines can't see images. If you want them to understand what your images are about, you need to change two things: the file name and what's called the alternative text.
Let's look at file name first. If you take photos with your digital camera or your phone, the images will have generic file names like dsc3459.jpg. Stock images may have file names like stock-image-1234567.jpg. Such file names don't tell search engines anything about your images. Before you upload an image to your blog, change the file name to something relevant. For example, if your post is about smoothie recipes, you should change the file name to something like smoothie-recipes.jpg.
3. Alt text
Google places a relatively high value on alt texts to determine what is on the image, and also to determine the topic of surrounding text. The Alt Text is also shown if the image cannot be shown to the viewer for any reason, for example, if they have turned off images in their web browser or are using a screen reader due to a visual impairment. If you use WordPress, you'll have the opportunity to specify the Alternative Text field when you upload your image. On the right hand side of the image grid, look for a text box next to Alt Text. Make sure this is descriptive and, for SEO purposes, include your keyword phrase. In this example below, the alt text is set to "smoothie recipes".
If you want to add or change alt texts for images you have already uploaded, you can do so by locating the image in your media library and entering the alt text there.
4. Don't upload oversized images
One thing I often see is, for example, a 3000px wide image, with a file size of several megabytes, being scaled down to 800px in a blog post, and taking forever to load. Not only will this increase the likelihood of your visitors getting impatient and leaving your site, slow page load also affects SEO so it's important your site loads quickly. If you want to show a 600px image, upload a 600px image. If you don't have a graphics program you can use, there's a plugin called Smush It that will allow you to optimise your images at the time of upload.
Are you currently optimising images for your blog posts? Do you make use of relevant file names and alt texts? Post a comment below.