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Creating & Managing Content, Marketing Tips, WordPress

Boosting Website Performance with Multimedia

Humans are visual beings. We gravitate towards things that catch our eye. That rule of thumb is especially true for website design. That’s why we love to include images and other forms of multimedia on our websites and blog posts.

But did you know that when you include photos, artwork, embedded videos, music, and other multimedia you also improve the amount of time people stay on your site, increase the likelihood of social sharing, and boost your search engine rankings?

In this article, we’ll look at why you might want to use multimedia, how it improves your SEO, and how to do all of this properly within a WordPress website or blog.

Basic Uses of Multimedia

Multimedia comes in many forms. For the purposes of this article, we include in the definition things like photos and artwork, video, audio, animated graphics, PDFs, and other downloadable content.

There are a number of reasons you will want to include images and other media on your website. Here are the main reasons you might want to include media on your website:

  • Make the site more attractive. This goes without saying. Images and other media on your page can convey a sense of excitement and lure your reader deeper into your site.
  • Break up walls of text. It’s very challenging to read big blocks of text on a computer screen. When you drop in an image or a video, it helps to break things up, just like illustrations in a magazine.
  • Illustrate a point raised in the article. This is a great time to drop in an infographic or a video that explains how to do something,
  • Guide a reader or potential customer. Buttons and clickable images can help point people where you want them to go, including newsletter signups, additional content, or affiliate sales.
  • Provide a variety of content types. Not everyone wants to read long articles online. By including video and audio, you can offer up a different way to consume content. Images and infographics can convey ideas that words alone cannot. And, by including downloadable content, you allow people to take a bit of your website with you to consume later.

As you can see, multimedia plays an important and useful role in your website.

How Images Impact SEO

When someone types a search query into Google, the search engine goes out to find what it thinks is the most relevant content.

But what does “relevant” mean in this context? According to SEO experts at Moz, the algorithms are looking for the best combination of site popularity, keywords, internal and external links, location, and so forth. While keywords aren’t as powerful as they used to be, they are still one of the best ways content creators can help Google understand what the page is about.

When it comes to images, however, Google is blind. When you add a photo of your cat Scruffy, Google can’t tell what the photo is (at least not in 2019, though image recognition efforts continue).

What does this mean for you? Now you have the opportunity to teach Google something new!

Search engines like Google can read the title/file name of an image. Beyond that, Google can access meta description information located in the <title> and alt elements for an image as well as a caption. Alt-tag content is primarily meant to describe the image to someone who cannot see it, but it’s also an area where you can include a keyword or two.

All of these additional details you provide about your images will get indexed by Google. In addition to the text content, it will help the search engine determine your website’s relevance to a search query.

Images can also bring people to your site directly. When someone does a Google Image Search, the search engine will go looking for images on websites that relate to the search query. For example, if you include an image of a poodle on your doggie clothing e-commerce website and properly include keywords about the image, someone might find your image, check out your site, and decide that Princess needs a new sweater for winter.

Don’t Forget Other Media

When you include other media within the WordPress media library, such as videos or PDFs, you can treat them just like images in terms of the metadata that is associated with them. That way you can also benefit from the extra juicy keywords that come from that content.

But what if you embed a video from YouTube or a Twitter or Instagram post? What if you include your favorite playlist on Spotify?

Embedded content doesn’t come with its own hidden keywords, so you should always embed them in your text.

For example, check out this tweet from EasyWP about the recent interview with HostingAdvice.com:

As you may notice, I described what the embedded tweet was, which in turn gave me the opportunity to add links and keywords to the article. You can do this with any embedded content on your site, since you’re the one calling the shots here.

Furthermore, although you’re the one who is embedding the content, the external URL will be part of Google’s index of your site, which adds relevance to your content (and might earn you a tweet or backlink to your page, which will earn you even more SEO points).

How to Make Your Media SEO-Friendly

To boost your SEO, you will want to pay attention to your image details whenever you upload a new image or other media to your WordPress Media Library. Things to add or modify include the following:

  • Media/image title and permalink
  • Caption text (if any)
  • Alt tag/attribute
  • Description

Let’s examine the following information as shown in the WordPress Media Library:

  • Image Title and Permalink. This is the first field that appears in your media library. Use a title that is descriptive of the image at hand. Don’t upload images with IMG15913.jpg (or whatever your camera/phone gives as a generic title). Instead, change the filename before you upload them, or retitle them here.
  • Image Caption. Captions are optional, but if you use them, they can help with your SEO. The caption text will be displayed within a box or border surrounding your image, or in a separate typeface (depending on your theme). If you decide to use captions, they can be a great way to convey additional information about your image. They can describe the content itself, identify people, and/or cite the source of the image. All of this information can then be used by search engines to understand what information is included in the image. (In the above example, it’s the featured image for a blog post so there’s no caption.)
  • Image Alt Tag. Alt attributes, or alt tags, are very important and should be included on all images. As the name implies, it provides alternate information when the image doesn’t display on the page. The alt text will help people with visual impairments to better understand the presented content. However, alt tags also provide critical information to Google. When creating an alt tag, be descriptive but concise. Explain briefly what the image is, within the context of the website. Do not write sentences or “keyword stuff” your alt tags.
  • Image Description. This description is what will display on the stand-alone image attachment page if you choose to use them. You can write anything you want here, so you can get creative and include an entire paragraph or more of information if you wish. The key here is to remember you’re providing data again to search engines. (In the above example, there’s no description because we don’t enable attachment pages.)

By including some or all of this information with each of your images, you will increase your blog post or page SEO and increase the likelihood that someone will find your website in a Google Image Search as well.

It’s Time to Look at Multimedia Differently

When you’re just starting out with your first blog, you might want to insert your vacation photos or pictures of your baby. But when you’re building a business, it makes sense to consider what you’re going to use to illustrate your content. Always ask yourself if you’re using images to their full potential, and consider other media such as music or video, or even social media embeds, to enhance your content and display your personality.

And regardless of what you use, optimize everything!

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Jackie Dana avatar

Jackie Dana

Jackie has been writing since childhood. As the Namecheap blog’s content manager and regular contributor, she loves bringing helpful information about technology and business to our customers. In her free time, she enjoys drinking copious amounts of black tea, writing novels, and wrangling a gang of four-legged miscreants. More articles written by Jackie.

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