Why is adding Semantic information to your images important?
by Gloria Kopp
We spend so much time focused on creating attractive visuals for our blog posts, that we tend to overlook certain details; Details like the Title, Description, Alt-text and Captions that go alongside the images. It may look like a simple caption or a default name like ‘DXD00001’ to photos is fine, but this is far from the truth. Here’s a complete guide on why these details are important and how including them will go a long way in blogging success.
What Semantic information do I add to my images?
Once you’ve added and image into your blog, you’ll see a number of attributes :
URL – the URL of the image on your website
Title – The main title of the image
Caption – This is the caption that will appear on the image
Alt-Text – The text that is displayed if the image doesn’t load on your website
Description – A space for you to describe your image in short
These are the attributes that you need to add to your image. It’s essential that you know how to use these features to maximize the functionality and online visibility of your website. In fact, image attributes are a key form of metadata for your website, and will dramatically affect your SEO ranking.
What are the Benefits of Using Image Attributes?
Of course, if you’re running a travel website (for example), you’ll want to add image captions, so you can give a brief insight into the image, so you can sell your travel services (an obvious benefit), but is it relevant for every website?
“Surprisingly to many, image attributes are extremely popular with internet users. Not only will the title and image captions be used by your website users to help them consume your content, giving them a great user experience, but things like alt-text are also ideal for maintaining a professional image in the event that an image on your website doesn’t load.” – explains Keith Wood, a Digital Marketer at Assignment help and HuffingtonPost contributor.
In fact, statistics show that captions are 300% more likely to be read than the body content of your posts. This means you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with your readers and share valuable information.
Side note : image captions, alt-texts and descriptions are also indexed by Google, making them a relevant factor when it comes to the SEO ranking of your website pages. Next, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of each image attribute and how you can use them to benefit your website or blog.
The image title is used to identify and label the image your image. In short, this is basically a file name. However, you can still use the title and transform it into a descriptive and informative title that benefits you and your users.
In most cases, the title will also show up if you hover your mouse over the image, depending on your hosting platform or any plugins or themes you may be using. This gives you the opportunity to go more in-depth into what the image is about and how it relates to your content.
Image titles are also indexed by Google, making it a great place to put a keyword or key phrase to boost your SEO ranking consequently. There are a ton of writing guides, like the ones found at Academadvisor, that can help you brainstorm ideas for this detail. You can also use editing tools like UK Writings, as recommended by UK Top Writers, to refine your image titles to ensure they’re perfect.
In most cases, the title won’t be visible to the user of your website, depending on the theme that you’re using. So when adding a title, it’s only there to benefit you so you can manage your media files with ease.
Let’s take an example of an eCommerce store picture with ‘Nike Trainers-00002-M06’ as the title. Of course, this can be changed based on how you want it to be identified, but in this situation, this would refer to a product : a pair of Nike Trainers, the second pair in your Nike Trainer line, that’s designed for males with size 6 feet.
A poor example of an image title in this situation would be ‘NT1’, because although this might mean something at the time of writing, it can easily be misinterpreted or lost further down the line.
The Image caption typically will stand out in bold, so you’re going to want something powerful to draw your readers in. With this section, make sure the headline is short and sweet and uses power words to draw your readers in. When it comes to the captions, make sure you’re detailed and providing your reader with valuable and relevant information.
The image caption is the attribute that your reader will definitely see and read and contributes to their overall experience on your website while reading your content. If applicable, try adding some backstory to the image. Like titles, captions are also indexed and will affect your SEO ranking.
You can also use copywriting tools and writing guides, such as State of Writing and Boom Essays (as recommended by the HuffingtonPost ‘Write my paper’ article) respectively to help with this process.
Lonely Planet does a great job captioning their images with a lot of detail that adds to the story of the article. Let’s take the example of this image they included in an article :
This is a good caption since it adds context to the image, shows why it’s relevant to the article and even contains the photographer’s information so the reader can find out more.
The Alt-Text of your image is widely considered to be one of the most essential attributes but is commonly one of the most ignored. If your website loads and, for whatever reason, an image cannot be displayed or is loading, the alt-text linked to the image is what shows up.
This is especially important if the image you’re using in your content is vital to the message you’re trying to convey. Be descriptive with your alt-text to make sure that it still provides value, even if the image fails to load. You should ideally be using alt-texts on every image with the exception of images that are only used for decorative purposes.
When writing your alt-text, make sure you’re proofreading them to ensure accuracy like you would with the rest of your content. You can use tools like Essay Roo, as suggested by Best Australian Writers, to make this an easy process.
Check out this image of a basketball game :
In this situation, an alt-text box filled with text stating ‘a crowd at a basketball game’ simply isn’t good enough and doesn’t describe the picture to its full potential in the event that it doesn’t load. Instead, you could write something like ‘a crowd enjoying a basketball game and basking in the incredibly energetic atmosphere’. This would add more context, feeling and information.
It seems as though many websites fail to understand or implement the productive benefits that an image description provides. When you add a description attribute to an image, it turns your image into a content post in its own right.
If someone was to click on your page and was directed to the image attachment post itself (or if they clicked on the image and it takes them to a hard copy of the image – the place where the image is displayed with just a black or white background), the description shows up.
This can help you to provide more value to your readers : You can add in more information about your image, to make your content more inspiring and educational.
When it comes to your image descriptions, remember not to go overboard with information and try to keep things simple and digestible. This mean limiting it to short sentences or short paragraphs which you can track and experiment with using tools like Easy Word Count.
To make things even easier and more professional, you can use tools like Cite It In to make sure any citations, references, sources and attritions are inserted in a professional format.
As you can see, image attributes are essential when it comes to adding more value to your website and your content, and it’s important that you don’t overlook this. Spend as much effort in perfecting these attributes as you do the rest of your content, and you can be sure every post will have the best impact on your readers!
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Gloria Kopp is a content manager and marketer at Resumention. She writes the Revieweal review writing blog for students and writers. She's also a contributing writer at Microsoft, The Tab and Bigassignments.