HOWTO optimise your images for search engines AND people

by Hugh Hancock on May 1, 2012

Oh, god, another “compress your images” post? No, indeed not.

Whilst the “5 quick tips to make your images smaller” post has been thoroughly overused by now, Neil at Quicksprout goes well beyond that in today’s excellent article. He’s not just talking about optimising your images for computers, but for humans – a much trickier proposition -

“When you use faces that are looking out at the reader…giving the sensation of eye contact…you will get more views.

Let’s now get a little specific and talk about the difference between how men and women process images…and I’ll even tell you why this is important at the end.

According to a recent eye mapping study, women process images differently than guys do. Here are some of those differences:

  • What women focus on depends on their hormone level.
  • Women are attracted to images where there is more than one person…in particular a guy and a girl embraces each other.
  • Women are also better at responding to emotional images than men are.
  • Men will look at faces before a nude body.”

Neil goes on to talk about search engines and tagging too, but his suggestions go well beyond “use compression and have an alt tag”, into clever stuff I don’t see many people doing, like using full-sentence descriptions for each image. Some of his illustrations – like the “men and women eye tracking” heatmap – are also worth the price of admission on their own.

This one’s a very short-snippets post – a nice quick read, and full of immediately actionable stuff. I’ll be starting to use some of his tips – like the full-page-width images, which are a really neat trick – pretty much immediately, and if you’re actively publishing content I suspect you’ll find some immediate-takeaway material too.

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