Basic SEO Practices For Creating Webpages – Part 1
We’ve got a two part episode for you, all about the basic principles and best practices you need to know for creating good, optimized pages on your website. This was originally intended to be one episode – but it ran long, and there was just too much good information, we could not cut anything out. So, we split it in two!
In part one of this two part episode, we continue to focus on the basics of website SEO. We’ll discuss using images to enhance your pages, and how to use those images for SEO benefits. We’ll also look at when to use stock photography, versus using pictures you can take with your own smartphone, to give your website a look that will impress customers.
- How to properly use images to enhance your pages
- Where to find images that you can use on your website
- Tips for using your smartphone to take your own photos
- Using stock photography on your website
- How to properly name your images for SEO benefit
- Best practices for optimizing image size and download time
- How to use Alt Tags for your images
Thanks for Listening!
Here is the transcription from Episode 6 – Basic SEO Practices For Creating Webpages – Part 1;
Jesse: Hey everyone. Jesse with Local SEO Tactics. I wanted to let you know we’ve got a two
part episode on tap here for you. Part one here today and the conclusion will drop next
week. We originally cut this as one episode but it got a little long. A lot of great
information, we got pretty deep into some details here for you and we just cut it up in
two episodes just to make it a little bit more manageable so get ready to take some
notes, there’s some great information here and stay tuned next week for the conclusion.
Hey everyone. Jesse Dolan and Bob Brennan here again with Local SEO Tactics. This
week we’re going to be talking still about the on page SEO for your website. Going
through our Intrycks SEO audit report, using that as a guide to help you walk through
the steps here on what you’re going to need to do to make sure your website is at least
up to the SEO 101 standards. Last week we were talking about how to choose a domain
name, how to name your pages, the meta title, meta description, some of that initial
stuff for how to get your pages and your website set up in general. The framework, the
foundation if you will for building the how it relates to the website. Today we’re going to
build on that.
Bob: Today’s topic can be a little dry. Stick with it. We encourage you to stick with it because
you may have to listen to several of these podcasts to get to a point where you feel
comfortable enough doing this yourself. The key is is just absorb what you can and do
what you can and stay with us on these podcasts because if you can stick with us I
guarantee you we’ll give you enough tools that you’ll get started. You’re going to have
to go revisit this and do some of your own research but nothing gives you a better
return than taking the time on this. If you take this same amount of time and you apply
it to fantasy football or fantasy golf or whatever the deal it’s just not going to give you
the return, nothing will give you a better return than this.
Jesse: No, I think you’re right. What we’re communicating here is not sexy. It’s just not. There
might be some things, some cool hacks and some intriguing things that you can pull out
but really this is a course. And it can be dry sometimes. If you’re going to invest 15 to 20
minutes to listen to each of these episodes, you’re probably going to have 30 to 60
minutes each week of actionable work you can do but listening to these, teasing out the
information that’s relevant for you and taking action is going to make a difference in
Bob: Oh huge.
Jesse: Or go pay somebody to do it too. If you don’t want to do it yourself at the very least we
can teach you what things somebody else should be doing for you. But if your business
right now is not dominating on the top of the search engines, the advice that we’re
putting out here is going to get you there week by week. Should we dump all this into
some 28 hour marathon binge deal? No. Nobody’s going to stick with that. It’s again,
terribly unsexy. That’s why we’re picking a week to week format. Short quick episodes
you can listen to while you’re working out or on your way into work. And then take
action later in the week. Again, check the show page. We’re going to have the
transcripts, you can download, you can copy, paste out information, highlight things.
Take the cheat sheets, the guides. We’re trying to make this to be almost like a week to
week class, I hate to use that word but a week to week class on things that you can do
to make a quick impact in your business.
Bob: I would say if you can, go ahead and get started with some of this now because it’s all
about getting, taking action and doing it. And a lot of podcasts that I listen to that are
real heady and a lot of details, I’ll grab a glass of wine or a beer and it’s part of my way
to relax and just try to take the information and then digest it and then I’ll come back
and play it again even if I have to.
Bob: And then I can take action.
Jesse: First we’re going to jump into talking about images and photos on your website. It’s
definitely a good piece of advice to have images and photos on your website in general
but you’re going to want to use some images above the fold to catch people right away.
We say above the fold, today it’s more of above the scroll. If you’re on your laptop or
your desktop, it’d be whatever you see initially when that page loads. If you have to
scroll down that’s below the fold or below the scroll. Same thing on a mobile. As soon as
that pops up if you have to scroll up or scroll down depending on how do you want to
look at it, things that you don’t see immediately on the page are what we’re talking
about for being below the fold.
Bob: ‘Cause it’s really about if I can jump in, it’s just really about converting. There’s two
things, objectives, that we want to achieve. One is to get the site to the top of Google
and the other is converting. So when somebody click on that, all that information above
the fold gives them a split second ability to make a decision to either continue on your
site or even act on it or call or what have you.
Jesse: Absolutely. And we’re going to talk a little bit on some of the titles and headlines you’ll
use above the fold way and that same thing. But definitely for the images. Couple rules
of thumb that we subscribe to that we want to pass onto everybody else and highly
recommend is make sure the image is relevant first and foremost. Whether it’s, and
we’re not going to talk about video but if you’re going to use a video instead of an
image, the same thing applies here. Make sure it’s relevant to whatever it is the
searcher’s intent is for. So whenever we’re searching for something and then we
stumble across a webpage, we’re usually looking or an answer or taking the next step to
our solution. Don’t always want to make sure you’re featuring what you want to
promote or what you want to push or what your agenda is, always get in the mindset of
that person on the other side of the keyboard. What are they looking for? Why are they
here? And make sure the first visual image that they see ties it all in together.
Bob: Yeah, I mean it really comes down to empathizing. Again it’s one of those things where
you gotta get inside the mind of the customer. As far as the visual goes if you’re in the
let’s say auto repair business, probably best not to put a classic car up there for repair.
You really want to throw in a contemporary vehicle like a minivan or something that
more than likely an SUV or what have you that people own. That’s while we may like the
66 Mustang it’s really empathizing, understanding your market and saying, “Okay the
majority of the market drives an SUV and it’s foreign.” Or whatever the case is. And so if
that visual ties in with that, that’s really what you want to do.
Jesse: Yeah, I think if you got the family truckster and that’s what you need repair on, if you
pull up a website and they’re doing something 68 Camaro, as the feature deal, I might
think it’s a classic repair shop.
Bob: Free bird. Sorry.
Jesse: Or a restoration shop or something like that. Like I said it might turn you off and you get
what two, three, maybe five seconds for that first impression for the person visiting you
website to decide if there going to stay there or not. You don’t want to give them a
reason to click back and go on to the next person down the search results. So, definitely
keep it relevant. Like Bob’s saying, get inside the mind of that person and think about
why they’re there and make sure your giving images that relate to them. Now, as far as
where you’re going to get the images. A lot of people, we get a lot of questions always,
“Can I just go out to Google? Do like a Google image search and if I find an image that I
like, can I copy it, save it, download it?” and what have you. You can’t do that.
Bob: Right. We’ve found out the hard way.
Jesse: Years back, Getty images, anybody from Getty if your watching, you can thank us for the
donation. We got tagged by them we had to pay the piper. Kind of a rookie mistake
many years ago, but it’s not just Getty images. If somebody is putting content out there
on the internet, it is their content. Unless it is from a, maybe like, a free stock
photography website. Something where they say it’s copyright free. You can’t just go
cowboy and use any image that you find out there. You should have the mindset that
you either have create your own images and photography or graphic files or you’re
going to have to pay somebody for the use of them. We’ll talk about that a little more a
But back to if you’re going to create your own images. Completely fine to do. Like
current iPhones, the resolution that’s on them or even point and shoot cameras is
phenomenal compared to what it was even two or three years ago. Let alone five or six
years ago. You shouldn’t be ashamed to take your own images. There’s definitely a skill
to it. To take a good photograph and a bad photograph. Myself versus a photographer, if
we both had the same iPhone, photographer is going to take way better pictures than I
am. But that being said, don’t let that hold you back.
Bob: Yeah, if you’re just starting out you got to get started. So, get that out there. You can
always go back and either refine those photos, take another photo shoot, ideally hire a
professional if you can. It’s really get your tone up or get that site up there get
something that’s the best you can do now. Like everything else your going to constantly
be improving this and reinvesting in the site to get better conversion.
Jesse: We’ve worked with lots of customers that have taken their own photographs. Like
literally, we’ll hang up the phone say, “Go snap a few pictures of your receptionist desk
or your shop area.” Whatever it is and send them back to us and we’ll use them and put
them up there. One thing that we can definitely say, if your going to do your own stuff,
if you’re not a photographer is, be aware of the background. Take an auto repair shop
example again, if your going to take a picture of a car up the lift getting work done,
make sure the floor, whatever is in the background isn’t a bunch of rusty tools and rags
and oil and stuff, whatever. I mean, be aware of the entire image that the person is
going to see. So you might need a couple minutes to maybe set the stage or clean some
things up before you snap those photos.
And then, lighting. You really can’t have enough lighting, always. There’s tricks you can
use to enhance a photograph later after you take it. But really, if you can just make sure
that you’ve got some decent lighting and the general area behind the image and behind
whatever you are taking is clean and not too distracting you’re gonna be in great shape.
Usually what we find is after you take that photograph, you’ll crop into a certain part.
You don’t use the whole photograph as it was. You kind of zero in on something that’s
more attractive or germane to it but if your image is great again, just like what Bob is
saying, don’t sweat the details too much. Get it up there. The awesome part about a
website is you can change it tomorrow. You can change it in 15 minutes if you find
something better or take a better photograph. So don’t get, don’t worry about getting it
perfect the first time. Get it up there, you can always change, improve upon it later.
Bob: And I’ll through a couple caveats out there. So, when I was first starting out in business, I
was so proud to get my first shop to work out of and I don’t know, I think we put it even
on our site, so to speak. And while it’s, you’re proud of you shop it may not be the best
thing to help convert people, so to speak. So, we’re going to get into talking about stock
photo and I think there are times where stock photo is actually better than some of the
stuff we’re talking about. So be real careful there. Again, I know a lot of us business
owners we’ve worked hard to get that building or whatever the case is but if it isn’t, let’s
say, the absolute top notch, building, but it serves it’s purpose. You may have better
results converting with stock photography. So we’ll get into that.
Jesse: Right, and I think that kind of plays into what I was saying too for really being tight on an
image. If you go back to that example of a car up on the hoist if you’re taking a picture,
you don’t want to step back, you don’t have to get the whole shop maybe the garage
door, the tool bench in the background, the workbench and all that and the entire car
on the lift. You just need to kind of zero in on the oil coming out in a oil pan. You’re
wanting to show the services or the processes or some of the tools used. Kind of really,
those zoomed in type views, which is a little counterintuitive to what we think of.
Especially as business owners we want to show you the building and the name on the
front and my team and all this stuff. That’s not as relevant for people and even more to
Bob’s point, which is where I’m going with this, is it doesn’t look as attractive
So, a screwdriver is a screwdriver. It’s hard to not be an attractive screwdriver compared
to another one. So kind of a tight cropped in image on things like that are always going
to look good versus the whole shop background, cause that may tell a little bit too much
of the story sometimes.
Bob: Yeah, and I would just through in there too that, if were talking about quick services,
services that are going to be sub a $1,000 or whatever, this is where I think stock
photography in these kind of things, comes into play. It’s about these people making a
quick decision and looking at those images. Now, if you’re going to go above that and
you’re talking about services like architecture and design and things like that, it’s a
whole different animal. We’ll probably get into more detail in another podcast on that,
but yes those images have to be exemplary or whatever the term.
Jesse: That’s a great term. So for you guys out there listening if you’re unsure, if you go
through this exercise, take you own photos, put them up onto your website. If you’re
not sure if it looks good enough, a couple things, one, ask friends and family. Shoot an
email around, pull it up, show people however you can. Just say, “What do you think?”
And don’t maybe even preface it to them, don’t sugar coat this. I’m not asking you to tell
me that this looks awesome. I want to know if you didn’t know me would you be turned
on or turned off be what you’re seeing here and get some honest feedback. But
definitely, give them that disclaimer cause friends and family usually want to pump you
up like, “Oh, Bob you got a new shop. Good for you. Yeah, that photo looks great.” May
not be very true.
Bob: And that’s where strangers come in. So be careful there, ask strangers. They may look at
you a little weird but ask them. Just say, “Hey if you were, if you needed auto repair
what would this site mean to you?” And, “I wouldn’t take it there for this reason,” or,
“It’s great,” or whatever and strangers will do that because they have no horse in the
Jesse: Put it out on Facebook, however you can get the word out there for that feedback. Your
not going to be the one coming to your website for this product or service. You have the
curse of knowledge. There’s just no way your going to make the best decision on it. You
want to get that feedback from as many people as you can.
The other thing you can do if you want, we can take a look at if for you. So, on our show
page Intrix.com/show for each episode you can go down, you give us a feedback form.
Give us a link to your website. Say, “Hey guys, I took some pictures. I threw it up on my
website. What do you think? Would you change anything? Give me your feedback.” I
mean, we’re here to help. That’s the whole point of doing this show and getting
ourselves out there is to engage with you guys and help you out. So we’re here also for
that kind of feedback if you want it.
So, now moving on to stock photos. It’s always good, we like having real photographs of
your business or your people or your processes on your website. Sometimes you can tell
when a website is just full of stock photography. So, you want to walk that balance of
kind of like Bob’s saying, you want it look good, so you maybe sometimes without
looking good you want to lean to towards the stock photography if your stuff isn’t quite
good enough. But you also want to blend in like, hey, were a real shop. We’re not just
using the same images everybody else is on our website here’s some canned artwork. So
you want to blend that in but there’s definitely a space no matter what for stock
photography. Most of the stuff out there is from real photographers. Great images and
it’s not that expensive.
Bob: Photography is, these photos are a way for organizations to look bigger than they are or
better. Now you don’t want to mislead people but that’s what’s nice about some of the
photography. You can look much classier, much bigger than you are.
Jesse: So there’s tons of stock photography websites out there. Copyright free where you can
buy a subscription or even buy individual images if you find just one that you want and
you don’t need a subscription for month or month or things like that. Something that
you do want to be aware of when you’re choosing stock photography is maybe not
having the exact same leading image that your competitor has. The thing about stock
photography versus taking your own photos is anybody could technically have access to
the exact same photographs so maybe for two important reasons, do some searching
before you’re paying for these images. Number one, see what other people are using.
You’re going to want to stack up to the competition and number two, don’t use the
same images that other people are already using.
Bob: Yeah, and that’s what’s neat about stock photography, if you do it, do it correctly. You
can make your organization look a lot bigger, a lot better, a lot more polished. If you’re
just starting out. Again we use that analogy if you’re just starting out and it’s a small
shop or it’s small organization and you’re not as refined as some of the big
organizations, again it’s that image you have a short period of time, you’ve gotta create
that great image that people are saying, “You know what? I’m going to call them.” And
we’ll get into that detail once they start calling you because there’s another two, three
When people call you you better know what to say, how to say it and all that is about
converting these folks into your business. It all starts right with the image and if that
image can look world class, that’s great. But again, if you have no budget and you gotta
start somewhere, you can use a camera but if you want to bring that up to the next level
and help with the conversion process, great stock photography can make you look like a
Fortune 500 company.
Jesse: I would say, “Fake it til you make it.” Right?
Jesse: So again, maybe look at what some of the big players in your marketplace, do some
local searches, see what else is showing up. That’s who you’re going to be competing
with and trying to attract customers from those places. Make sure you’re going to be
standing up to it with your images and again your stock photography is a great, great
way to do that.
So now moving on let’s just say you choose your photographs. Either you took them
yourself you downloaded some stock photography, now you’re going to put them on
your website. There’s a couple key things that you need to know. One is the size of the
image. Most images are going to be two or 3,000 pixels wide by however many pixels
tall. They’re big images, they take a while to download especially once you start getting
into the mobile arena, speed is definitely very, very important. So before you just take
that image and throw it up onto your website, you’re going to want to resize it. Or even
optimize it for web downloading and web viewing.
There’s some different online tools that you can use to do that. Just an effort to save
time, we’re going to have a link to some of those in the show notes. What those
resources are going to show you is optimal sizes and when I say size I don’t mean eight
inches wide by five inches tall. We’re talking about the actual file size which translates
into how quickly it’ll download onto the user’s device. You’re going to find out what
sizes are optimal and then some resources to be able to convert those images. If you’re
a user of Adobe Photoshop or some applications like that you can do the same process
there yourself. We’ll throw in the show notes for that too. Some quick links to how to do
that as well. And then that optimized or that compressed image is what you’re going to
want to use to load onto your website.
Those two important things. One, for the user, the faster it loads the more likely they’re
going to stay in your page, I think we’ve all been to a website we clicked on it, it looked
good from Google search engine results page but we click on it, take three seconds, it’s
not loading yet, there’s an image stalling out. I’m gone. You’re back, gone to the next
one. Now you don’t like what you see. From a user’s standpoint that’s extremely
relevant. Well guess what? From the Google bot and the crawler’s standpoint, they see
that as well. They want to make sure that they’re serving up in the rankings the pages
that are optimized.
If you got a page that’s really, really slow to load, you’re going to see a slow and steady
erosion of what your rankings are. Images are going to be one of the largest parts of
your webpage that loads. There’s lots of code, there’s other stuff on the website but
your images are going to be the biggest files usually there’s obviously exceptions to the
rule but usually that’s your biggest file that’s going to load on the website. Definitely
requires some attention to make sure you’re managing that properly because it
definitely directly impacts your search engine ranking and your SEO.
Bob: Yeah, ’cause speed is in the formula of SEO, speed is …
Jesse: It’s up there in the priorities.
Bob: It’s in the top A priorities wouldn’t you think?
Jesse: Absolutely. There’s no one thing and there’s not published ranking order but yeah, if
you’re going to list them A, B, C type deal it’s an A priority.
Bob: Yeah, in the world of mobile which everything is going towards probably 80% of
searches right now are in some form of mobile, it’s even more important because it’s
not everybody’s on WiFi, it gets complicated but basically speed’s an important part of
Jesse: Two other quick things about managing your images the right way and loading them
onto your website. One is going to be your filename. The last episode we talked about
how to name your pages of your website so Google will look at your domain name plus
the actual filename, page name of your website. If you have your keyword in there
that’s going to be pretty good. Same this is true of your image, right?
Jesse: So if I got an image of red balloons that I took a picture of and I want to use it on my
website, if I have my camera and I save it to my computer, it’s going to be image 1 or
image 312 or whatever it is, some default filename. If I upload that image after properly
optimizing it of course and shrinking it down. If I upload that image and use it on my
website on the website that filename comes with it, right?
Jesse: Us as users we don’t really see that, that’s in the background but the search engines
they see this webpage contains this image and this image name is image 1 or image 312.
That’s okay, it’s not going to hurt anything but it doesn’t do anything positive for you as
it relates to your SEO. Now if you renamed that image before you uploaded it and saved
it as red-balloons, the search engines, it’s red balloons, they read those keywords. Back
to our auto shop example, oil change, if the car’s up on the hoist and the picture’s of an
oil change in progress, name the image oil change. That’s a very relevant keyword to
what the image is for and that’s what you’re going to be found for in search engines. A
second benefit to that is Google image search and when say Google we mean Bing,
every other search engine too, right?
Jesse: You can do searches for webpages or searches for images. If you properly name your
images in the convention that we’re talking about your images are going to show up in
that image search as well. Nobody’s going to find your picture for red balloons if it’s not
called red balloons. It’s just not going to happens.
Bob: And a quick question I have Jess with the oil, naming the image, you talked about it
being called oil change. Could you go so far as to say, “Diesel oil change” or, “foreign car
oil change.” It’s really about driving it towards if you’re a diesel specialist or you’re a
foreign car specialist, that kind of a title is going to help with the SEO specifically for the
type of work that you’re doing.
Jesse: Yeah, common best practices are you’re going to want to keep the size of that filename
to maybe 30 to 40 characters or less. So you don’t want a paragraph as the name of
what that image is. But absolutely if you want to be more descriptive than just that oil
change, it’s going to help. Put some thought into it. Like we keep saying, do everything
on purpose. Don’t just randomly name it oil changes. Think about what page am I going
to put this on. What am I wanting this page to found for. What to I want my business to
be found for. And if you work on imports versus classic cars or whatever, absolutely,
include that in the name of that photograph.
In addition to the actual name of that picture, there’s also called an alt-tag. So if
anybody’s ever been to a website and maybe there was a missing image, you get a little
border box and maybe a little broken image icon and you can see some text. In this case,
let’s just say it was oil change and not more descriptive. But in this case if for some
reason the image was broken on my website and I uploaded it and it was oil change as
the name of the image and then I’m going to use oil change is also the alt-tag. And that’s
A-L-T tag. You’re going to see the word oil change there where that broken image is.
The alt-tag does two things. One, it’s cue to search engines for more descriptive
information. This is not the technical explanation is just a general explanation here. It’s a
trigger to the search engines for more descriptive information about what the image is
and then also for us users when we see it on the website, if the image is gone, we’re still
going to see that text. Not the greatest thing to have your image broken and gone but if
it’s going to be gone you might as well still see a phrase that’s relevant to what it is you
were searching for.
Again, when it comes down to it, I’ll say it one more time, get into the mind of the
person on other end of the keyboard. What are they there for? What are they searching
for? Those are the things you want to communicate and relay to them and do it on
purpose. Don’t ever just go by whatever the default was or just leave those fields and
filenames as is. Put some thought into it. And do it on purpose. You’re going to be very
All right, I think that is the perfect place to take a break. We’ll call that a wrap on part
one of this two part episode. Hopefully there’s some things that you pulled out of
today’s episode that you can apply to your website. Going to have to have lots of great
information next week to wrap this topic up. If you have any questions for us or if you
have any feedback for us, we’d love to hear it. Go to intrycks.com/show, drop us a line.
And if you’re listening on iTunes we’d love for you to give us a review. We’ve actually
got a couple reviews so far and I’m excited to share one with you right now.
This is exciting for us, sharing our first review. First one here we got is a five star review
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they say, “Information is relevant, actionable and easy to understand even for a layman
like myself. I particularly like the length of the episodes which make them manageable
and not as overwhelming as some others I’ve listened to.”
Awesome. Thanks, that’s exactly what our intent is. We hope we can give you good bite
size chunks of episodes each week that you can take some notes on and actually
implement some strategies here. Yeah, so awesome. Thank you for the reviews, this is
amazing and we appreciate the feedback.
So once again, stay tuned next week for part two of this episode and we’ll talk to you
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