By Marci James
Most real estate professionals take a lot of time and spend a lot of money optimizing their website for SEO. But there are surprisingly few who take the time to optimize their real estate photography for SEO.
Image optimizing is a simple task that can open up your site to thousands of extra visitors! Even if you pay a professional to take your photos, there are still some very simple steps you can take that will make a huge difference in your SEO.
1. Use spectacular photos: The more beautiful the photo, the more likely it is to go viral. Especially on popular social sites like Pinterest. Beauty stirs emotion, and emotion sells! Did you know that emotion is 2 times more important than logic in the buying process? That’s right. A potential homebuyer will likely find your listing due to a logical web search. But they are going to schedule a showing because the listing created an emotional response. Spectacular photos are the best way to create that emotion.
2. Use web-sized images: Now you don’t want to go too small, but the search engines will give priority to images with fast page load times. So you don’t want to post images to your website or blog that are huge. Optimal web size is 72dpi. If you need to re-size high resolution images, try using the amazing Windows Image Resizer! It’s a super easy to use tool that will give you perfectly sized images.
3. Rename the image file using keywords/phrases: The search engines index the file names of photos. When you upload your new listing photos, why not use the property address in the file name? Or the neighborhood name? You could name the front photo “beautiful Signal Creek golf course home”. Or the kitchen photo could be “1234 Main Street Denver designer kitchen”. It’s okay if the file names are long, just add keyword phrases and try to include geographic words as well. The search engines love geographic keyword combinations!
4. Tag your images: Each image should, whenever and where ever possible, be tagged with appropriate keywords and phrases. You can do this easily on sites like Flickr!
5. Create keyword-rich ALT tags: When adding an image to your website or blog, you are given the option of adding an ALT tag. Many people quickly skip this step, and are losing out on some great SEO. ALT tags were originally created so that visually impaired readers using a screen reader would have a description of the image. However the search engines quickly started to index these ALT tags as a description of the image, and it is now an important part of your SEO.
6. Give your image a keyword-rich title: The title of the image is also indexed by the search engines. When adding an image to your blog, website, Facebook, or anywhere else, always give it a keyword rich title.
7. Try watermarking your images: I recently had a fun conversation with a friend who is a Realtor® and a very talented photographer. She often shares her gorgeous photos to Facebook and Google + where they tend to go viral and are shared and viewed by 1,000s of consumers. Artistically, this friend of mine dislikes having a watermark on her images. But this past summer, after some convincing from me, she agreed to try watermarking some of her images with her website address. Within 2 months, she was working with 3 new clients, all due to her watermarked images!
Follow these simple steps and not only will you sell more listings and engage more readers and followers with your gorgeous photos, but you’ll be attracting a lot more traffic to your site through your enhanced SEO!
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Marci James is the director of social media and marketing for Obeo.
To read this article on Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate’s blog, “Clean Slate,” visit: http://bhgrealestateblog.com/2013/01/17/how-to-optimize-your-real-estate-photos-for-seo/.
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