How to optimize images & boost SEO in Squarespace.
Having images on your website (photos, graphics, icons, etc.) is so important. They add color and visual excitement to your web pages and they can be used to break up content and call attention to specific areas or actions you want visitors to take.
If you need concrete proof, look at these powerful stats:
93% of all human communication is visual
Researchers found that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.
Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
The saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is spot on, isn’t it?
But if you’re not optimizing the images on your website, you might be slowing it down and hurting your SEO (search engine optimization).
Here’s how to make sure the images on your Squarespace website are helping to increase your traffic and expand your reach.
Reduce image size.
Image size is a major factor that affects your website’s loading speed and SEO.
At some point, I’m sure you’ve landed on a website and watched as it’s huge images slowly loaded on the page. Frustrating right?
You can easily prevent this by reducing the size of your images.
For Squarespace websites, images need to be formatted as follows:
1500-2500 pixels wide - less than this might result in images not looking crisp
File size of 500 KB or smaller (the limit for an individual image is 20 MB, but that’s VERY large and isn’t recommended for most images)
72 dpi (dots per inch)
Saved in the sRGB color profile
Use .jpg, .gif, or .png format only
Read all of Squarespace's recommendations for formatting images here.
Add metadata to images.
A common newbie web design mistake is to upload images and leave the filenames as whatever the camera named them. Perhaps something like “DSC_0177.jpg”. Look familiar?
This is a huge missed opportunity to insert some extra keywords into your website or blog post.
In Squarespace here are some places you’ll want to add metadata to improve SEO:
Never leave this blank or use the camera filename like I mentioned above.
When you add an image block in Squarespace this is the window you will see. Add a custom filename to the field outlined in pink below.
Use this space to be descriptive with keywords related to your website or blog post. Google doesn't like a bunch of keywords, but prefers descriptive sentences.
For example, if you sell iPhone cases, you'd want to use a description like "Unique iPhone cases for iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 that protect your phone and show off your personality" instead of "iPhone, case, phone protection, phone, iPhone 7, iPhone 8" etc.
Also, this information is often what will show up in the description when someone pins your image to Pinterest. Use this strategically to appeal to readers and potential visitors to your website. A descriptive sentence is understood much more quickly and easily than a bunch of random keywords strung together.
If you don’t use the caption section for your image, don’t let it go to waste. Instead, fill it with descriptive keywords like I just described for your filename. I often copy and paste the same text from my filename into the caption.
To add a caption, insert an image block and choose the Inline type. Click the Design tab and “Caption Below” will be the default in the dropdown menu.
Type your caption under the image.
If you want to hide the caption and use it only for SEO purposes, change “Caption Below” to “Do Not Display Caption”.
Title and description for Gallery images
If you’re using a gallery to display images, you can still add metadata.
Insert the gallery block, upload your images, and then add an image title and description to all of the images in the EDIT IMAGE window.
The key to adding all of this metadata to your images is to use relevant and descriptive keywords. Think of what your ideal client or customer is searching Google for, and write descriptions geared towards them.
While Squarespace doesn't use “alternative text” per se, the places mentioned above are what you should use like alternative text. It would be wonderful to see an official “alternative text” field in Squarespace in the future.
Create Pinterest-friendly graphics.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include some helpful info about creating images that are Pinterest-friendly and ready to be shared or pinned.
Pinterest is more like a search engine than a social media platform.
Think about it - do you go on Pinterest to engage with other people and be social or do you usually search for a specific item or topic? I do the latter, as do most people.
Considering that Pinterest can be a great source of traffic back to your website or blog, using Pinterest-friendly graphics is a smart choice.
So what makes an image Pinterest-friendly?
The images that get the most saves and clicks on Pinterest are vertical, with an aspect ratio of 2:3 (600px wide by 900 px high).
Most people use Pinterst on a mobile device and vertical images work best with the column format.
High quality photos
This isn’t always required, but many viral pins include a high quality image, at least as a background.
Make sure the image is relevant to your ideal audience and niche.
You can use a stock photo or your own photo for this, just make sure you have permission to use the photo.
If you need a few stock photos to get you started, subscribe to my resource library and get access to freebies like stock photos and other goodies for your blog and biz.
Your Pinterest-friendly image should include some text to describe your blog post or website. Use your blog post title or write a custom description for your image.
If you don’t have Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, use a free online program like Canva to create your image and add text.
Last, but not least, make sure you include a call-to-action to encourage people to click through to your website and read your blog post or explore your offer.
I’ve found that pins with a call-to-action tend to get more clicks than those without.
Adding a content upgrade and creating a call-to-action to download it adds even more enticement to click your pinned image.
With marketing being so visual these days, it’s vital to ensure that the images on your blog or website are optimized and of high quality. The tips I’ve outlined above can help boost your SEO and improve your website loading speed, ultimately helping to increase your traffic.
Do you use Squarespace and optimize your images as I've recommended?