So here we are, the final blog and podcast before the Christmas holiday break!
We will, of course, be back in the new year dishing out even more visibility advice, but today I want to share with you how to get the beautiful images on your website seen by Google, and how they can play a part in boosting you up to that first page of results, because that’s what you’re here to learn about, right!
In this blog post and podcast, I’m also going to take you behind the scenes for an end of year review of my business, and I’ll be posing some questions to you that can help you reflect on your year whatever type of business you have.
So how can the images on your website help you climb the pages of Google, and why does that even matter? Well less than 1% of people searching click through to page 2, so if you’re not on that first page, you’re not getting found.
And you might say “But Maddy, I’ll never get to page one!” then let me tell you I’ve seen small businesses just like yours get to page one and win over big brands by following the very advice I’m sharing today.
Remember, it’s all about seeking out those exciting opportunities, after all, that’s what SEO stands for – Seeking Exciting Opportunities and there are plenty of them.
I heard a great analogy the other day and I’ll be repeating this to everyone because it rings SO true.
When we get locked out of our house, we call the locksmith and they come round with 18 master keys to help us get back into our home. The locksmith will try one key at a time, safe in the knowledge that one of them will work, they just have to keep trying one at a time. Do they have an existential crisis after each one when it doesn’t work? No, they do not.
And yet that’s how we treat our businesses.
We need to stop pretending we’ve used 17 keys. We haven’t. We’ve barely 1 or 2. We’re so terrified of getting it wrong but actually we need to build in habits, just like we do for everything else. Just as when we’re taking photos we know the steps to take a photo. Just as when we’re cooking dinner, brushing our teeth. We don’t have an existential crisis if we brush our teeth differently. In fact sometimes we find a new and improved way of doing things and we don’t even congratulate ourselves because it seems banal and everyday. And yet we place so much emphasis on promoting our business in this way, that everything feels very heavy. Especially in 2020.
So getting your images on Google found is another key to try (and this one really works!)
Did you know?
72% of searchers look up images before purchasing!
93% of all global searches start with Google, Google My Business + Google Images
So, where do you start with getting your images found on Google?
Here’s a brief reminder of how search engines work, Google is a giant library. Our websites need to be tagged with certain topics in order to connect with those searching for that topic. It’s actually, dare I say it, the simplest way to get found on page one of Google
Regardless of whether you’re a visual business or not, i.e. you rely on your images to sell your services or not you need to be sharing images, people like images, they like pretty colours, we are magpies after all (humans are animals, I know I often forget that) – so stock images, or befriend photographers, hire photographers, learn to take your own photos there are many courses out there particularly in 2020, you need photos.
1. Size matters (for images!)
Check the dimensions of your images width and height, usually 2000 px wide max for images you use on images and 1200 px wide for images you use on blog posts is just fine. Any bigger and you’re making the website work harder than it needs to and slowing the website down. Upload your images to Tinyjpg or Jpegmini to compress the file size (think of it like zipping the image) before uploading to your website.
2. Check the format of the image
Your images need to be either .png or .jpg at the end of the image name so as to be suitable for website use.
3. Create unique images
Remember that you can’t just nick photos off Google or Pinterest and claim ignorance. I know way too many cases where people have not got permission to use an image and they have landed themselves hefty fines. Use stock photos if you must but use them where there are permissions in place. Canva Pro has a fantastic collection.
4. Rename your images
Before you upload your images to your website, rename the images individually (yes, it takes time but yes it’s 100% worth it) with your keywords, service you’re providing, location, details. This becomes the title tag.
5. Add to relevant content
You need to use relevant images related to your topic or otherwise create them (Canva has thousands of templates to create text graphics!) The clearer the topic of the page, the more likely it is that your images will be found. If you try and cover multiple topics on multiple pages, you’ll be making life harder for yourself unnecessarily.
6. Page title + description of the page is key
If you listened / read my advice about Yoast, you’ll have heard this before but you need to make sure the title of the page and the description (in Yoast if you use it!) is relevant and related to the images too. It makes life so much easier!
7. ALT text
Once you’ve uploaded the images to your website you’ll need to add what’s known as ALT text, which is text describing the image, but make it (slightly) different from the filename. This makes sure that Google knows the topic of the image and you get plus points for SEO!
End of Year Review
It may seem all doom and gloom in the media, I know I’ve certainly fallen prey to being obsessed with the possibility of a change in news story, however as I said to a friend the other day, even if world peace had been achieved and everyone was living their best life, the news would still find ways to poop on us from a great height.
So here’s what I choose to do instead. To focus on my wins. To focus on the solutions that I am glad of finding throughout the challenges, throughout the lows, throughout the highs. What am I pleased to have done all things considered.
I am so into this idea that I actively encourage my members and clients to do the same at the end of every week. Many are reticent to share openly for fear of judgement or boasting or simply because it’s a new habit that they’re not used to.
So here are some questions that I ask myself at the end of each year, but now more and more at the end of each month and quarter as well. I actually schedule business meetings with myself and go through these questions.
Does my life look how I want to be?
How can I make a plan to change it? (It doesn’t have to be a radical overhaul, it can be small changes that add up to big ones) For example in July I made a significant change in focus to my diet, committing to eating more fresh food daily which has made a change in my energy. This may seem like common sense but it’s unbelievably easy for me to eat beige freezer food all too often and it makes me grumpy and tired. Another change that I’ve noticed has made a key difference in how I want to spend my days – making sure I go for a daily walk, even if it’s round the block, just to get a moment of fresh air away from the computer. I’ve been working from home for years but I know for many it’s a new thing this year. Fresh air for five minutes makes a lot of difference, yes even when it’s raining.
What have I enjoyed doing the most in my life? In my business? We don’t make time to focus on pleasure enough. A key conversation in July this year made me realise this and I have been evaluating pleasure if that makes sense ever since. You may have seen Penelope my golden drinks trolley, adorned with sparkly objects, pink candles and gin. Turning on her lights to signify the end of the working day and the start of a relaxing evening is a lovely little ritual. Putting on one of my favourite vinyls is a beautiful addition.
What were my goals for 2020 and how have I reached them? For me, you may want to check with my making money + making mistakes podcast episode 15. It really does lay bare my goals for 2020, how I achieved them and what I spent to get there. Oooh juicy!
I also love to look at – How did I get the sales in 2020? What worked well? What didn’t work so well? What can I do more of in 2021? How can I upgrade doing that? Do I need to learn a new skill? Do I need to work with a new coach?
What mistakes did I make and how did I resolve them?
Often I learn so much more from my mistakes than my successes, again because we are so well trained to look at where we messed up, but I take it one step further and look at how I can improve the process or method for next time so that I don’t make that particular mistake again whether it’s a red flag with a client that I ignored, or a particular software that isn’t playing ball or a step in my methods that isn’t actually that relevant any more and has made me go off on a tangent which was unnecessary. All these things are very human and key to making me a better business owner.
What have I learned about myself this year?
I love to reflect and I meditate every day. I write down key insights so that they don’t plague my thoughts and make me feel like I’m a rubbish person. The insights can be about minute details or big campaigns or something that felt oh so relevant at the time. And if you feel like with this particular question oh I’m far too busy to reflect on what I’ve learned, then I’d like to direct your attention to the fact that I’ve had my busiest year ever, and when I make time to reflect it actually makes me more relaxed and more productive.
Does my business look how I want it to look?
Does each service I offer look how I want it to? How many people did I help with each service this year? I collect my testimonials and review them, it’s enormously uplifting. I even go one step further and inject more of my social media captions + written content on my website with the words used in the testimonials.
Then I sketch out my ideas – what are my goals for 2021? How can I upgrade what I offer so that I can push myself forward? We can only grow when we’re outside of our comfort zones, a wise woman once told me that and I have never forgotten it.
So there we go, some valuable questions for you to pose to yourself and think, you know what, you’re stronger than you think, you’ve done well, you’ve made good choices, and you’ve found brilliant solutions.
P.S. If you liked this do come and check out the rest of the episodes here