Archive for April, 2011

Image Optimization Strategy: Client Q&A

I received this inquiry from a real estate SEO client, and thought I would share my response -

Q: “I recently read an interesting pointer in Realtor Magazine regarding naming photos. It recommends taking care with image names and not to leave camera-coded numerical file names on the images – rather retitling with relevant words. It further claims Google will recognize the keywords associated with those images and direct consumers to your website. I wanted to ask what technique/strategy you would recommend when naming photos during the download process. I noticed that when I hold my cursor on the photos on our blog, the photo title is revealed. Any insight or guidance is appreciated.”

A: Yes, it is very important to re-name images when you upload an image to your real estate website or blog! This is known as image optimization, and it is similar to optimizing a blog post or web page. Search engines do crawl photos (i.e., when you conduct a Google Image Search) so it’s best to optimize the photos when you upload them. You can do this by using your SEO keywords whenever possible: in the title, alt. text, or description.

Take a look at the image below – which is a screen shot of an image upload on WordPress – to see the steps involved in optimizing an image:

How to Optimize an image in WordPress

It’s also important to make sure that the keywords you are using are relevant. If you have an image of a generic beach – Wesagussett Beach, for example – title it as such. Using one of your keywords that has nothing to do with the image such as “Weymouth Homes for Sale” will not help your rankings and will not drive the relevant traffic that you are looking for. Additionally, the image alternate text (alt. text) and descriptions should be relevant and accurate.

To give an example, if you have an interior kitchen photo of 1482 Elm Street, don’t name the image <1482ElmStreetKitchenWeymouth>

  • Make sure that the words have spaces so the search engines can crawl them as words and not 1 giant keyword
  • You can make a title that specific, but if you are looking to increase your SEO rankings, you can name it something like “Elm Street Interior Kitchen Weymouth Home”. That way, you have the specifics of what street it is on if people are searching for it, as well as one of your SEO keywords  (“weymouth homes”) incorporated into the title.

What is an Online Marketer?

I think there are a lot of people who think they know something about online marketing. The fact is, most of them really aren’t qualified to call themselves online marketing professionals.

As a side note, we’re trying to hire an online marketer right now. If you want to learn more about the position, please click here: Online Marketing Analyst. In fact, it’s the slew of resumes better used as kindling that we’ve received for this position that has inspired this post.

First, let’s start with the difference between marketing and advertising. I’ve written about this before on this blog. Advertising is salesmanship expressed through a different medium. Advertising is the practice of taking whatever you’re selling, and expressing its virtues through print, TV, radio, you name it. Advertising is the message.

What is a Marketing Analyst?Marketing, on the other had, is the practice of getting your advertising message in front of as large an audience of the right people as your budget will allow. So, once you have that message, you need to figure out how to put it in front of potential customers. You need to ask where your potential client spends their time? What media do they consume? Which websites do they visit? What keywords do they search on? How expensive is it to bid on those keywords or optimize my site to rank organically for those terms? What does an ad cost in a specific publication and how many people get that publication?

In short, marketing is a lot more than just advertising.

If you’ve never had a job that required you to be results accountable and measured the effectiveness of your marketing or advertising campaign (regardless of what you called it) then you haven’t been in marketing. You’ve been in advertising or copy writing or PR.

Often, Marketing and Product Management go hand-in-hand. Why? Well, a Product Manager is going to look at costs and what those costs get them. The cost of building a new feature and how many new customers that might satisfy or existing customer the new feature may help to retain. A marketer is going to look at an ad buy or the amount spent monthly on, say, SEO, and then look at what sales were produced by that component of their budget. Both are trying to maximize or optimize their budget to get the most positive effect on the business.

Marketing Analyst Job

If you want experience with marketing, but no one is going to give you the job, you can do this yourself – that is, if you’re in one of those non-marketing “marketing” jobs;

  1. Start by figuring out what you think is success: maybe it’s traffic to a website or the number of users who fill out a form on your website. Maybe it’s the number of people who open your email newsletter or the number of folks who click on a link in that newsletter.
  2. Now, take a benchmark. Look at a few newsletters and look at your open rate, look at your click-through rate, and write these metrics down. Next, ask yourself, what can I do to improve these numbers?
  3. Make an “Educated Guess” Change. If there are 12 things you could do, pick the one which you think will have the biggest impact and make only that change. Now, compare your numbers. You may have to do this several times to see a change.
  4. Benchmark and Repeat. Now, with your new benchmark, make another change. Repeat.

Now, you’re optimizing. Now, you’re a marketer. If you’ve made a measurable difference in the success rate of the campaign, now you have some experience that you can talk about when you interview for a real online marketing job.

Good luck.

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