It’s Saturday morning, so you know what that means – time for another SEO Tip. This week’s tip is so simple some of you may wonder if it’s even true, others may wonder why they haven’t been doing it already.
You have all been told for years that you must add lots and lots of images to your sites. You’ve learned that visitors enjoy looking at pictures of houses, that blog readers are pulled in by having large images at the top of a post.
But is it possible to bring more traffic in from the search engines because of how you use images on your sites? The answer is yes. Today we’ll cover a few ways to help your site rank better using images.
Before we continue, take six minutes and watch these three Google Webmaster videos:
- Should I expect increased traffic if I optimize my images?
- Matt Cutts Discusses the Importance of alt Tags
- Does Google consider the URL of an image?
That pretty well sums up this post…oh, you want more? Fine, keep reading.
Use Descriptive File Names for Images
In video 1, Matt flat out tells us – YES OPTIMIZING IMAGES WILL INCREASE TRAFFIC. What else do I need to say to convince you?
Matt suggests using descriptive file names for your images. Don’t keep the bland,boring name your camera created, what good is a name like “dsc00234.jpg”? You should use a carefully thought out descriptive name. You shouldn’t get too carried away with long file names, but I do suggest using multiple words. Of course, keep in mind our tip from last week and use dashes to separate the words in your file name. Possibly use something like: “3576-lakeview-street-homerville-tennessee-kitchen-1.jpg”.
Use ALT Tags for Images
In Video 2, Matt reinforces something I and others have already told you – ALT tags for your images are important. However, he does tell us something new; it’s OK to use slightly longer, more descriptive text instead of just “cat”, “house” or “motorcycle.” So what does that mean for you? It means that when you take pictures of a house you are listing, you have an opportunity to really do a good job of describing the property through photos, in a way the search engines not only understand, they want. Consider putting something like this in your ALT tags: “123 brookehaven road, Jasper, Wyoming – master bedroom – MLS 123456”. Be creative in your description, use words people will be using when they search the web.
Image File URLs
In video 3, Matt reminds us that the URLs of files help the search engines figure out what is in the picture. Depending on how your site is constructed, this might take a little bit of planning. Rather than just drop all you images in a generic folder named “images”, or named for the date you uploaded them (like WordPress does by default), perhaps you should consider creating a special structure to store them in. You could get pretty detailed if you wanted to take the time. You may want to create a folder structure like what’s shown here, based on your state, county & city names. Of course, YOU should know your web traffic better than I do, use names you KNOW people use in searches, based on your keyword research.
How well did you listen to video 3? Go back and listen to it again, starting from about the 25 second mark, ending at about the 40 second mark. OCR and Meta-data for the images? Now we’re talking.
OCR, if you don’t know, stands for Optical Character Recognition. Matt’s comment implies that Google is able to READ and understand the text with in your images. How can you use this? Start adding a crisp, clear title to all of your images. Make it easy for them, place the text on a plain background and use a simple, non-swirly font.
OMG! Not more meta tags! Take a deep breath, relax. It’s not more geeky tags. Image meta-data is often added automatically by digital cameras and it can be edited by many image editing tools to add all sorts of information. The image to the right is a screen shot taken from within Adobe Photoshop, but the software that came with your camera may also allow you to edit your files like this. Place your descriptive text within these fields before you upload them.
I know this was a lot of information, but I’m confidant you can manage it.
When working with images, keep the fortune cookie in mind; how it looks on the outside is important, but sometimes it’s what you can’t see that is more important.
What freelancers need to know about new tax form 1099-NEC
(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) There’s a new tax form for freelancers, but don’t hyperventilate. It’s not as bad as it sounds.
Dear freelancers and workers of the gig economy: You can stop banging your head on your desk. Or your table at a café. Or any hard surface near your couch.
The words “new tax form” are terrible, horrible, no good words for anyone, let alone independent workers. In this case, the “new” form is really a resurrected old one that replaces the 1009-MISC you’ve been getting from clients who’ve paid you more than $600.
And that’s the most important thing you need to know. Make sure your clients have sent you the right form – 1099-NEC – by Feb. 1, 2021. NEC stands for nonemployee compensation.
Of course, there could be all sorts of exceptions and blah-di-blah that might apply to you. Look to Forbes.com for the gritty accounting details, including why this came about.
TL;DR: The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) aims to fight tax fraud by closing the time between when independent contractors can file their returns (Jan. 31) and some employers’ deadlines for submitting their own tax forms to the government (sometimes as late as the end of March). That meant fraudsters could file tax returns and claim a refund before the IRS had time to match up the numbers.
Speaking of matching up numbers: Make sure the number in Box 1 on the 1099-NEC is the same number you have in your records. Paying taxes on money you didn’t earn is what experts call “not good.”
So… you are keeping those records as you collect payment, right? Just a tip: If you’ve been keeping track of invoices, payments, and business expenses on a spreadsheet, you might want to check out the free accounting software Wave.
The IRS is going to release more info about filing requirements later in the year, but it’s always a good idea (for freelancers especially) to get a head start on collecting and adding up the receipts.
You may even minimize your banging-head-on-the-table headaches in 2021.
Sci-fi alert: Building cities on quantum networks becoming reality
(OPINION / EDITORIAL) The University of Bristol’s Quantum Engineering Tech Lab has created quantum networks that demonstrate the possibilities for future cities.
The University of Bristol is home to the largest quantum entanglement-based computer network in the world. Its Quantum Engineering Technology Lab, led by Dr. Siddarth Joshi, has been spearheading the development of a method of encryption called Quantum Key Distribution that may soon revolutionize information security.
First, what is quantum computing, exactly? (Giving a concise answer to that question is sort of like nailing jelly to a wall, but here goes…)
Much like a light switch, a conventional computer circuit can only be in one of two states at a time: On (1) or off (0). That’s basically how binary code works – by representing information as a series of discrete on and off signals, or high and low energy states.
Quantum computing makes use of a third kind of state that exists between those two.
Think about it this way: If classical, binary computing models rely on energy states of “yes” and “no” to communicate data, quantum computing introduces a state of “maybe.” This is because at the quantum level, the photons that make up the information in a quantum computer can exist in multiple places (or energy states, if you prefer) at once – a phenomenon known as “entanglement.”
Entangled photons cannot be observed or measured (i.e., tampered with) without changing their state and destroying the information they contain. That means quantum computer networks are virtually hack proof compared to traditional networks.
This is where Dr. Joshi’s team is changing the game. While previous attempts to build a secure quantum computer network have been limited to just two machines, the QET Lab has been able to establish a quantum encrypted network between eight machines over a distance of nearly eleven miles.
As Dr. Joshi puts it, “until now, building a quantum network has entailed huge cost, time, and resource, as well as often compromising on its security which defeats the whole purpose. […] By contrast, the QET Lab’s vision is scalable, relatively cheap and, most important of all, impregnable.”
If it can be successfully scaled up further, quantum encryption has countless potential civic applications, such as providing security for voting machines, WiFi networks, remote banking services, credit card transactions, and more.
In order for an entire population to be able to utilize a quantum network, fiber optic infrastructure must first be made accessible and affordable for everyone to have in their homes. In that sense, quantum cities are still roughly two decades away, posits Dr. Joshi. The technology behind it is very nearly mature, though. A simpler application of quantum encryption is practically right around the corner – think quantum ATMs in as few as five years.
Extend your smart home to the mailbox with the Ring Mailbox Sensor
(TECH NEWS) With the rise of the smart home and mail theft, Amazon’s new Ring product is the perfect addition to protect your letters and packages.
Pop the wireless, battery-powered motion sensor in your mailbox, and it will alert you when someone opens the lid or door. You can get a notification in the Ring app on your smartphone and, because Ring is an Amazon company, through any Alexa-enabled device. (So your Ecobee thermostat can tell you you’ve got mail. Cool.)
The sensor’s biggest benefit: You can immediately collect your mail when you get an alert that it’s been delivered. If you’re home.
There’s no camera with live view or speaker for yelling at the thief to drop your stuff, although you can do that with any microphone-enabled cameras near your mailbox.
But if you’ve ringed your home with Ring products, you can set the sensor to turn on Smart Lights or to make the video doorbell or security cameras start recording. If your mailbox is near your front door, however, that will probably already be happening after those devices detect motion. The sensor could be very useful for mailboxes at the end of a long driveway and out of sight of any cameras.
You can preorder the Mailbox Sensor ($29.99) at Ring.com and Amazon.com starting on Oct. 8. To connect the sensor with the doorbell, smart lights, and Alexa devices, you’ll need the Ring Bridge ($49.99).
You may want to keep an eye on Amazon’s new Sidewalk technology, however. Sidewalk is designed to extend the range of your Wi-Fi network. It siphons off a small part of your bandwidth, and that of your neighbors with Amazon-related devices, to create a crowd-sourced neighborhood network.
Amazon has released a list of devices – mostly Echoes and cameras – that will act as bridges themselves, and it’s not yet clear how the Mailbox Sensor will interact with all of that in the future. By the way, if privacy concerns were the first thing that popped into your head when you read that, check out Amazon’s Sidewalk white paper on privacy.
FYI: If your mail is stolen, You should report to the USPS, using their online form. You could report to the police via 311 but know that it’s unlikely officers will pursue the crime.
The best defense against thieves is still a locked mailbox. It’s not fool-proof, of course, but it can make thieves take longer to get at your mail. But if they take the sensor with your mail, or even your whole mailbox, Ring will replace the Mailbox Sensor for free.
You can find out more about the Mailbox Sensor in Ring’s support FAQ.
Business Marketing1 day ago
Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales
Opinion Editorials2 weeks ago
The actual reasons people choose to work at startups
Tech News1 day ago
Degree holders are shifting tech hubs and affordability
Business News2 weeks ago
Hobby Lobby increases minimum wage, but how much is just to save face?
Business Finance2 weeks ago
Small business owners furious over more PPP fraud this week
Social Media6 days ago
We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us
Tech News6 days ago
What is UI/UX? Take a little time to learn for free!
Opinion Editorials2 weeks ago
How Peloton has developed a cult-following