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In tourism, images are a very powerful tool to inspire consumers and are in fact becoming increasingly popular in its usage by a variety of tourism companies. Visuals are key drivers for inspiration and desire to book a holiday, making images one of the key tools in this digital era. Besides having images within websites and social media, it is also important to optimise the images and page elements to promote the ranking in search. This means that image optimisation as well as improving general loading speed of these images is crucial for any tourism business aiming to rank high on image search (Searchenginewatch 2013).

IMAGE OPTIMISATION

Google does use images for ranking purposes but the actual size of the image does not influence the ranking. For Google it is essential that images of any size load at exactly the same pace no matter of the aesthetics of these. Different tools are available online that can improve the overall speed of images loading and optimise images’ rankings in search engines. Especially on mobile, Google is actually understanding the fact that consumers are more patient than on desktop consumers.

It is essential that images actually get seen on search engines, making it absolutely crucial for these to be ranked highly in search. Tourism businesses need to ensure that all images and content displayed on websites is unique, as Google does not show images or content in search engines that is copied from other sites and appears on the web very often. For destinations, this is certainly not an issue, as there is a wealth of images.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

There are a number of things that should be considered when working on optimising images for search.

1. Name images appropriately

It is very important to deal with images with a certain care. This already starts with naming images in an appropriate manner, ensuring that the image names reflect the actual nature of the image or what it is trying to represent.

2. Alt Attributes

Alt attributes are essentially an accessibility tag, that is used to define what appears on an image when it is not accessible.

3. Title Tags

Tourism businesses should also consider using a title tag, meaning that consumers hovering over an image will see a visual caption. This is of particular importance for Google, to include another layer of visual information for users hovering over an image.

4. Page Copy

Google is using the page as a whole to determine whether an image should rank high within a search or not. Relevancy is key when ranking images, so an image placed on a page with text is considered as more accurate.

When tourism businesses start working on optimising images, this is not a quick and easy task and requires time. The benefit of optimisation efforts also need to be considered when getting started with image optimisation to ensure that destinations and tourism businesses are not investing time and effort into image optimisation and do not get any additional traffic through these images.

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