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How to Create SEO Friendly Slideshows in WordPress

Slideshows are just one part of your website, but they often have important locations on key pages. I’m sure you’ve seen many slideshows on the top of website homepages. For that reason, we definitely recommend optimizing your slideshow for search engines. The MetaSlider plugin is highly optimized for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

In this guide, I’m going to give you five key SEO suggestions for your WordPress slideshow:

Slideshow SEO Advice #1. Optimize Your Image Names and ALT Text

Before you upload your images, rename them with the keywords you are targeting. We recommend using a specific image name rather than a generic one. For example, if you are writing about the wedding of John Smith and Jane Jones, your image name should include those keywords. When you take an image form your iPhone, that image may have a name similar to “IMG_1272.jpg”. We would recommend renaming that image to something such as “john_smith_jane_jones_wedding.jpg. This helps search engines understand what your image is about and improves your chances of being found online.

Once you’ve uploaded your images, make sure to enter the ALT text. This is a short description of the images on your site. The ALT text is read to visually impaired users by screen readers. It’s helpful because it allows these users to understand the content of the image, even if they can’t see it. In MetaSlider, you can add ALT text to Image Slides by clicking the “SEO” tab, as in this screenshot below:

ALT Text in MetaSlider

SEO Advice #2. Maximize Your Image Speed

MetaSlider is probably the fastest WordPress slideshow plugin, according to independent experts.

Here are our four general slideshow image size recommendations that will help improve the SEO of your slideshows:

  1. Don’t use too many slides. We recommend 5 or 6 slides at the most.
  2. Select a good file format for the images. For many years, we have recommended JPG images. However, a new option to consider is the WebP format. We have a guide to using WebP images in WordPress.
  3. Choose a good height and width for your images. This entirely depends on the layout of your site, but our general guideline is that the minimum width of your image should be the width of the slideshow “container”.
  4. Check the file size of the image. We recommend that your slideshow images are not more than 150 KB in size.

Slideshow SEO Advice #3. Add Your Text Captions

For good search engine optimization, it’s a good idea to add add text captions to your slides.

There are three ways to add captions to MetaSlider Image Slides, as you can see in this screenshot below:

  • Media caption: This will automatically fill in the caption using the default WordPress “Caption” field for the image.
  • Media description: This will automatically fill in the caption using the default WordPress “Description” field for the image.
  • Manual entry: You can choose your own caption from this image. This allows you to fill in the text you want. To improve the SEO of your slides, it’s always worth adding text if it matches the style of your slideshow.
MetaSlider captions

The style of the captions is controlled by the slideshow theme. Click here for details on all the themes in MetaSlider. If you’re using MetaSlider Pro, you can also create your own themes. This screenshot below shows how captions appear in the default MetaSlider theme.

MetaSlider frontend captions

This next screenshot uses the “Highway” theme. The caption is placed on the left and also half-way up the image.

MetaSldier captions with Highway theme

The good news is that search engines can read this caption text from your slider. This screenshot below shows text in a MetaSlider slideshow. This text is indexed by Google and can be found by searchers.

MetaSlider and search engines

Slideshow SEO Advice #4. Choose an Accessible Plugin

Accessibility is an important topic for WordPress developers. We want our websites and plugins to be helpful to as many people as possible. If we build accessible websites, people with disabilities can use them. And search engines love websites that everyone can access. So accessibility is a key part of SEO.

Here at MetaSlider, we work hard to make sure you can build accessible slideshows with our WordPress plugin. Check this guide to building accessible slideshows.

SEO Advice #5: Test on Mobile

Search engines, including Google, now prioritize mobile-first indexing, meaning they crawl and index the mobile version of a website first. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, its ranking in search results may suffer. If your site is mobile-friendly, you’ll benefit from lower bounce rates, longer time on site, and increased engagement. These are all factors that search engines consider when ranking websites.

How does this impact slideshows? One common example is captions. If you have a detailed caption, it can look fine on a desktop site, as in this image below:

Desktop slideshow

This kind of caption will not translate well to mobile devices. This next screenshot shows the same slideshow on a smaller device:

Mobile slideshow captions

This problem can be solved in MetaSlider. Here you can choose to hide your slides on some device sizes. We provide four breakpoints by default:

  • mobile
  • tablet
  • laptop
  • desktop
Mobile tab in MetaSlider

Each icon has a tooltip with details of what this option does. For example, if you click the tablet icon, you’ll see the message, “When enabled this setting will hide the slide on screen widths of 768px to 1023px”.

Mobile tooltips in MetaSldier

This “Mobile” choice gives you two options to optimize the slideshow for mobile devices:

  1. You can create different slides for different device sizes.
  2. You can hide elements, such as caption, on different device sizes.

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