Lightbox is a generic term for a WordPress plug-in that manages image galleries. Most a build using the WordPress jQuery library. The appearance and specific features vary based on which lightbox plug-in you use, but the general premise of the plug-in allows users to click on small thumbnail-sized images and view larger versions without leaving the Web page. Many plug-ins create a ghosted black background on top of the Web page and the larger image on top of that background. Users can see see the details of the Web page behind the enlarged photo and click a "Close" button to return to the page.
WordPress, the blogging and website creation platform, consists of a series of Web pages, blog posts and software plug-ins. WordPress developers have created a number of different photo gallery plug-ins under the name Lightbox. Depending on how these plug-ins are built and configured, the use of these plug-ins may impact your search engine optimization.
What is Lightbox
Different Types of Lightboxes
When looking at different lightbox plug-ins in the WordPress plug-in directory, you'll first want to pay attention to the reviews and updated date. Note if the plug-in has been tested with your current version of WordPress and if the developer is still offering support. Choosing an up-to-date plug-in is important. Second, you'll want to review the demos of each plug-in and see if you like the way things look. Plugins can have different placement for buttons, different border colors and styles. You'll want to choose a plug-in that works with the design of your site.
SEO Features to Look For
When evaluating lightbox plug-ins, make sure that you select one that works with the image's metadata. The plug-in Lightbox Gallery, for example, includes options to display all of the image's metadata in the slideshow. When searching the WordPress plug-in database, read though the plug-in description, FAQ and other notes sections to confirm that the plug-in uses metadata. Unfortunately, plug-in documentation is not always uniform, so you may need to read all three sections to find metadata information.
The lightbox plug-in will display the SEO friendly metadata, but it will not store that data. Instead, you will need to enter in the ALT tag, caption and description information when you upload your images to the WordPress media gallery. In addition to typing this information, you should also include your descriptive keywords in your image file names prior to loading into WordPress.