People often buy with their eyes. This is why image optimization is essential, primarily if you sell your products and services online. Your website can’t just be blocks of text. It has to be equally filled with engaging photos that are relevant to the message that you’re trying to convey.
Who would want to spend time on a bland website, anyway? Even search engines would prefer to rank a webpage with a well-thought series of images over one that has poorly optimized images.
Today, we will teach you how to optimize images on your website and increase your SEO visibility.
So, let’s get optimizing!
What is Image Optimization?
Image optimization is more than just reducing the file sizes of the images on your website. It is more than just ensuring you keep the images in their highest possible quality.
Optimizing your images can also be a great practice for search engine optimization (SEO), especially if you want your decorative and product images to rank higher in the search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
After all, these search engines are constantly “crawling” millions of webpages to get available images—these crawled images will then get organized into specific.
So, if you want to drive more traffic to your website which will eventually convert to sales… follow these actionable image optimization steps laid out below.
Here Are 6 Steps to Properly Optimize Images for SEO:
Don’t Settle for Less – Choose High-Quality Images
Remember that the more unique images you put up on your website, the better chance you get on having these photos stand out and get click-throughs among the growing sea of image search results.
So, take your time to produce or find high-quality images that can connect to your target audience whenever they do a search on your niche. Try to determine if such a decorative photo or product image will stand out once they get indexed by the search engines.
Get the Correct Image Size, Format, and Dimension
It is critical to get the right image file size because it can negatively impact your page load time. Remember that the slower your webpage loads, the quicker your website user abandons your page…
…and once a user abandons a webpage, that sends a signal to the search engines that you are not a reliable website because people don’t like your content as more users quickly exit your webpage without even scrolling down. If this happens, the search engines will eventually put your webpage to lower ranks.
So, it’s best to always try to save your images under 100KB (kilobyte) without compromising their quality. You can compress images to get their lower file size using FREE image compressors online.
However, for images that may require bigger file size such as a banner or a hero image above the fold, save them as progressive JPGs – so images can progressively start displaying while they are being loaded into the webpage. Usually, you’ll see a blurry version of the image and the quality gradually sharpens as it is being loaded.
JPEG is known to be the most SEO-friendly image format because they produce better compression levels, especially if you don’t need images with transparent backgrounds.
PNG is preferred for its lossless compression which means that every time an image is opened and repeatedly saved, it will not lose a single strand of quality. That’s why PNGs are often detailed and high-contrast.
SVG is commonly used for computer-generated graphics and other high-resolution images such as logos and banners.
GIF is used for short and simple animations without using wide color scales. Remember that GIFs are only limited to 256 colors.
When it comes to dimensions, also known as the height and width of your images, just make sure that your graphics are not wider than the largest desktop and laptop screen resolutions which are commonly 2, 560 pixels. Otherwise, browsers will awkwardly scale your images down.
Most importantly, ensure that your website images are mobile responsive.
Throw In Some Keywords in Your Descriptive Alt Tags
This is the part where the search engine “spiders” will understand what your image is all about – by having a descriptive and keyword-rich alt tag or alternative texts on your image, the search engines will be able to categorize it and rank it on top of the search results.
Alternative texts can be added whenever you upload an image on the backend of your website and click on edit—you’ll see a small box labeled either “alt text” or “alt tag”.
Not only that alt tags help your images to rank better on search engines, but they also help visually impaired users to understand your content further. Also, descriptive alt tags will come really handy whenever your images can’t load on your webpage due to some website glitch or a plain intermittent connection.
You can also squeeze in some brand words to boost your SEO visibility but make sure to avoid keyword stuffing. Otherwise, you’ll be penalized.
Commonly, websites have a 125-character limit on alt tags. So, make sure to come up with descriptive yet concise alternative texts on your images that users and search engine “crawlers” can easily understand.
Ensure the File Name is Rich in Keywords
Using a descriptive and keyword-rich filename for your images is also really helpful. It’s surprising how most website owners often overlook this best practice of image optimization.
Adding the correct file names can be one of the easiest tasks when optimizing your website images. Ideally, your image filenames should have carefully chosen keywords that your images can rank for… but without modifiers such as “the”, “a”, “an”, “of”, “in”, and so on.
Also, make sure to separate each keyword with a hyphen (-) so the search engines can easily read your filenames.
- Bad Filename: IMG-485333.jpg
- Properly Optimized Image Filename: SEO-image-optimization.jpg
Take Advantage of Structured Data
If you want to get an even better chance of having your website images stand out more and get badged on image searches, you have to leverage structured data—this is also the most effective way to get attractive SEO visibility.
Also, adding structured data markup to product pages is essential to the SEO of e-commerce websites because this will enable the search engines to display detailed product information in the search results which will then drive more quality click-throughs and conversion to your website.
Now, always remember to only add structured data that is relevant to your webpage.
Submit a sitemap for Your Images
If you submit an image sitemap, you’ll help the search engine robots find your website images and index them better.
Commonly, websites already have sitemaps. So, all you need to do is to include more data to your current sitemaps so you can tell the search engine “crawlers” the exact location of your images in each of your webpages.
Remember that the faster the search engine robots discover your well-optimized images, the faster your photos can show up in the search results, and the sooner you can get more traffic to your website.
If you have a website, you should bank more on well-optimized images to increase your SEO visibility. Remember, people buy with their eyes. So, we hope that you’ll follow the simple steps laid out above.
Image optimization is only a tiny part of search engine optimization but it is really essential. Depending on the website owner, it can be a tedious or daunting task, especially if you have tons of things to do and improve on your website.
That’s why consulting a team of SEO visibility specialists will make things a lot easier for you. We know image optimization like the backs of our hands. Contact us today and let’s get your website looking sleek and ranking on top of the search engines!