Gone are the days when people used to wait a few minutes for a website image to load. Today, we don’t have so much time on our hands. So, if your website images tend to load slowly when a user visits your site, they will head over to another page without second thoughts.
What's the solution?
Two words - Image Optimization. It will reduce bounce rates, improve page loading time and your SEO ranking.
As a result, more of your visitors will turn into customers.
In today’s post, we’ll talk all about how you can optimize your website images to improve your SEO. Let’s dive in!
What Is Image Optimization?
To put it simply, you can say that image optimization is the process of modifying images in a website to improve the site's performance. This way, any user visiting your website is presented with the lowest possible size of the image.
However, the visual experience does not get hampered at all.
In this process, you reduce the size of the images without affecting their quality. You also have to give them the right dimensions, format, and resolution. The most popular techniques for image optimization are image compression, image caching, and using vector images.
- With image compression, some of the image's header information gets removed. Also information about unnecessary pixels is removed such that it does not affect the display quality. This way, the image's size and detail are reduced. The most popular image compression file formats are .jpg, .png, .gif, .webp, .avif
- Image caching is the storage of images in the browser's cache or proxy server for faster access. This will help your website if you have images that are shared among several other pages and are unaltered most of the time.
- Vector images use graphic parameters and coordinates to create a scene. These are smaller than raster images and speed up your site without hampering image quality.
When your website images are optimized, more of your product images or service pictures will appear in the Google rankings. And you know what follows better search rankings? More conversions!
10 Ways To Optimize Images For SEO
If you want your site to attract visitors, downloading an amazing stock image and placing it on the site won’t do you much good.
To know all about the best techniques for optimizing your photos, have a look at these pointers we’ve listed below.
1. Use An Original, High-Quality Image
When you want to make an impression on the user’s mind, choose original high-quality images. You can always start with stock photography sites such as Unsplash, Pexels, and Flickr. If you want to use better quality and unique images, sign up for an account on Shutterstock. Most of these sites will offer you tons of options and types to select one.
To make your site stand out, try putting original images shot by you or a professional photographer. Original images will help your SEO ranking immensely.
You can also filter these images by license. In the same way, you can find pictures that can be legally used for commercial purposes and even without copyright issues.
2. Give Your Images Descriptive File Names
Google considers the text, not only on your web pages but also on the image file name. Therefore, giving your images descriptive file names, including keywords, is excellent for search rankings.
Descriptive and keyword-rich image file names steer the attention of search engine crawlers towards the content of your website.
So, if you have image files named something like “IMG_788019”, change them to something that describes the image. For example, “Gaming_Chair – Red.jpg” makes more sense. Therefore, if a user enters the search term “red gaming chair,” they are more likely to find your site.
You can also check your website analytics to figure out the keyword patterns your customers search for and implement them accordingly.
3. Resize Your Image
If you have images on your site that take more than 4 seconds to load, you can bid farewell to conversions! Your user experience gets hampered this way, as large image files will reduce the page loading speed.
To reduce your website bounce rates, you have to reduce your image sizes. However, you cannot compromise on the picture quality, as it will reduce its effectiveness.
You can use tools to compress the image sizes so that it doesn’t affect the loading speed.
Gumlet will automatically optimize all images for your website, without you having to manually resize every image before uploading.`
4. Choose The Right Image File Type
Before you place any images on the site, you need to make sure they have the correct file type. The standard file formats which you have at your disposal are –
- JPEG – Offers you the best image quality at the smallest size possible. The format is widely supported. However, it uses lossy compression for digital images, possibly affecting image quality.
- PNG – It offers you better image quality, transparency support, and a wider color range. However, the file sizes are bigger, and the format is not easily supported on all browsers.
- GIF – Graphics Interchange Format (GIF; /ɡɪf/GHIF or /dʒɪf/JIF) is a bitmap image format. It uses lossless data compression technique to reduce the file size without degrading the visual quality.
- WebP - This image format was developed by Google and is used to create small but good-looking images.
- AVIF - This is the latest image format which is created to make images smaller while maintaining the same quality.
5. Add Structured Data To Your Image
Structured data is added to any website to help the searching engines to crawl and understand the content. It also helps to classify the page content. This feature is helpful for any search engine to locate your website images faster.
If you want most of your images to show up on search results, you can add structured data to the host carousel. A carousel is like an image slider on a website which displays multiple images together.
Using HTML, you can add a summary page that describes each item on the carousel. Inside this page, each description directs the user to a separate page all about that item.
6. Include Image Captions
Captions are short texts; usually, one-liners are placed below an image to describe it to the site visitor.
If they are eye-catchy, the reader is immediately hooked and more likely to read the content below. So, it’s a good practice to put captions below your images to make them stand out.
Note: While writing your caption, throw in a keyword or two! It will help in improving your domain authority and your website’s visibility.
7. Add SEO-Friendly Alt Tags
Whenever a browser can’t load a webpage image, it shows text in its place. You’ve probably seen it, and it’s called an alt tag or alternative text. You can also see this text when you hover over an image.
These alt tags are excellent for your website’s SEO ranking. Placing appropriate keywords in these tags will allow any search engine to rank your site better. This feature will be fantastic, especially if you’re selling products. However, make sure not to stuff your alt tags with keywords. One or two will do the trick!
Along with that, also avoid placing keywords in alt texts for decorative images. It is important as search engines consider it as over-optimization, which can affect your SEO negatively.
8. Add Image To Sitemap
Sitemaps will work wonders if you have product image galleries on your site.
It’s a little difficult for web crawlers to identify images that aren’t mentioned in your website source code. To ensure that these unidentified images are found, you must mention their location on the image sitemaps.
For those who already have a sitemap, you can create a separate sitemap just for your images. Otherwise, you can add image data to the existing sitemap.
If you have a WordPress site, you can use plugins such as Google XML Sitemap for Images to create sitemaps conveniently.
9. Serve Images Through Image CDN
Another great way to present your images on the website is by using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) such as Amazon CloudFront. These online services have become famous for hosting images and videos for websites.
But why? It’s because they are good at enhancing your page loading rates and overall page SEO.
If you run a successful website that receives tons of traffic daily, a CDN such as Gumlet will be the perfect way to boost your site performance. Furthermore, By reducing the distance between your hosting servers and your visitors, you can improve latency issues
Thus, investing in an excellent CDN to serve your images will be a great move.
10. Test The Final Image
After implementing all the tips and tricks mentioned above, now is the time to test your images. So, check your webpage analytics to see how the images are performing. In case they aren’t doing much, try some tweaks.
For example, you can increase or reduce the number of images per page to see how they affect conversions.
Sometimes, you may have to use only original images and not downloaded stock photos. It may increase your site’s authenticity to the users. Play around a bit to see what works and what doesn’t.
Why Does Image Optimization Matter?
As you might have already understood, image optimization is vital for your site's SEO performance. If you want to be found and remembered by your customers, you need strategically optimized images on your site.
Let’s take a closer look at why image optimization is such a big deal.
Improving Search Engine Ranking
When was the last time you read an entire blog that took forever to load? Can’t remember?
It’s because you probably didn’t finish reading the blog and headed over to another website.
Just like you and many others out there, Google doesn’t fancy slow websites. Google declared this way back in 2010 when it introduced page load speed as an essential ranking factor.
Therefore, well-optimized images show up more in the image carousels than others. A perfect combination of title, text, format, and alt text will enhance your SEO significantly. These images are also easy to index and store by search engine crawlers.
When your well-optimized images increase your SEO rankings, more visitors will find your site. So, the chances of them turning into customers increase automatically.
Not to mention, these images will also enhance your page loading speed.
If you still have doubts, ask yourself this question – Will you buy a product from a site that takes too long to load? Most visitors tend to abandon a site that takes more than 2 seconds to load. As images take up a lot of a webpage's weight, image optimization will help your page load quickly.
If you have an e-commerce website, you need to focus more on page speed and image optimization. It’s important as most users won’t buy anything from a sluggish site and will move to another site. Even if you’re selling the best products in the market, remember this – low speed, low conversion rates.
Optimize User Experience
In website optimization, images play very important role and are integral part of any website. Moreover, user experience is directly dependent on page load speed and visuals.
It's because websites offering a user-friendly shopping experience have properly optimized images. Their modified product images help in boost page speed and support the responsiveness of the site.
Websites with optimized images(responsive images) look and perform fabulously across all devices such as mobiles, laptops, and tablets. As most users like placing orders from their smartphones, providing them a smooth user experience is very important.
As a result, people will spend more time there and are likely to buy something.
That, in turn, improves your website's returning rate. It means your happy customers will return to your site to check out other products and refer others to your webpage.
Summing It Up
Images are an indispensable part of your SEO strategy and need your utmost attention. Optimized images on your website will increase your conversion rate and brand visibility.