Image Optimization? Does this sound something new to you?
Nah!! A Digital Marketer will not. To a digital marketer, the term image optimization is familiar as it is one of the factors considered for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Images play an important role when it comes to e-commerce, travel, and media websites. Research says that on average, around 64% of a website’s weight is comprised of images. What do these images have got to do with SEO? Remember if we can reduce the size of these images without reducing the image quality, then it will have a direct impact on page load speed and user-experience of visitors on your websites.
Proven results say that half of the users love sites that load within 2 seconds. 40% of the visitors tend to leave sites that take more than 3 seconds to load, thus increasing the bounce rate. Guess the solution to this… Yes, its image optimization.
Figuring out what is image optimization?
Let me make things simple and easy for you. In simple words, it is the process of delivering high-quality images in the right format, dimension, size, and resolution while reducing the file size of your images so that your page load times remain low.
The next question that arrives is why is image optimization important?
As I have said before on average people prefer those websites that load within 3 seconds, if not then there are chances of a user exiting the website which will lead to an increased bounce rate. Image optimization can help solve this problem as well as others like, improve SEO ranking, boost conversion, improve SEO ranking, enhance user experience and supplement other SEO efforts.
Understand these factors in detail.
- Improves page load speed
Page load speed is considered an important part of your website performance. Page load speed is nothing but the time it takes to a web page to load completely. Remember that your customer expects your site to be loaded as fast as possible i.e. within 3 seconds and over half of the mobile users will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
According to HTTP Archive, if you are optimizing 64% of your website’s weight, which is images, you can ensure your website loads as quickly and smoothly as possible for your better user experience and overall website performance.
To speed up your website you need to compress your images and optimize them to load quickly. To analyzing your page load speed, you can make use of tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Web Page Test, and ImageKit’s Website Analyzer, which will give you complete insights about your web page.
- Enhance your user experience
Optimization of an image means an opportunity to enhance your user experience. A better user experienced can be considered when your page is loading fast on all devices. Optimized images are also more useful and relevant images for your website visitors. The fact that makes an image optimized is the proper title and alt text, which is used by both search engines and screen readers in order to understand what your image is all about. Properly formatted and descriptive alt text on your images makes a world of difference to website visitors who have visual impairments and are using screen readers. This not only improves accessibility and user experience, but it also benefits your on-page SEO.
- Improves SEO ranking which boosts conversions
It was made clear that page load speed is a ranking factor in 2010. Even Google prefers fasters websites just like its users. After the roll-out of google update regarding the page load speed, it is clear that the faster websites rank better in the search results as compared to slower ones.
Who doesn’t want to rank on top for its website Pages? For every digital marketer, search ranking is very important. Thus, image optimization holds a great significance in the page load speed of your web page. When your search rankings improve it means you can capture more users and possibly get more conversions.
It is noticed that shoppers who are not satisfied with the web page speed or performance do not buy from the same site again.
- Supplements other SEO factors
Image optimization is an integral part of on-page SEO which helps supplement other SEO efforts. Proper images i.e. optimized images can enhance your page and increase the engagement on it. They create a chance of showing up in the image carousels on search engines. The best chance of performing in the search will depend on a combination of format, title, title text, alt text, and more all go of image. Optimized images have a chance of earning social shares and even earning backlinks from other sites.
All this will ultimately lead to driving traffic back to your site and also building your brand’s authority online.
These are some of the reasons why your image optimization should not be overlooked:
How you can go about optimizing your images?
Here’s how images can be optimized for the web:
- Name your images descriptively and in simple words
When it comes to optimizing images in SEO, it’s important to use relevant keywords to help your webpage rank on search engines. You need to create descriptive, keyword-rich file names.
For eg: your camera will always assign a generic name to the image (dysomw23.jpg), say suppose you have an image of a rose flower so, instead of that it would be much better to name the file ‘pink-rose-2019.jpg’. Want to know how does this help? If a customer is searching for pics by the keywords like a pink rose, rose pics 2019, pink rose clicks 2019 than it would be visible to them. Always think about the pattern in which your customer will search and name the image.
Next, you need to focus on image alt and title attributes that will help your image rank higher in search and build the page’s relevancy and improve user experience. alt attributes are the text alternative to images when a browser can’t properly render them whereas title attributes appear when visitors hover over images.
- Choose your image dimension, size and format carefully
Coming to the dimension of the image consider, you are a fashion designer and you are selling tops on your website. Your one such top is specialized for its back pattern. In this case, you need to place multiple photos of the same top if you’re intending to sell it. It would be in your best interest to show pictures of:
- Front pattern of crop top
- Back pattern of crop top
The best way to take advantage of these extra photos is to fill out your alt attributes by creating a unique alt attribute. For e.g.
Crop-top-front-pattern.jpg -> using the alt attribute of: alt=”crop top front pattern “
- Optimize your thumbnails
Thumbnails are used to quickly showcase products without taking up too much real estate especially on eCommerce websites. Remember your page load sped can be the victim of your thumbnail. They are presented during the critical points of the shopping process. There are chances of losing your potential customer if your thumbnails take time to load.
So, what is the best practice to follow?
- Keep the thumbnail image size as small as possible.
- Make your alt text widely different.
Crop-top-back-pattern.jpg -> using the alt attribute of: alt=”crop top back pattern “
The descriptive alt attribute will help potential searchers land on your website.
What about the file/image size? No matter what the actual size of your image is to try to compress them and get them within the size of 100Kb or less than that. This will ultimately reduce the page load speed of your website.
Remember JPEGs are usually more SEO-friendly than PNGs as they offer better compression levels. Try to use the vector-based SVG file format for Logos and other high-resolution, computer-generated graphics.
- Beware of decorative images
Which image can be considered as a decorative image? Any non-product image can likely be considered a decorative image. Without a doubt, decorative images are more appealing to a webpage, but they can result in large combined file sizes and slow load times. Check the file sizes of all the decorative images on your site and if needed use a template that minimizes file sizes. Here are some ways to reduce the file sizes of your decorative images:
- Make your images PNG-8 or GIFs that makeup borders or simple patterns
- Use CSS styling as much as possible to replace any decorative images.
- Improve images with tools
Once you download the images you want from sources like Shutterstock or DepositPhotos add uniqueness to your website. Tools like Canva lets you enhance image appeal with personality, text, and elements. You can add a personal message with the help of Canva. Customize your social media images with different tools to create eye-catching images.
- Use Image Sitemaps
Image sitemaps will help get your images noticed by Google. Web crawlers can’t crawl images that are not called out specifically in the webpage source code. So, how to let crawlers know about unidentified images? For this, you must list their location in an image sitemap.
The following line in your robots.txt file will help you display the path to your sitemap:
The alternative to this is submitting your sitemap to Google using the search console. Using sitemaps is certainly a positive step towards image SEO.
Now I hope it is clear to you what is image optimization and why it is an important part of Search Engine Optimization and the most important how it can be done.
Coming back to image optimization, the conclusion is that when it comes to images do some more work rather than creativity i.e. optimization in order to get traffic to your website and to provide a better customer experience.
If you are looking forward to getting image optimization done in the right way for your website than Digital Zeromile is the Agency, you can hire which is in Pune. They are one of the leading Digital Marketing Company in Pune providing services since 2015 and have got experienced team to handle customer requirement.