Image optimization is the basic steps for your SEO campaign. As the Search Engines are getting smarter and more intelligent, the process of achieving a good search ranking is getting more complex.
Now it takes much more than just quality content to get to the top.
There are many factors that contribute to showing up well in search engine rankings, one of the most important of them is on-page optimization. On-Page Optimization is the pillar of your SEO and one of the important on-page optimization factors is image optimization.
Images make your webpages more appealing.
More likely than not, there’s an image on every page of your website. Without the proper optimization, however, you’re wasting a valuable SEO asset. Plus, the larger the file size, the longer it takes your page to load, and the higher your bounce rate will be.
Image optimization creates many advantages for your image assets, including better user experience, faster page load times, and additional ranking opportunities, both within the traditional and image search results.
Although visual search technology has made great strides of late, search engine bots are unable to identify the content of an image; they rely on the text associated with the images to fully understand what the image is and how it relates to your content or the topic of your page.
But which factors are most important to ensure your images are findable and don’t slow down your site?
To help you ensure you’re optimizing your images properly, here are six basic tips to get you off to a great start
Optimizing Your Images for SEO and Speed
Speed plays an important role in SEO and user experience. Search engines consistently rank fast websites higher. This is also true for the image search.
Images increase your overall page load time. They take longer to download than text, which means your page loads slower if there are several large image files to download.
You need to make sure that images on your site are optimized for the web. This can be a little tricky to get used to since many beginners are not experts in graphics and image editing.
The best way to optimize images is by editing them on your computer using photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop. This allows you to choose the right file format to create a small file size.
The Alt tag is probably the most important image optimization factor. Alt stands for alternate. The text in the alt tag is displayed in place of the image if the image can not be shown or is taking too long to load.
Most of the major search engines are text-based, i.e they can not read images and videos. The location of your images appears as an empty space to the search engines. These empty spaces are not in any way good for your overall SEO. The alt tag not only tells the search engines that there is an image placed here but also informs it about the topic of your image.
Use Original, High-Quality Images
The more original pictures you have, the better the experience for the user and the better your odds are of ranking on relevant searches.
Original images can be made by a designer at your company (e.g., data visualizations, infographics) or taken in-house using a quality camera.
Give your customers a glimpse of your company, or provide a high-quality product image that your visitors will respond to.
Many users ignore stock photos. High-quality original images allow you to stand out in the search results – so show your brand’s personality and attract more people to your website.
JPEG Best Practices
A JPEG image provides the best options for maintaining a quality image when compressed or resized. They work with many colors, shadows, and patterns to display a high-resolution image, and is the most popular photo type in the digital space.
Due to its ability to be compressed considerably, the JPEG forms quality images in small file sizes.
One downside of JPEGs: it uses lossy data compression. This means that the image quality can suffer depending on your settings. There is also no support for transparent backgrounds like there is with GIF and PNG formats.
PNG Best Practices
A PNG image is typically used when editing or downloading files from Adobe Photoshop. PNG is known to handle transparency, and are often used for logo image assets as the image appears small, yet the resolution is high quality.
PNGs can be saved as a PNG-8 or a PNG-24. The PNG-8 file type is limited to a pallet of 256 colors, whereas the PNG-24 will deliver a much higher quality display, but result in a larger file size, which could disrupt the page’s performance.
Use a meaningful image Filename
Just as keywords are important in the URL, the same goes for images. Keyword rich file names can help a SE determine relevancy. Avoid using default image file names like, “DSC0019.jpg” as it does not give much information about the image. Use descriptive filenames with keywords separated by “-” (hyphen).
Create an Image Sitemap
Create and publish an image sitemap to house all of your images in one place. This gives Google and other search engines more ability to discover the images on your site, increasing the likelihood that your images will be displayed in Image Search results.
OpenGraph and Twitter Cards
If you’re providing valuable content and information to your audience, they will share the content on social media. From Facebook to Twitter, content is shared and links are distributed.
If you add the following image tag to the section in your page HTML like this:
<meta property=”og:image” content=””
For OG tags, you can set the image you want within WordPress, but also create your own meta property in HTML. Add the tag to the section of your page, so it looks like above
Following these tips should increase interaction and engagement with your images, reduce page load speed, improve findability in image search results, and strengthen your keyword performance.
The most important thing is to make sure the image and alternative text are relevant to the page. Other key takeaways:
- Reduce file size for faster page load speed.
- JPEGs are generally the best option for website photos.
- Never use GIFs for large product images.
- Improve stock images with tools like Canva.
- Do not overstuff keywords in the alt text, make sure it describes the photo.
- Make sure the image is relative to the page.
- For crawlability, create an image sitemap.
- Create OG and Twitter Cards for social shares.