Images are crucial for the content to look more attractive, and engaging to users, but it is equally important in terms of Search Engine Optimization.
You know what images give search engines important contextual information. Second thing, optimized images speed up page loading time, which increases user engagement and website rankings.
If you are looking for the best opportunity to succeed in an SEO campaign, you should know the importance of the basics of image optimization.
The importance of Image SEO has been increasing over time. As per the HTTP Archive, on an average, 60 to 64% of a website’s weight is composed of images.
If we are able to reduce the size of the images without reducing its quality, it will have a positive impact on page load speeds and user-experience of visitors on your websites.
As per the statistics report, 50% of the users love sites which load in 2 seconds. If the page takes more than 3 seconds to load, almost 40% of visitors leave that site, that’s why bounce rate increases.
Image optimization is the only one solution for this issue.
What Is Image Optimization?
Image optimization is the process of customizing high-quality images in the ideal form, size, and the resolution to increase user engagement.
Image SEO is the process of optimizing website images to make them more attractive and accessible to search engine crawlers.
Typically, search engine crawler crawls the website content to provide the most accurate results for its users. The same algorithms are also used for the image optimization as well.
Image optimization is the game-changing strategy to boost your website’s traffic.
Why is Image Optimization important?
Image optimization helps in enhancing the user experience and improving the page speed. It is one of the techniques of On-Page SEO, which can impact the ranking of a webpage.
If the images rank well in the Google image search, there is a possibility to get more organic traffic to your website, which can help you to increase traffic by organic search.
Reduce the size of image without compromising quality, you will see the difference in, your page load time will improve and the user experience of website visitors too.
Improvement in user experience and more interactions with your site have a positive impact on search engine rankings, which improves the user engagement, conversions, and customer retention.
12 image optimization tips for gaining more organic traffic.
Create Unique Images
If you want to rank on the image search and want to capture more attention from the users, then the image should be unique.
Original pictures have better user experience and it helps the content to rank higher on relevant searches.
Just keep in mind that big sized images are more likely to be featured in Google Discover.
Don’t use free stock images or pictures of your product from all angles. Instead, focus on giving images some more thought and personality by adding some extra visuals.
You can add your branding name to the images or work on a theme that gets followed across all webpages.
Give an Appropriate Name To Images
You can do the most valuable thing by giving a targeted keyword name to the image. It’s highly recommended if you give the keyword name that you are targeting on that particular page. It will be great for SEO.
An SEO-friendly image name indicates the subject matter of the image to the search engine.
Random file names don’t help search engines to understand what the image is all about.
Always remember that before uploading any image, ensure the name of the file with relevant, targeted keywords to get the boost in SEO.
For example, if the image is created for a smartphone, it is recommended that the image name of the file as ‘smartphone.jpg’. An autosave file name which is usually in the form of ‘img324.jpg’ won’t get understood by search engines.
Have An SEO-Friendly Alt Text
It is mandatory to have an Alt text (alternative text) to all images, it describes an image. It’s what the browser displays to users when the image is not loaded properly.
We often see when the image won’t load, we get an image box with the alt tag present there. Alt text fits with the image and it makes the picture relevant.
Adding appropriate alt tags to the images help your website to achieve top rankings in the search engines.
Website optimization tools or third party crawlers (screaming frog) can help in identifying which images do not have alt text or have alt text with more than 100 characters.
Optimize Page Title & Description
In WordPress, the image title is usually taken from the file name so you can sometimes leave it as it is.
If you don’t use WordPress or the file has a random title that doesn’t explain the image, rename it with the appropriate keywords as a file name.
All the on-page SEO factors like meta data, header tags, structured data, etc. affects the way Google ranks all your images.
Google Images generates a title and snippet to describe each search result. It helps visitors decide whether to click on that search result or not.
Google gets all this information from various sources, such as page title, caption, meta data, and so on. By providing this information to search engines and by following Google’s title and snippet guidelines, you help Google improve the title and snippet quality displayed for your webpages.
Choose The Best File Type
Most of the images on the internet are of three file types: JPEG, PNG, and GIF.
Each of three file types use a different compression method. It means the sizes between the three file types can vary dramatically.
Google confirmed that page load time less than 2 seconds is crucial for SEO. It’s one of the ranking factors on both desktop and mobile. Choose the most appropriate file type for each image.
Below is a breakdown of appropriate image format usage:
- JPEG file type is for larger photos or illustrations
- Choose PNG when you want to preserve background transparency in images
- Make use of WebP file type instead of JPEG and PNG for best compression
- Use SVG for website logos and icons only
- Avoid GIFs file types
Define Your Dimensions
Image dimensions refer to the size of the image in length and width. The browser automatically resizes all images wider than 720px to make them responsive on the screen.
In other words, if you upload a 6000px size image, the browser will load a full 6000px image to display a 720px image on the screen.
A simple solution is to resize and upload images in the maximum width you need. Just ensure that the image may not be bigger than 720px. It depends on your website’s design.
Reduce File Size
The next step in image optimization is to make sure that your scaled image is compressed so it’s served in the smallest file size possible.
You could export the images and experiment with quality percentages, but we suggest using the highest possible quality images, especially in the popularity of retina and similar screens these days.
When a visitor arrives on your site, it can take a while to load your website, depending on how large your files are. The larger the file sizes, the longer it takes to load a webpage.
If you can reduce the image size of your webpage and increase page load speed, less people who visit your site will click away.
Use Mobile Friendly Images
More than 50% of the traffic to your website comes from mobile devices. If your images are not mobile-friendly and images are not responsive to different mobile screen sizes, they won’t be able to serve a consistent experience to all your target audience.
To make an image responsive to different devices, you need to give a new value to its width property, the height of the image will adjust itself automatically.
The important part is to use only relative units like percentages instead of absolute units like pixels when defining the width.
Add An Image Sitemap
Search engines have more chances to crawl and index your images if they are present in sitemaps.
Whether you add images to your sitemap or create a new sitemap for images, you want images somewhere in your sitemaps.
Google highly recommended that an XML image sitemap helps search engines to find and index each image on your site.
A caption is the supportive text you can see below an image.
It’s a sentence that clearly describes what’s happening in the image and what is an image about. As people read captions, so search engines too.
It is highly recommended using captions because people on the web often read information. Captions will help you to know about the image.
It is necessary to all of you to add a caption to your image, either on top or bottom. The caption added to the image makes it more descriptive about the picture.
Set Images to Lazy Load
Lazy loading images is a strategy where the browser loads images or any other media file only when they need to be shown on the screen.
Lazy loading can significantly speed up long pages that include many images below the fold. It loads them either as needed or when the primary content has finished loading and rendering.
The idea of lazy loading is to improve the page load time. But at the same time, you have to ensure that the user came not only to read the articles but to see images available on the web page.
We all know CDN (Content Delivery Network) is one of the most popular site speed optimizations. Some of the companies that provide CDN services also have a specific CDN for images.
The image CDNs are built around
- To optimize all images and get them available to your visitor as fast as possible.
- An image CDN can speed up the delivery of your images 10x times.
- An image CDN lets you check the transformation, optimization and delivery of images.
- By image CDN you can determine what loads when and how that should work.
For instance, you can say that all your PNG images should be converted to WebP format because these load fastest and give the best image quality.
An image CDN has lots of options to fine-tune the process, but a default setting that’s probably best for the majority of sites.
If you’re struggling to get your content noticed by search engines, keep these strategies in mind before you upload an image to your pages.
Image SEO techniques will improve the likability of your content by both search engines and human users.
Before you begin uploading your image to your site, make sure to follow the image optimization tips from the above list.