8 Tips for Image Optimization

By: on September 26, 2017 Categories: Digital Marketing, Web Design, Web Development

image optimization-SEO

Images are used as an important tool for engaging with your audience, image optimization will provide a good user experience and will help reduce site load time. Also, optimized images have more chances to rank higher in Google search.

Almost all websites are graphics dependent and are using a lot of images, so leaving these images uncompressed and in the wrong format will dramatically influence page load times by slowing down your web.

Here are 8 tips for image optimization:

1. Use the right image format

For image optimization the first thing to do is to choose the right image format. There are three file types that are mainly used: JPEG, GIF, and PNG.

JPG is pretty much the standard format, which is often used. It’s the best format for photographs or illustration images that contain lots of colors, shadows, gradients, and patterns. It allows you to save the image in high quality, low quality or anywhere in between.

For eCommerce JPEGs are the best choice. They provide the best quality and the smallest file size.

GIF format is used for simple art and animations. It supports transparent background, but is limited to only 256 colors and because of this you should never use it for product photos.

Use GIFs for thumbnails, decorative images, company logos and various page elements of your website.

PNG has very small file size and it is recommended for simple decorative images and images that have text in them, or if a transparent background is needed.

Most image editing software can save images to any of the file types mentioned above.

2. Reduce image size

Reducing the image size is one of the most important step for image optimization. Image file size has a big impact on website loading speed and we all know that most people have little patience when it comes to slow loading websites.

If you have an eCommerce business it’s critical to find a good balance between image quality and image file size when you save an image for your site.

Depending on the program you are using or your preference, you can reduce image size:

  • before saving the image,
  • while saving the image,
  • or save the image, then reduce the image size.

3. Save images for the web

In Adobe Photoshop there is a specific command called “Save For Web” that optimizes the image file for displaying online. When using this command, it’s recommended to adjust the image to the lowest file size acceptable while checking on the quality of the image.

There are also other online tools you can use for image editing. For basic compression, you can use a simple editing program such as GIMP. For more advanced optimization you will have to save specific files in programs like Illustrator or Fireworks.

4. Downsize your thumbnails

Thumbnails are great for eCommerce websites, they allow a quick scan of category pages without taking too much space.

They are also displayed in the cart page, which is a key step towards ending the shopping process, that is why you need to handle them carefully. Make sure that they don’t slow down your website and make your thumbnail file size as small as possible. It is recommended also to separate them from the main pictures.

5. For WordPress Install the WP Smush plugin

If you are using WordPress, you can install a helpful plugin called WP Smush. This plugin optimizes your images and reduces their size up to 80%.

After you’ve installed it, when you upload an image, WP Smush takes that image and optimizes its size without compromising on quality.

6. Choose the right file name

Search engines crawl the text on your web page, and they also search for keywords within your image file names. Give new descriptive names to your images, this way you make it easier for search engines to find them.

A good idea for image optimization is to monitor your website analytics, and see what phrasing patterns your customers use in their searches. Select the most common naming patterns used, and apply that formula when you are naming your images.

7. Write SEO-Friendly Alt Text

Google places a relatively high value on alt texts to determine what is on the image, but also to determine the topic of surrounding text.

The alt text (or alt tags) is added to an image so there will be a descriptive text when the image can’t be displayed. When you add the alt text, make sure it includes the SEO keyword for that page and is related with/ describes the image.

For eCommerce images of specific products, include both the full product name and the product’s ID in the alt tag, so it can be easily found.

In WordPress when you upload an image, you can set a title and an alt attribute. The image file name is added by default in the title attribute, but it’s recommended that you write a proper alt text for every image you add to a post.

8. Use image sitemaps

Google image sitemaps will help you get your images noticed by Google. On these sitemaps, it is important to add specific tags for all of the images. Add all the necessary information to any sitemaps you have or will create. You can also create a separate Sitemap to list images.

It’s not guaranteed that, by using sitemaps, your images will get indexed by Google, but it will definitely increase the optimization of your website.

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