Whether you are running on online ecommerce store or have a blog, you are going to have images on your site. Images have power, after all. A picture can attract potential customers to your site, and a few good photos will give life to the words. Because of this, you also need to know a valuable skill known as image optimization.
What Is Image Optimization?
Optimizing web images is all about reducing the overall file size without losing image quality. This is meant to keep load times snappy. It also involves SEO. In other words, any images on your site can help you rank higher on Google and other search engines out there.
Let’s find out how to optimize images.
1. Name Images Properly
While it might be tempting to keep images named the same default line that comes straight from the camera, you really shouldn’t. In terms of SEO, you want relevant keywords in the image name, because that helps with rankings. Further, you need a descriptive file name, since that helps with optimizing the image. Consider adding 1 or 2 keywords and another adjective.
For example, if you have an image of blueberries for a health website, you might title it “healthy-superfood-blueberries.jpg” to describe it.
2. Optimize The Alt Attributes
Why do you need alt attributes, you ask? Whenever a browser cannot render the image or a visually impaired individual visits the website, the alt attributes are there to describe the image. Even if the image gets properly rendered, you can also hover over it to see what the text is.
Adding alt attributes also helps with SEO. If you include keywords that are relevant, you will rank slightly better than a competitor that overlooks alt attributes.
Be sure to describe the image plainly. If the image is of a product, be sure to use the serial or model number. Also, avoid keyword stuffing.
3. Choose Dimensions Wisely
Although this is less for stock photos and more for product images, the rules can still apply for selecting quality images. First, if you are selling products, provide multiple angles to help you sell. Think like a car dealership. Show the interior, the rims, the shiny features, and the engine. Then add the alt attributes, tacking on the descriptor to separate images. For example, if you have two pictures of a red Mustang, you might have “red-Mustang-trim” and “red-Mustang-side-view-engine.”
Next, never ever put the largest image on the webpage then attempt to shrink it down via source code. This increases page load time, because the file size is still enormous.
4. Reduce File Size of Images
Since half of all customers won’t even wait 3 seconds for a page to load, you need to ensure your page is loading as fast as possible. If you are using large files, you need to reduce the size. How do you do that? Some websites will automatically compress the files, but if you are using a host that doesn’t, you will need open the image in Adobe Photoshop or an alternative and use the “Save for Web” command.
That will adjust the image to lower the size without sacrificing quality.
5. Optimize Thumbnails
Thumbnails can work wonders for your ecommerce site or promotional material, but having hundreds of little images scattered across your page will wreak havoc on page load speed. Make thumbnails as small as possible. You can even let quality slide a little, since the images are so small anyway. Also, you should vary the alt attributes of thumbnails. Don’t just copy and paste the attributes from the bigger images. You don’t want thumbnails indexed as the larger versions.
In short, image optimization is all about keeping stunning visuals as functional as possible. Now that you know some strategies for optimizing images for web, you can start to use them more appropriately and get ranked higher. Be sure to use alt attributes and sizing to your advantage.
Image optimization can be complex, though, so if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!