When it comes to showcasing or posting different images on your website, there is one major step that is necessary – image optimization. Image optimization plays an extremely important role when it comes to building a website successfully.
You must be wondering what exactly is image optimization and why it is important for your website. Read on to know more about image optimization and find tips on advanced image optimization.
Have you ever thought of questions like why your images are not shown when you do a Google image search? Did you ever wonder if you had to add alt attributes to your images? Or did you ever get confused about JPEG and PNG formats of images? It is now time to delve deep into these and clear out all your doubts.
In order to understand the above questions, you will first need to understand the concept of image optimization and how it is helpful for your website, along with how to correctly optimize your images.
What is Image Optimization?
Image optimization is the whole process of reducing your image file sizes without compromising on the image quality in order to lower the page load time. Image Optimization is the complete process of making the image suitable for Search Engines and users.
This includes size, design, Alt texts, and many other aspects. Image optimization also includes image SEO. This means to get your images ranked on Google to drive traffic through these images on Google and all the other search engines.
Now that you know the definition of image optimization or have a rough idea of what it means, we can go into why image optimization is important for your website.
Why is Image Optimization Important?
The website you have created is not something that can be perfected in one go. It needs to be regularly updated, changed, and evolved just like the change and growth in technology, user expectations, and business modules. This update also includes the images on your website.
Your images have a huge impact on your whole website. They affect the performance of your website as well as the user experience you are offering through it.
The whole process of image optimization can be a little intimidating when you have to lay focus on which images you should prioritize first. Even though it might not be the first task on your job list, nevertheless it is an important one.
Here are the top three reasons why image optimization is of utmost importance:
1. Improves the loading speed of the page
In terms of content, images tend to be really heavy. If they are not optimized properly then there is a high chance of your website being slow, and you might also face certain loading issues.
According to a study published by Google, more than 50% of mobile users don’t wait for the page to load if it hasn’t opened up in the first 3 seconds. This indicates that your website needs to load quickly and smoothly in order to offer a seamless user experience.
If you have an e-commerce website, then your website can’t even take a chance of being slow, as your revenue depends on your site. Compressing and optimizing your images will help them load faster, making sure that your website speeds up, loads faster, and improves the user experience you want to offer.
2. Enhances the UX of your website
You get another opportunity to better the user experience of your website, thanks to image optimization. Not only is your website faster, but the optimized images on it are also more relevant and useful to the visitors. The images now have a proper title.
Alt texts are added to them. These are used by screen readers as well as search engines in order to read the images and understand what they are about. This not only improves the accessibility and betters the UX for the website visitors, but is also beneficial to your on-page SEO.
3. Improves the SEO ranking of your website
We all know that Google does not love websites that are slow. Even marketing leaders like SemRush and Moz have drawn many different laterals as to why a slow website can affect your SEO.
Optimizing the website speed will definitely increase the chances of it to perform better on search engines. As the size of the image plays an important part in the page load speed, it makes image optimization even more important, in order to get a high SEO ranking.
How to Optimize Images for SEO?
Image SEO has two major objectives. One is to rank higher on Google Image Search. The second is to improve the visibility and the optimization of the website in all.
In order to optimize your images for SEO, there are a few factors that you will need to keep in mind. Although we have written about them in details below, the list of the factors that you need to look into and tasks that you need to do are provided here:
- Choosing a Proper Image
- Adding an image file name
- Look into image dimensions
- Reducing the image size, not the quality
- Adding proper Alt Text
- Create image sitemaps
- Indulge in Lazy Loading
- Use CDNs
- Implement Browser Leverage Caching
- Be Unique
Here are The 10 Advanced Image Optimization Tips:
1. Choose a Proper Image
As images are the most important factor here, it is very important to choose proper images. This also means choosing the correct format of the images. While there are many different formats available, the two which are preferred on the web are the PNG and the JPEG.
PNG images have better quality but are extremely heavy files. With JPEG files, on the other hand, you might lose some of the quality but that loss can be easily adjusted.
When choosing the images, you need to be extra careful and sure about them. Because once posted live on the website, it is not wise to change images again and again. So take your time and select the ones that you know you want to showcase on your website.
2. Create a proper image file name
When we talk about SEO in images, creating keyword-rich and descriptive file names is good practice. You need to customize the image file names in order to get the best image SEO results.
This is because the image file name will alert Google and the other search engines to create a subject matter that revolves around your file name. Usually, image file names look like IMG_1567684.jpg. This does not say much about the image or the subject, which doesn’t help with the SEO rankings at all. So it is important to change the default name to a unique one.
3. Look into the Image Dimensions
There has often been an issue with the dimensions of the images that need to be uploaded. They might not be of the same pixel dimensions as the display available on the website.
For example, if your image is 2500×1500 pixels, but your display area only supports 250×150 pixels, then the loading time of your website page will be longer as the entire image has to upload as well.
The differences between these sizes are massive. And if you use multiple images that are bigger than what your website can support, then that will lead to an increased page file size. Hence it is extremely important for you to resize your images according to the maximum display dimension of your website.
4. Reduce the image size, not the quality
According to the data provided by the HTTP Archive, almost 21% of a website’s weight is made up of images. Uploading images that are not compressed can make the webpage bloated and heavy.
Therefore, it is always a good idea to compress the images before uploading them to the website. There are different software available online as well as designing software like Photoshop that allows you to compress the image size without compromising the quality of the images.
Another way of knowing how your images are affecting the loading speed of your webpage is with the help of Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool.
5. Add proper Alt or Alternative Text
Alt texts are nothing but the text alternatives to the images. Search engines don’t understand what an image is all about so the alternative text helps them to understand the context of the image. This means that when the users are not able to access the image, the alternative text offers them a description of the image.
Adding alt text is helpful as they enable the interpreters to explain the image to the visually impaired. Alt text helps users to understand the entirety of your content, both images, and words.
These texts also help raise your rank and visibility among the different search engines as they add to the relevance of the content that you are providing and helps the web searchers understand what you want them to know.
6. Create image sitemaps
This is usually a common case with slider galleries and product images. Creating the image sitemap is not a very complicated process. For each URL that you list for your website, you basically need to add extra information on the images that you have added on that page.
7. Indulge in Lazy Loading
Lazy loading is the perfect way to cut down on all the unnecessary downloads for your website. This means that whenever you add an image or a video as a resource to your webpage, the resource will give you a reference of a small placeholder.
When a user or a website visitor will browse your page, the actual resource, ie., your image or video, will be cached by the browser, and the resource will then become visible on the user’s screen.
8. Use CDNs (Content Delivery Networks)
Almost all websites provide all their files, including images from a single server. In this case, if your server is in India, the users in India will get faster access to your content.
But a user who is in the USA will have to wait for the image to travel and load on the device he is using. This slows down the loading speed of your website.
This is where CDNs or Content Delivery Networks step in. They cache your files and images across a global network of servers so that whenever a person visits your website, he will get the image from the server that is closer.
9. Implement Browser Leverage Caching
Leveraging your browser caching simply means to specify the time during which the web browsers will keep the images locally stored.
This way the user’s browser will be downloading a lesser amount of data when he or she is navigating through your pages. This, in turn, helps to improve your page’s loading speed, making your website faster.
10. Be Unique
Another important factor that you need to consider is choosing and posting unique images. If you fill up your website with stock photographs instead of original and unique images, your entire website looks artificial.
This doesn’t sit well with the website visitors, and the websites usually go unnoticed. The best option here is to provide images that have been exclusively created for or provided to you exclusively.
In order to ensure that your website images have been properly optimized, you need to follow the above tips and procedures. This will ensure fast page loading speed and high rankings on search engines. Optimizing the images is not something that you can avoid.
As the voice search technology advances and gets updated, you and your website will be able to make the most out of it with proper image optimization. So follow the steps provided and get optimizing.
Still not confident of optimizing the images on your own? We at Cheenti can help you with that. We will not only provide you with effective image optimization but will offer you a 360-degree solution for all your digital marketing and SEO/SEM woes. All that you will need to do is contact us and get together with us for a chat. We will take care of the rest.