SEO is the most revered as well as the most dreaded word in the world of internet. A good knowledge of SEO can give your online business a boom and if you try to mess with the SEO… you very well know! Be it a newbie or the veteran player of e-commerce; everybody keeps chanting the sacred hymn of ‘Search Engine Optimization.’
SEO is the most discussed yet most misunderstood topic in e-commerce. Whenever we talk about SEO, most of us think only about keywords, backlinks, content, and meta-tags ignoring other major factors such as Image Optimization.
Why do you need Image Optimization?
Image Optimization is one of the simplest and most effective tools for SEO yet ignored more than often due to lack of knowledge.
If used wisely Images can prove to be the most valuable SEO asset.
A wise use of Images on WebPages simply means Image Optimization. It helps the web page to rank higher in organic search results. It also helps in decreasing the loading time of page thus resulting in higher traffic, more clicks and a higher conversion rate.
Now the question arises how to do this Image Optimization? This article will give you a deep understanding of Image Optimization tricks and techniques.
1. Use Original Image; Don’t Violate the Rules of Copyright
Among all the tips and techniques of Image Optimization, this one deserves to be on top of the list because all your labor will be wasted if you are caught violating copyright rules and may also end up in expensive law-suit.
Originality is unique, and Uniqueness always stands out.
Copying someone else’s image will adversely affect your search engine ranking as Google keeps track of the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data to know the originality of images.
Remember not to let anyone else use your original photo either. This also affects your ranking. For this, you can always use Google image search and report the site using your photos without the right.
2. Use Only Relevant Picture on Your Webpage
After originality what matters most is the relevance of the picture you are using. You cannot put pictures just to make your post look attractive.
Google bots are getting more intelligent with every update. So when they are ‘crawling’ your image, they also read the texts around, and if there’s no relevance, your ranking will go down automatically. If you can’t think of any relevant image to your content, then you can use info-graphics for the visual appeal.
3. Use Proper Image File Extension
After having an original and relevant picture for your web page what you need to understand is the file extension that suits best for your purpose. There are basically three popular image file extensions used on the web.
JPEG is the most common file extension for images as it provides best quality image even when compressed or resized. It works with multiple colors, pattern, shadows to display high-resolution image in small file size and is supported universally.
PNG is mostly used for logos as it allows transparent background, unlike jpeg. The image quality of png is very high, and it does not degrade in quality even after multiple resaves. However, the file size of png is greater than jpeg, and this can increase the page loading time.
GIF extension is a bitmap image format that is ideal for simple art and animations. You can use gifs for a company logo or other decorative website elements. This extension is a big no-no for images and photographs on the website.
4. Use an Optimal File Size for Your Image
Images make a web page visually attractive, but they also hamper the page loading time. A longer loading time means higher bounce rate and lower return on investment. No one today has time to sit and wait for your page to load. And even Google uses the page load time as an important factor in their ranking algorithm.
Well, optimizing image file is no rocket science in today’s time. There is a company like Designhill that provide small business tools like image resizers where you can solve your image size problem with just a click. With this image resizing tool you don’t need any expert knowledge for gaining expert results.
5. Write the Image File Name in Plain Understandable English
There are certain works for which you should not rely on technologies; naming your image file is one among them. Obviously, your mobile, camera, computer all are always ready to give your image a name but don’t let them do so. File names like IMG_98526551 are not going to help your website in any way. Your file name of the image tells Google in which search result to put that particular image. Use a proper name for your image in plain, understandable English so that search engines can bring your prospective clients to your site.
6. Pay Proper Attention While Writing Alt text for Your Image
When you are uploading an image on your website give some time to write a proper alt text for your image. Alt text or alternative text tells the search engine what exactly is in the image. Writing alt text is optional (except in America), but it’s highly recommended to make it a mandate for yourself to write alt text. If you don’t do so, your image cannot rank high in image search because search engines can only read they cannot see the image.
(Do you know there are many people who cannot see and rely on screen-reading software for web-surfing? The alt text helps them to understand the image which we can see easily. As a human being, it’s even our moral duty to write alt text as clearly as we can to explain the image.)
7. Don’t Miss the Title Tag of Image
Title tag aka Hover text is also an important attribute of an image that is uploaded on a web page. It is the text that appears to the user when the mouse pointer hovers over the image. As told earlier search engines cannot see images you should leave no opportunity to explain your image to the search engine. However, it is recommended not to write the same thing you wrote on your alt text tag. You can use keywords in your title tag. Expert analyzers believe that a title tag increases the chance of getting clicks from your visitors.
8. Manage Image Thumbnails on Your Site
The small file size of the thumbnails help the site load faster and let the visitors scan through the website without waiting for each large size images to load. Shrink the file size of the thumbnails as much as you can. A slight degradation in image quality as thumbnail does not matter much. And, yes write different alt text for the original image and the thumbnail. The sites with images as well as thumbnails have a high probability to get clicks as they stand out in the crowd of ‘text-only’ search results.
9. Make a Good Use of XML Image Sitemap
Don’t expect search engines to come and organize images of your site for presenting in search results. Organize the list of images on your site yourself and inform the search engines whereabouts of the images. This organization of images can be done by using any XML sitemap. Using sitemap does not guarantee to index of your images by Google immediately, but it’s one of the best ways of Search Engine Optimization especially for images.
10. Enhance Image Loading Speed for Different Screens
There was a time when web surfing was done only through computers; now users are surfing through tablets and mobiles too. If you don’t increase the loading speed of your images for the responsive screen, then your images will take ages to load on mobile screen and you’ll lose your potential customers. If you wish to hold on your web traffic, then you’ll need a little knowledge of CSS. In the responsive site, a small image is put in <img> tag and a larger version is changed through CSS for non-mobile users.
11. Optimize Your Logo and Other Decorative Images
You can experience a longer loading time even after optimizing your image size if you don’t put an eye on your site logo and other decorative images such as background wallpaper. Use CSS designs rather than real images in the background and wherever possible to make your site lighter. Compress other decorative images such as borders, buttons etc. as much as possible.
12. Gain Your Own Personalized Experience
There are all sorts of tips and tricks but the best thing is to learn from your own experience. Follow all these generic tips, evaluate the results on your site and make a specific rule for yourself. Test and analyze which image drives more converting traffic and why? What’s the exact result of image resizing? How many images in a page are working best for your site? This analysis will give you your own customized rules for Optimization.
Keep Optimizing and Getting Traffic!