Learn how to optimize site images with ranking keywords!

Adding images to your site is strongly correlated with stopping users midtrack from their browsing and pulling them in with a quick click. 

Your organic click-throughs can be increased as a result of optimizing search-relevant images that appeal to the users visually.

The attention span of an individual in the year 2000 was 12 seconds. It is safe to say that the global availability of the internet has decreased the span of attention over the decades.

According to a Microsoft study, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. This information can help us build a content strategy that captures more attention, and what best to include in your SEO sitemap than some engaging pictures?

Optimized images are able to give an accelerated user experience which is 3x more memorable than the written content. Apart from creating a pleasant user experience, image optimization also improves your page speed. If you are new to image optimization, let’s start from the basics: 

What is image optimization?

Image optimization, also known as image SEO is reducing the size of your image without losing quality. It can help a user get the content they are looking for in a flash by reducing the amount of data they need to download. 

Why opt for image optimization? 

Generating leads towards your site is a serious SEO sport. After getting the number of organic spikes you have invested in, it is a bummer to have potential leads turn away due to a site’s slow loading speed. 

On average, users wait for roughly 2 seconds before leaving a site that does not load. To increase your rate of ROI, it is important that you optimize your images to enhance the incoming traffic of site visitors. 

Now that you understand how image optimization works, let’s have a look at some tried-and-tested optimizing do’s and dont’s:  

1. Name Your Images

When uploading your images on site, it is a good idea to rename them accordingly. For instance, if your image name is something like “0038483028”, Google crawlers will have a hard time picking what your content is about. 

Search engines not only crawl through the written content on your list but also scan the content written along with the image. Keeping your image keyword-rich will help your page rank in search engines. 

Let’s suppose that you want to set your online floral shop, and you are located in Boston. An appropriate image name for this picture below would be “spring-flowers-in-Boston.”

This will not only help your customers locate you through google images but if they do come across an optimized image on your site, they are more likely to remember it! 

Optimizing Fact #1 – Image optimization decreases your site’s loading speed thereby facilitating users in rapid site access.

2. Alt Attribute With Care

Alt tagging is a necessary optimizing trick. Once you upload your image on your site, the alt text option looks something like this:

If the user’s internet is lagging, it will take them longer than usual for the image to load. In which case, your site will display the alternate text in place of the image. It isn’t much but it does help them stay on the page if you write catchy alternate texts that are relevant.

In addition to that, it also helps Google algorithms to understand what the image is about. Alt tags coupled with an image name can increase your web accessibility which lets users find your site with ease. 

If you still have difficulty choosing a tacky alt text for your image, here are a few pointers:

  • Describe your image in plain language 
  • Include the model numbers or serial codes for your product 
  • Keyword stuffing is a bad idea 
  • You can be penalized for over describing, don’t use an alt tag for a descriptive image

Optimizing Fact #2 – Images should have a maximum of two to four-word relevant names.

3. Photo Editing Softwares

Unlike the popular myth of photo editing sites being expensive, not all editing softwares cost a lot of money. In fact, you can find many free photo editing sites that can decently optimize your images. 

Admittedly, Photoshop is a professional editing software, but there are other good tools that can do the job for you. Not only are they free to use but come with the appropriate dimensions and angles required for different social media handles. Some examples include: 

Optimizing Fact #3 – Image optimization includes adding relevant captions, headings, and subtexts.

4. Compress Images To Reduce File Size

Compressing an image is a crucial part of image SEO. Reducing the byte size of your image files can also decrease the loading speed of your page. It’s 2020, and we are dealing with a narrow bracket of attention span. Site speed has been a serious struggle for even big brands. 

For instance, 

  • Amazon experienced a 1% drop in sales for every second’s increase in the site’s loading time. 
  • Google experienced a 20% loss in revenue when search results took an extra 0.5 seconds to load.

So, what is the optimal file size for images? SEO analysts believe that 70 kb is an apt image size. If you want to use heavy files that are around 300 kb, you can reduce them to around 100 kb to increase page speed. 

What are some good tools for compressing a file image? Luckily, we have a number of generous sites that can optimize your images for free. To name a few, you can use:

Optimizing Fact # 490% of the data that the brain transfer is visual.

5. Choose An Appropriate File Type

JPG, PNG, SVG, and GIF are some common types of image files. To understand what image format fits best for your images, it is important to know the two types of images: vector and raster

Vector Images vs. Raster Graphics 

Vector images are made up of points, polygons, and lines. They have almost zero pixelation when you zoom in which makes them a good fit for high-resolution images. In other words, the lines and curves used can make the images appear smooth even if you compress or resize it. 

Raster graphics also called the bitmap image are made up of rectangular grids that provide depth to the images. They are tough to tackle and if you are not careful enough, they can seriously hamper your site’s loading speed. 

To make you understand better, here is an example of a vector image and a bitmap image:

Once you have considered the image type you are going to use for your site, pick the applicable format that goes with it:

  • For vector images, SVG is the only format that can display high resolution due to its flat imagery.
  • For raster graphics (bitmap image), you can use jpg, png, or gif. 

That said, JPEG can have the smallest file size for an image with no clear differences in image quality. Does this mean you should always go with JPEG? Not at all! 

JPEG is a suitable image format for photographs while PNG is perfect for text/line drawings and Gif is appropriate for moving images.

Optimizing Fact # 5The recall value of visual content is 65% while the recall value for written content is 10%.

6. Optimize The Thumbnails

For an e-commerce site, it is a good bet to have your products listed visually through thumbnails, but that can also take a toll on your site. If it takes too long for your site to load its category pages, you can lose a potential customer. 

To optimize thumbnails for Google SERPs, make sure your thumbnail image is squared. In the aftermath, if it isn’t squared, Google does it automatically which can potentially distort your thumbnail image. 

Although thumbnails are a tacky way of gaining an immediate click, if your content misrepresents the thumbnail in any way, users could revert away from your site which will decrease your rank in SERPs. 

Thereby, aligning search intent with your content and thumbnail is a huge plus! For instance, anyone looking for a skirt with the product number 568-wu should end up seeing the skirt’s image with the product number on top when searching. 

Optimizing Fact # 6 – According to an HTTP archive, images make about 21% of the site’s weight.

7. Utilize Image Sitemaps

Considering that Google can deliver around 90% organic traffic to your site, it would be wise to go through the image publishing recommendations given by them. If your site uses Javascript or other fancy ways of introducing your product gallery, it is necessary to create a sitemap for Google to take notice of your images. 

Why is creating a sitemap important? Search crawlers have a hard time identifying images that are not webpage source code. Hence, for crawlers to pick apart the images from your site you need to let them know of their exact location by creating an image sitemap. 

The relevant details of the image needed to create a sitemap are:

  • Caption
  • Geographic location
  • License 
  • Subject matter
  • Title

To get a unique sitemap URL, you can use a sitemap generator to avoid duplicate messages for all site images. You can use this Google guide to create a separate sitemap for all your images. 

For website develops, here is an example of an XML sitemap for your images:

8. Beta Test Your Images

From creating a search index for your images to changing file formats, we have discussed everything that optimizes your images, but how about testing them? 

To see if your optimizing skills are paying off, you can test your images across the following three domains to convert your visitors into customers: 

  • Product Images 

Maintaining a swift page speed equals selling more products. To increase your click-through rates, test different numbers of product images on your page. You can conduct three trials of displaying different numbers of product images.

For getting significant results, specify an equal time frame for all your trials. There is a probability that you will get more revenue if your first page has an array of product images, but the only way to be sure is to test it. 

  • Product Listings 

Similar to the number of product image displays, do a few trials to see how many products listed per page enhances your buyer’s site experience. Maybe a round of 40 to 50 images per page makes them more eager to explore your inventory and hence, they would be more likely to leave with a checkout! 

  • Product Angles 

Instead of shooting a single angle of your product, experiment with different product angles or preferably different locations or lighting to portray a real image of your product. 

One of the common reasons customers are afraid to click the checkout button is the stark contrast between the product shown and the product delivered. The only way to fight that stigma is to provide more angles. 

Key Takeaway 

The most important thing to consider is to add images that are relevant to your content. Other key takeaways include: 

  • Choosing the right format
  • Appropriate on-page image SEO
  • Reducing the file size
  • Creating an image sitemap

Image optimization isn’t always easy, especially if you are new to SEO. If you are having any difficulty optimizing the images on your site or you want to create an effective image SEO strategy, you can take professional help from our SEO experts at Quipit Media.