Image optimization is integral to the success of your website and online store. These days. consumers start their search for a product online. If your product images are optimized, they are more likely to end up in front of your target customer. But without proper image optimization, you are wasting a valuable SEO asset. We put together the right strategies to get your images on top of Google’s image search.
Search engines not only crawl the text on your webpage, they also crawl your image file names. In the same way keywords in your blog post can help it rank in the search engines, the use of keywords in your images can help them rank as well. That said, creating descriptive, keyword-rich file names is absolutely crucial when it comes to SEO.
Take the photo above as an example. Instead of using the file name assigned by your camera to the image (e.g. “IMG_122018”, it is ideal to name the file on how your target customers will search for it. Think about the naming patterns they could potentially use when searching for your product. Search terms may include:
A good way to find out the keyword patterns your customers use is by examining your web analytics. If this does not work, a quick Google search can help. Just make sure to use relevant and useful keywords when describing your images.
The alt attribute provides a text alternative for an image if a user cannot view it. This includes screen readers and browsers that block images. Although not technically tags, the alt and title attributes of an image are commonly called alt tag or alt text and title tag. Images with correctly formatted alt attribute can help you rank better in search engines.
When filling out the alt tags for each product image on your website, make sure to keep it concise and self-explanatory. It is advisable to keep it to 125 characters or less as some screen readers cut off alt text around that character count. It also makes sense to include a keyword in the alt text of at least one image on the page. Avoid keyword stuffing – Google can detect ALT tag manipulation and stuffing and might penalize you for doing so. It is also advisable to include the model number or serial numbers of your products.
Again, using the photo above as an example, the best alt tag might be: Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High Og Chicago
The source code of an alt attribute will look like this:
<img src=”Jordan-1-Retro.jpg” alt=”Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High Og Chicago”>
This is where you fill out the alt attributes.
JPG, PNG, and GIF are the most common image types on the web. JPEG is best for real-world images like photos of people, animals and nature as well as still images like food, clothing, etc. What is great with JPEG images is that they can be compressed considerably without losing the quality of the image even at a small file size. They work with many colors, shadows, and patterns to display a high-resolution image. They are also the most popular photo type in the digital space.
GIF, on the other hand, is meant for animations, icons and decorative images. They are an excellent choice for small images like your company logo due to its small file size and transparency functions. They are also lower quality than JPEG images. You can also use GIFs for those simple images with only a few colors on a webpage. However, they are not recommended for images and photographs.
PNG is like a marriage between both the GIF and JPEG format. It is a good alternative to GIFs as it supports transparency. It can also be used for logo images, simple decorative images and thumbnails as the image appears small, yet the resolution is high quality. Much like JPEG, it can render an image with lots of colors. However, PNGs are likely to get larger files that could disrupt the page’s performance. Thus, it is not the best option for web sharing.
Here’s a good example of the difference of each image format as shown by Shopify.
In conclusion, for complex photos and images, especially the large-sized ones, it will always make sense to use JPEG. Using GIF in excess may hurt your SEO so it is better to leave it behind. They don’t work well with large product images, either. PNG can be used alongside JPEG on a single page without harming your SEO.
Most online shoppers can only wait around 5 seconds before they leave the website. Keep in mind that the bigger the file size, the longer the load times. To avoid this problem, you can reduce the size of each image by compressing them.
Whether you only have a handful of images or thousands of them, there are different image editing tools that can compress images individually or in batches. You can also install plugins on WordPress that can help you compress your images without damaging its quality.
So how big should image files be? If you are running an eCommerce website, the ideal image file size should be below 70 kb. You should also be mindful of your decorative images such as background images, buttons and borders. When combined, they can result in a large file size and slow load times.
Image optimization can be a tedious job when you are just starting out and you already have tons of images loaded up on your website. It pays to have the right tools and systems in place to make it less stressful. Plus, a reliable team of graphic designers who can take this burden off your plate. If you are looking to hire a team of experts for your eCommerce site, we can set-up the right staffing solution for your business. Give us a call today.