Open a website, and images will start popping left, right and center, sometimes adding to the content they are presented with, other times taking away from it.
We see these images on websites play a crucial role in how websites are ranked and how much traffic they generate.
Image optimization is more than just adding random stock images to your website to make your content more engaging for the readers.
According to a study, “Images are the most popular way to search after keywords.”
So, suppose you want to make your business stand out and be noticed.
In that case, you have to leverage the power of images with your content.
” A picture is worth a thousand words” this statement indeed rings true in the case of online content. A good and relevant image can capture your audience’s attention and improve website ranking as well.
Images should be optimized for both “WEB” and “SEO” to reap maximum benefits.
First, I’ll start with SEO image optimization.
SEO image optimization
Image optimization is often ignored when it comes to SEO, even though Google emphasizes its importance for users and search engines.
Images are a great way to discover information on the internet visually. People search for images all the time, and an optimized image can lead many visitors to a website.
SEO optimization of an image has several components; let’s start with the most important one
Imagine an image of a delicious burger on a food blog; the moment you lay your eyes on it, your brain instantly recognizes it, but sadly when Google or other search engines crawl this site, they cannot view this delicious burger.
Instead, all they recognize is that it is an “IMAGE,” and the search engines don’t really know what to do with this “IMAGE,” this is where the “ALTERNATIVE TEXT” comes in.
Alternative text is a word or a term that is positioned as an attribute in an HTML file, and its purpose is to describe the nature or contents of an image.
Alternative text should be descriptive and show precisely what the image is about.
This will help the image get indexed by search engines.
Alternative text is helpful to the search engines; it also helps visually impaired people visit the website and use screen readers.
Sometimes technical issues arise, and images cannot load, so the alternative text is shown in their place.
A well-written description of the image in an alternative text can help visitors determine what the image is about if it is not loaded on the screen.
Here are some tips for writing a good alternative text.
- Be specific and concise
A good way of doing that is assuming you are briefly describing an image to someone on a phone call, and this will give you a good idea of how to describe the image in a few words.
- Do not add unnecessary explanations
Many people start writing their alternative text with “an image of “when visitors and search engines alike already know that they view an image’s alternative text.
- Use relevant keywords
Intelligently incorporating a few top keywords in the alternative text can help in the SEO optimization of the website. So, make sure these keywords are relevant to the image and do not add too many keywords, or else your website may be ranked down for keyword stuffing.
- Avoid repeating text
Instead of adding the same words and phrases already used in the image caption or title, use different text to avoid repetition.
Here is an example of a good alternative text for the image below:
<imgsrc=”burger-1.jpg” alt=”beef burger with cheese ”/>
Alternative text is undoubtedly the most important component in ranking an image, but a few other factors matter for better SEO image optimization.
Some of these factors are image captions, image titles, page titles, and descriptions.
The second most important thing about an image is its caption; Image captions are the words shown directly beneath images.
Image captions do not directly impact SEO, but this text is directly visible on the website.
Good image captions can help grasp a visitor’s attention because Image captions are one of the most-read parts of a website.
Website Visitors read image captions to determine what kind of content is presented on a page. A catchy image caption can convince visitors to view content on the rest of the webpage.
Ensure your image caption is relevant to the image and adds to the image in few descriptive words. Long and irrelevant image captions will surely bore the visitor, and they may leave your website.
Let’s take an example of this image
A good caption for this image can be
“Black headphones photographed with a yellow background.”
A title is shown as a tooltip when we hover the mouse over an element. A title should be relevant, short, and explanatory to help search engines find these images when a search is done.
You can skip adding keywords in the image title because keywords do not help in improving the ranking on search engines.
An image’s title must complement the alternative text of that image. Using the exact words in alternative text and image title should be avoided; repetitive words and phrases can adversely impact website rankings.
The page, title, and description
According to Google, page title and description play a vital role in the image search algorithm.
Adding words and phrases relevant to the images in the page title and the content displayed on the page helps search engines improve image rankings.
Relevant and explanatory information added to the content on the page helps search engines recognize better what the image is about and in what kind of search answers should it appear.
We have covered all the necessary components of SEO image optimization. Let’s now move onto Web image optimization.
WEB image optimization
Web optimization is the process of using tools to improve and enhance the performance of a website.
Ensuring a good user experience can convince a visitor to explore the website further and sometimes even buy a product or service from that website if it’s selling one.
According to Google, “53% of users will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load“.
Good quality images can have large file sizes, and often they take a ton of time to load, which in turn can slow down the webpage and result in loss of traffic for the website.
Here are some of the benefits of image optimization for the web;
- It improves the page loading speed and prevents visitors from leaving the site due to longer waiting times.
- Fast loading websites generate a lot more traffic and thus are ranked better in search engine results.
- Small image file sizes will make it easier and faster to create backups.
- Small image files use less bandwidth.
- Less space will be required on your server.
Images make up on average 21% of a website’s total weight-Google; optimizing these images can help save a lot of space and time.
There are a couple of ways to make images more optimized for the web. Let’s start with the most important one
Large image files slow down the website and create a bad user experience for the visitors.
For image optimization, the size of an image should be reduced as much as possible without compromising the quality of the picture. So our primary goal should be finding the ideal combination of small file size and acceptable image quality.
You can also experiment with different images and file formats to see which one works best for you.
The most used file formats for images on websites are PNG and JPEG.
PNG provides better quality, but JPEG provides a much-compressed file size.
Both these formats are good for uploading images on websites.
You can choose a format that fits your image depending upon its size and quality.
Here is a tip for you to take the maximum benefit of Image optimization
Upload unique Images
People usually upload stock images to their websites; these images are not a terrible way of starting, but unique and original photos can capture users’ attention.
The people browsing our website may already have seen these stock photos on another website, and it makes our website unoriginal and a little less attractive in the sight of the user.
So, make sure that you upload a unique image that is not accessible to other websites, providing content similar to yours.
There is no specific formula to make a website successful.
Still, by learning and using many available tools, we can create a great user experience, and, in turn, our rankings on the search engine will improve.
Image optimization is a free and useful tool that, if used wisely, can help you achieve your objectives.
Let us know. What are your secret image optimization strategies?