There are several facets to optimizing the images on your website. You want your images to follow both search engine optimization best practices as well as usability best practices for your website visitors.
The first tactic is to optimize the image size. Optimizing image size is vital to speeding up the load time of your website. In very simple terms: the fewer bytes the browser has to download, the faster the browser can download the page and deliver it to the user. Waiting more than two seconds can seem like an eternity when people are on the web and may cause them to leave your site before it finishes loading. Google also looks negatively at slow websites.
The second key area of SEO image optimization involves how search engines read the images. This includes file names and alt tag text. By using proper naming conventions for files and utilizing keywords in alt tags you can help the search engines understand what the images are about and help the page rank accordingly. Remember that the search engines can’t see your images. They only know what the filenames and the tags tell them.
Here are some tips that will get you started in the art and science of image optimization.
Give Your Images Descriptive Names that Make Sense
Almost 85 million videos and photos people are uploaded everyday on Instagram. That is Instagram alone. When you factor in all the other social media channels, you quickly see how images are a powerful tool. The default file names cameras give to photos means nothing to search engines. You have to name your files in a way that they can be searched.
Creating a descriptive, keyword-rich file name is a must because search engines crawl for keywords within your image file names. Check out Google Analytics for phrasing patterns and apply that formula to your image naming process.
Think Carefully About Optimizing Your Alt Tags
Alt tags and title tags describe what’s on the image and the function that the image serves on the page. For example, if you have an image that’s used as an icon to open a form, the alt text should say: “Icon to open form”.
Why is this important? Well, the alt tag is used by screen readers (browsers used by blind and visually impaired people) without these tags they would never know what the image is.
For SEO purposes, having descriptive alt tags that contain keywords relevent to that page will give the page an SEO boost.
Reduce the File Sizes of Your Images
Seconds really do count when it comes to a website loading. Most consumers can only wait a few seconds for a website to load on their desktop or mobile device. So, how do you get it all to funnel through faster? Larger file size images take longer to load, so if you can decrease the size of the image files on your page, you can speed up loading and keep people from clicking away from the page.
If you are using Photoshop the “Save for Web” command is a quick way to reduce file size.
Save for web adjusts the image to the lowest file size acceptable, while always keeping in mind superior image quality. If you don’t have Photoshop, try out these free, online image editing tools:
Try to keep your image file size below 70kb and you are on the path toward proper image optimization for SEO.
Get Familiar With Which Image File Type Goes Where
There are three common file types that are used to post images. These are JPEG, GIF, and PNG.
These images are the standard image of the Internet. JPEG images can be compressed into quality images with small file sizes.
GIFs are lower quality images than JPEGs and are used for icons and decorative images. GIFs also support animation.
PNGs support more colors than GIFs do. They are a bit larger than JPEGS, but they do not degrade over time with re-saves like JPEGs do.
Lead to Conversion employs the above tactics and many more in all our web design and SEO practices. Contact us to find out how we can improve the optimization of your website.
He got his start doing SEO at an enterprise level with a nationally recognized B2B company, leading their SEO, Social Media and web marketing initiatives. After spending a few years on his own working freelance for small to medium size businesses and agencies alike, he joined the Lead to Conversion team. He loves inbound marketing, cohesive, integrated campaigns and providing a direct impact to the businesses he works with.
Mark has a diverse background with diverse interests. When he’s not working, you’ll likely find Mark outside and on his bicycle. He also loves to cook, read and learn.