Images are key elements of every modern web page, and if you want to optimize your website for SEO, you necessarily have to make sure your images are optimized as well. Here at Neadoo, we pay special attention to images and use several methods of making sure they are as optimized they can be. Here’s our guide to ensure you, too, can optimize images successfully.
Reduce the Size of the image Files
Page speed is an important ranking factor both on mobile and web – if you want to rank higher, an effective step is to ensure that pages load faster.
For the majority of web pages, the largest elements on the page are pictures. They make up for 50-90% of an average page’s total size. Larger web pages obviously require more time and bandwidth to load.
That’s why one of the best ways to make sure your web pages load faster is by reducing the size of the images. By just reducing the image sizes by 20% you can increase loading speeds immensely and make your website more responsive.
If you’re using WordPress, you don’t even need to do it manually. You can install plugins like Smush by WMPU DEV or Compress JPEG & PNG images by TinyPNG and they’ll automatically compress and optimize the images on your server for you.
Lazy Loading – The Most Effective Way to Increase Loading Speed
Sometimes, you can’t help but include very high-quality large images in your web pages – for example, a detailed map, a high-quality picture of your product, or a large infographic. Sometimes, it is just impossible to escape uploading large images – in these cases, lazy loading can really help increase your web pages’ speed.
Traditionally, the whole web page needs to be loaded before the page is displayed, and this means that the browser will wait for the large image to completely download before displaying anything. This traditionally can take up to 10 seconds for very large images. This could spell a death sentence for your web pages on Google.
Lazy loading refers to the technique of allowing pages to display as the images are being loaded in the background. So, the browser won’t wait for the images to load fully before displaying the page and continues to load the images in the background. This could reduce the page’s loading speed by up to 90%!
Scale Images Correctly
It is important to ensure that web pages display correctly on all common devices. Mobile screens and monitor screens are very different in design, quality, and size. Even just taking computer monitors into account, we have anywhere from small 720p monitors to newer and larger 4K monitors. Google and Bing search engines might demote you from search engine result pages if they analyze your pages and realize it doesn’t display correctly on multiple screen and resolution sizes.
It is important your images scale correctly and respond to the visitor’s device’s screen size. After all, you don’t need all your photos to be loaded at 5760 x 3840px resolution. It not only helps the web pages display correctly, raise SERP ranking, but it also increases conversion rates and makes your pages more user-friendly. There’s no reason not to do it.
Vital to Give the Images Relevant Namesa
Most people don’t care how they name the images when they add them to their web pages. Some use random numbers (DSC00187.jpg), others just use the stock names (stock-name-5108742-202-093624.jpg), etc. But this is bad for both accessibility and image SEO. Correctly naming pictures (white-tulip-flower.jpg) will help the search engine bots recognize and index these images and pick up other context-relevant clues. This could help you rank for image-related searches and even rank you higher in regular searches.
Choose the Right Image Format
The way you store images influences the size of the images, how efficiently it is loaded, and how well it scales. Only PNG/SVG file formats support transparency, and if you want your logos and banners to look good and rescale well, you should store them in either one of these formats. For larger photos and slideshows, you should generally use jpg as it reduces the size.
Fill Out the Alt-Texts
It is important to fill alt-texts with descriptive, informative information. Alt-text is not only required by law in some countries and a great asset to disabled people, but it is also a ranking factor in Google and Bing. It is a great and easy way to provide context for both disabled people and bots without much effort. It is highly recommended to fill out all alt-texts on your website. Just be natural with them and do not excess use keywords
- good example “closeup of white and yellow tulip flowers”,
- bad example “florist near me, flower delivery, the best florist in the city, tulips, roses, sunflowers” etc.
Create XML Image Sitemaps
To increase the likelihood of your images being displayed in search engine results, you need to make sure they are easily discoverable and your website is easily navigable. Creating an XML image sitemaps might be a good idea here. Some WordPress plugins are capable of automatically generating these files for you with minimal input and effort from you. It is another easy step that can have a significant impact down the line.
Learn How to Make Use of Structured Data
Structured data is a great way to ensure search engines understand your web pages and give it preferential treatment. If one of your webpages get displayed in the Frequently Asked or How To section of the Google search result pages, you can expect a lot of organic high-quality traffic to your website. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools that will allow you to design and implement structured data on your web pages.
Use Relevant and Unique Images
While the technical side is important, you still can’t neglect the content of the images themselves. Using relevant and unique images will make your pages stand out on Google image search and make it more likely for people to click when they see your thumbnail in the normal SERP. There are multiple ways using unique and relevant images will improve your website’s SEO, and you shouldn’t miss out on them.
Optimizing the Images for Google’s AI
Google uses various AI algorithms to analyze and detect the content of images, and based on these, it decides whether to display them in Google image search results or not and for which keywords it should display them. You can use this tool from Google to learn how the search engine analyzes your images. You should use images that the AI can easily analyze and recognize. This increases your website’s likelihood of ranking.
About the author
Head of SEO at Neadoo Digital – SEO agency
Tech enthusiast, in the SEO industry for over 9 years, technical SEO expert at Neadoo. Consultations and audits for businesses from various markets. Responsible for running both worldwide SEO campaigns for e-commerce stores and local SEO for businesses worldwide (UK, USA, Australia, Spain and much more).