Image Optimization – Why is it So Important and How Can You do it Properly?

by Emily on December 1, 2016

in Articles

http-com-wwwOn-page optimization is a fundamental aspect of any SEO strategy, and this includes image optimization. Any image that goes on the page, whether it’s a simple gif animation or focal point of a splash page, should be properly optimized.

What is It So Important?

Images are often forgotten about or overlooked when it comes to search engine optimization. Webmasters and businesses are constantly thinking about keywords and links and how keywords should be used in text that they neglect other principles of on-page optimization. Images actually offer another way for websites to be ranked and discovered – through Google image results. They also contribute a great deal to the overall user experience, which is another essential factor in SEO.

What are Some techniques for Optimizing Images?

Making sure they are relevant – The context in which they are used is perhaps the most important consideration. A random photo that appears to have no relevance to the topic of the page is a waste of space. It could event hurt rankings. Put a lot of thought behind each and every photo, regardless of size, just as you would with a specific keyword. Does the image really have a place on the page? Is it relevant with the theme or message?

Using photos that will load quickly – Factors such as site speed on not only desktop browsers but smartphone and tablet browsers are extremely important for SEO purposes. KISSMetrics refers to lack of speed as “a killer”. Be sure to take advantage of web page and image testing tools to ensure that your site loads quickly and smoothly on all browsers. Avoid saving photos in formats and sizes that take more than a second or two to load.Use compressed image types such as GIF, JPG or PNG.

Hosting images on root domain – Free photo hosting and storage platforms are nice, but they don’t hold as much authority in search engine rankings as your own root domain. Store them on your host server.

Don’t forget about the alt-text attribute – This is sometimes overlooked. The required alt attribute essentially specifies an alternative text for an image file if the image cannot be displayed. It’s your job to tell search engine bots what the image is, so be sure to provide it with relevant alt-text.

Don’t forget about the sitemap – You can insert images, their filenames, and alt-text attributes into the sitemap. By providing this extra information, search engines will be able to crawl your images easier for improved rankings.

Keep thumbnails and main pictures separated – Different images are going to serve different purposes on a website. Thumbnails should always be kept small. Resize them accordingly and use the appropriate level of compression. It’s okay to sacrifice a bit of quality with thumbnails to increase speed, since they are pretty small anyway. While you’re at it, it might be a good idea to avoid carousels or image slides. According to Awwwards, “carousels are bad for SEO”.

The best way to test your images out in terms of appearance and site speed across multiple screen sizes and browsers is to work with a service like Perfecto Mobile.

Comments & Leave a Comment

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Fabio Rodrigues December 1, 2016 at 15:03

I personally use photoshop to optimize my image. Of course, it’s not an affordable option for the standard user.
Fabio Rodrigues recently posted… Best DDR3 RAM for Gaming 2016

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col December 7, 2016 at 17:47

I was not aware that google crawled the image content, I thought it was just the alt text. Is there a guideline for images eg what works better etc. Since an image I feel is relevant, google may not etc

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