Image Optimisation Tips
Every website owner should strive to increase the visibility of their images in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)!
When image optimisation is done properly, it will help you show up at the top – in the image search and blended search, where all results are displayed. In addition, optimising images helps them show up in social media sites and other photo sharing sites. This topic talks about optimising your images to get the best value for your money!
This is the first thing that comes to our minds when doing SEO. We must know the exact words and phrases that customers are searching for. A popular tool for keyword research is Ubersuggest by Neil Patel, which has both a free and reasonably priced paid version.
In case you do not like Ubersuggest, you can try the Google Keyword Planner. The idea is to understand what people are searching for, then choose the right picture to go along with it.
Choosing the Right Picture
The selected image should be contextually related and relevant to your topic because if the image and the text content matches, your visitors are more likely to stay longer; and this helps to reduce your bounce rate, which in turn helps you get more conversions.
Remember not to simply “steal” images from Google Images because they may be subject to copyright. To download free photos, try “https://unsplash.com” where you can freely use their images for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.
Choosing the Right Filename for your Image
This is an easy but also an especially important step. You want your filename to be relevant to your image.
For example, use “man-washing-car.jpg” instead of “IMG20200807025631.jpg” and try to include your keywords in the image if it makes sense. It is a good practice to use dashes as separators between the words, do not use underscores because they are not word separators (at least to the search engines). You want the filename to describe what the image is about but avoid stuffing keywords because it will look spammy.
Using Appropriately Sized Images
A huge file size will take a longer time to load, and this is bad for both your potential customer and search engine ranking. If you are selling aesthetically pleasing products or services, you can get more engagement and appreciation by using beautiful large photos. But if your website does not allow for large photos, make it easy for users to view a larger photo through a zoom box etc.
Choosing the Best File Format
Do not load a huge image into a small space e.g. a 2000 x 1000 into a space of 500 x 250. By simply changing the height and width of that image, you are not reducing the file size but just reducing the space in which the image is shown. This concept makes the image looks distorted and the solution is to use a software to reduce the file size. A recommended approach is to load different sized versions for desktop, mobile and tablet. For example, 2000 x 1000 for desktop, 250 x 125 for mobile and 1000 x 500 for tablet.
Images straight from cameras tend to produce high PPI (Pixels Per Inch), but on the web, you do not necessarily need very crisp images and 75 PPI is good enough. Again, this is where you need to use software to reduce the file size.
For a small image with a lot of white space around, you need to crop out the excess white space, then use CSS padding to add it back in. By hiding the extra white space, you can reduce the file size. For images containing flat illustration, use the 8-bit PNG or GIF format and reduce the number of colours in the palette. Because with less colours, the file size will end up smaller.
A more modern format is the WebP image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images. This format creates images that are 26% smaller in size when compared to PNGs, and 25% to 34% smaller when compared to JPEGs. However, do take note that not all browsers support WebP.
A tool like GTMetrix can be used to analyse your page’s speed, see image issues and which ones are not compressed.
Another tool is “webspeedtest.cloudinary.com” to analyse individual images on your webpages.
Including Alt Text and Title Attribute
You can get a higher influence in the SERPs by defining your alt and title attributes. The alt attribute is intended to describe the image for people who cannot see or if the internet connection is too slow, your visitors can understand what your image is about. A good way to find out if your alt text is descriptive enough is to read out your alt text to someone without him looking at the image. Then ask him whether that description matches what he expected to see. The alt attribute should include your keyword.
The title attribute is the text that appears when moving the cursor over the image. The alt and title attributes together with your descriptive filename will ensure the search engines know what your image is about and who to display it to.
Using Anchor Text Linking
When hyperlinking to your image, it is a good idea to use anchor text just like the way you internally link between pages. Do not use generic words but instead use keywords that you have researched to use as anchor text.
Geotagging your Images
Geotagging an image provides information about where that photo was taken. This is useful for your Google My Business listing and gives Google more confidence to rank your business in a particular location. A recommended tool is available at “tool.geoimgr.com” where you can geotag images down to the exact building. This tool can only accept JPG images. Another known tool with a free plan is “www.geoimgr.com”.
It is recommended to geotag your images first before uploading them to your Google My Business (GMB) account and keep adding new high-quality relevant photos every week to get more views and visitors to your local area. This is especially true because you get more click-throughs and requests for driving directions when you properly utilise photos for your GMB listing!
This topic was a useful discussion for aspiring e-commerce marketers in the Shopify Masterclass!