9 steps for image optimization for SEO
Images are critical to making your content more accessible and attractive to users, but they are also important from an SEO point of view.
First, they give search engines important contextual information. Secondly, optimized images speed up page loading, which increases user interest and search engine rankings.
To give your brand the best opportunity to succeed in SEO, you need to understand the basics of image optimization.
Image optimization is the process of creating and delivering high-quality images in perfect format, size, and resolution to increase user engagement. It also includes accurate labeling of images so that search engine crawlers can read them and understand the context of the page.
According to the HTTP archive, images averaged 21% of the total weight of the web page as of November 2018. Since images take up more bytes than any other part of the website, their size and complexity greatly affect the performance of the site.
If you reduce the size of the images while maintaining the quality, the page load time will improve, and subsequently the experience of the site visitors too. A study conducted by the Aberdeen Group shows that a one second download delay equals a 7% reduction in conversion, and that about 40% of people leave the website, which takes more than three seconds to load.
Improved user interface and interaction with your site have a positive effect on search engine rankings, which further increases customer interest, conversion and customer retention.
Moreover, when optimized images take up less space on your server, the site will be backed up faster.
Now we will tell you how to optimize your images.
1. Resize your images
Image size and file size are not the same. Image size is the number of pixels in it (for example, 1024 by 680 pixels). File size is the amount of space required to store it on the server (for example, 350 kilobytes).
Images with higher resolution and larger sizes (often created by a professional camera) significantly slow down the page load time. Although they are good for printing, you need to reduce the file size without losing high quality so that they are good for the Internet.
Choose the correct file format
PNG, JPEG and GIF are all popular. Everyone has their own advantages. We recommend jpeg for images with more colors and png for simple images.
Choose the right compression ratio
If you compress the image too much, the file size is small, but the image quality is low. On the other hand, when you use a low compression ratio, the image quality is high, but the file size is huge.
Ideally, you should experiment with file types and compression levels to see what works best for each image. Many image editing tools, including Adobe Photoshop, have a Save for the Internet option that automatically minimizes file size while optimizing image quality.
2. Optimize image file names
Choosing the right file name is important for your page's SEO and ranking in image search results. Before uploading any image, name the file with the corresponding descriptive keywords to get the most out of SEO.
Include target keywords at the beginning and separate them with hyphens. Do not use underscores, because search engines do not recognize them and cannot "see" words individually.
File names should make sense to both search engines and people. For example, the original name for the image of a woman in the showroom is “avto234.jpg”. Rename it with a clearer and more visible name, for example "woman-in-a-avtosalon.jpg".
3. Use alternate tags
Viewers can understand what the picture is about, but search engine spiders still need tips. Without alternate text, search engines will not be able to accurately index the content of your image. A good alt tag provides context and helps visually impaired users. Even when images do not load due to a crash, search engines can still read alternative text to help evaluate the page. Here you can add words related to the brand to increase awareness. Just avoid overflowing with keywords.
Specify more details than you specified in the file name. Although the ideal number of words does not exist, strive to convey the meaning of 10 to 15 words.
4. Optimize image header
If you use WordPress, the image header is usually taken from the file name, so sometimes you can leave it as is. If you are not using WordPress or the title does not explain the image, rename it with the corresponding keywords just like the file names.
Image titles are less important for SEO, but they can provide additional context for alternative text. Image names are more useful in terms of attracting users. Try adding a short call to action, such as “buy now” or “download today”.
5. Include signatures
Image captions - the words directly below the images - may not have a direct effect on SEO, but, unlike file names and alternative text, the captions are visible on the site’s page. For this reason, they can add a plus to the user experience.
Most people attract image captions. Without captions to the images, your bounce rate may increase, which will undermine your credibility in the search engines.
6. Use unique images
Using stock photos is good, but they will not necessarily help your search ranking, as other sites often use the same images. Just like unique written content is better for SEO, it is a good idea to upload unique images whenever possible.
7. Make sure your text complements the images
A copy on the page can help search engines determine the relevance of your images. If there is not enough information in it to explain the image, add more relevant text and describe the image, if possible.
8. Add structured image data
Adding structured data to your pages helps search engines display your images. Google Images supports structured data for product images, videos, and recipes. For example, if you have recipes on your site, and you add structured data to your images, Google can add an icon to your image to indicate that it is a recipe.
Use Google’s General Guidelines for Structured Data to learn how to add structured data to your pages in a search engine’s settings.
9. Use site maps
According to Google, a sitemap is “a file in which you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of the content of your site.” In other words, this is the file that contains the content of the site.
Site maps are an important part of SEO, because they tell search engines about all the pages on your site. For search engine crawlers to notice every image — infographic, meme, photo, video thumbnail, etc. — include them on your site map.
For these entries, include the title, description, URL location, title, and license information. For videos, specify the title, description, location of the URL, the URL of the thumbnails, and the URL of the raw video file.
Remember these strategies before uploading any image. These image optimization techniques will enhance the appeal of your content for both search engines and users.
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