Image optimization is equally important for the websites of enterprises as well as small and medium businesses. It is again a misconception that only online stores or e-commerce businesses should focus on image optimization for their products. If you are an online business and offering services like blogger outreach or email marketing, you too need to optimize images on your website.
Research has shown that when people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (LifeLearn, 2015)
For e-commerce stores yes image optimization is a must have the thing to do to keep their shoppers intact to their product line. But, from the above fact, it becomes evident that the importance of image optimization is equally important for every website.
But, what is image optimization?
Image optimization is a two-fold process of image handling. In the first fold, images are handled to keep the best visibility at a minimum cost of image size. And in the second fold, images are handled to make them visible to the search engines to let your prospects find you.
Maybe you will be thinking about;
- What type of image file format, e.g. JPEG, GIF, PNG, is best to use which can help my website appear at the minimum time lapse?
- I have heard about Alt tag a lot, how to implement it?
- Is this Alt tag is enough or do I need anything else to take image optimization?
- Why don’t images of my website appear in the Google image search?
Let’s find the answer to these and many other important questions taking image optimization, in particular, to get you a significant increase in the traffic to your website.
Let’s walk you through step by step to the image optimization process which includes;
- Image creation
- Image posting
The right file type is the best base of image optimization
There are 3 main image types which are used to post images online; JPEG, GIF and PNG.
JPEG or .jpg images are the old file type for the images and has become the default image type to distribute or use on the internet. Yes, JPEG images can be compressed considerably, which can help a website developer to provide quality images at low file size. See below example;
GIF or .gif are low in quality than of the JPEG images. Due to the fact of quality, these image formats are used for the simplest use like icons and decorative images. If you are intended to use animation, go for the GIF image file format as they are very good and famous for the purpose. If your website requires plain and simple images GIF are a good choice. For large and complex images, GIF is not the suitable choice.
PNG image file format is the good alternative of GIF and all-time favourite image file type over the internet. PNG image file type can still be larger than JPEG images so it is wise either not to use PNG file in place of a JPG. There are 2 file types within PNG; PNG-8 and PNG-24. PNG-24 is larger than that of PNG-8.
Now you should take a wise decision in choosing your image file type in course of image optimization.
Reduce the size of your image
Image file size is the main thing to tackle while going to publish your image on the world wide web. The reason behind reducing the image size is to let your webpage load within 4 sec max. As 50% of online users don’t wait to let a page load within 3sec.
Since there are many other factors which affect the process of page load time, images are the main factor which will affect it in either way.
The best way to reduce your image size is to save your image as “safe for web”. The purpose of this command is to adjust the image at the lowest file size while not compromising on the quality of the image.
Image dimensions and product angles
No matter if you are running an eCommerce website or a website with few products or services. When it is about the post an image related to product or service related to your business, always come up by covering all the dimensions of the product or a service. When it is about the product to display on your website try to cover parameters to display your product in it’s maximum;
- The interior
- The rear
- The exterior
- And the product itself.
Well when it is about services related to your business, always go with the graphs and statistics related to your services using above file formats, appropriately.
Give a descriptive and plain language name to your image
We recently delivered a website of a company who sold containers. There are mainly two types of containers; 20 feet and 40 feet container. While choosing between both types of the container we named the image respectively. This practice is taken care due to the fact that when the user is finding 20 feet or 40 feet container in Google images the name will help Google find your image appropriate for the purpose and rank your image in the search. This fulfilled the descriptive and plain language requirement.
The alt tag is important in image optimization
When it is time to post your image on the web it is a compulsory part to put Alt tag for the image you are going to publish on your webpage. For the Alt tag, the simple formula is to put the same convention as you used to name your image.
The Alt tag will look like as below;
The main thing to take care while putting Alt tag never stuffs your Alt tag with the keywords. Decorative images are not required to have Alt tags. If you don’t follow these simple rules you may be penalized by Google.
Image optimization for thumbnails
If you are an e-commerce website, it is important to optimize the thumbnail images as well. Thumbnails are very great to represent your products in tiny sized images. But if they are not optimized for the image file type, image file size, image dimensions and product angles, image name and Alt tags they can be a silent killer. These thumbnails may affect your page load time which is critical in e-commerce websites. And at the end of the day, the loss of losing customers can be irreparable.
For the thumbnails;
The image file size must be as small as possible not to affect page load time.
Always use duplicate image Alt to avoid any duplication in the file names
Image sitemap: an essential of image optimization
The sitemap is file which let search engine bots know about all the webpage a website has. Above the webpage, web crawler also got to know about the site structure and many other factors. Similarly, if you added and submitted a standalone sitemap for all the images published on your website, it will help search engine bot to find out the image assets of your website. This is very important to note here that web crawlers are unable to crawl the image if they are not called out into the source code of your webpage. The location of an image in the sitemap will create the relevance with the main keyword of the webpage and boost visibility to the Google to rank high in the SERP.
There are many ways to submit a sitemap for the images;
The first one is to write the following line in the robot.txt file;
The other way is to submit the sitemap to Google.
You can further follow Google guidelines for image publishing.
Images used as background images or border images are called decorative images. These images are not so productive other than that they are consuming space and bandwidth. There are many good ways to use to avoid these decorative images like use CSS to create a beautiful background.
There is a very common problem which is faced by many marketers and developers, these decorative images actually increase the page load time which results in losing business. It is again advised as if it is necessary to use some decorative images use them in minimum file size and keep the page load time under 4sec max.
We hope you will start doing image optimization of your website to keep intact with your customers to let them found you in Google image search too.