Image optimization is sometimes overlooked when it comes to a successful SEO plan. In fact, as an online marketer, you may be wondering, “why is image optimization important?” Your SEO plan needs to include as much media as possible, but if that media isn’t optimized properly, your chances of ranking on Google are low.
But before we get into the how of image optimization, we need to answer the question of “what does image optimization mean?”
When it comes to image optimization involves the metadata of the image as well as the quality of the image regardless of its size. These aspects are read by Google and other search engines as how much quality your content reveals as well as incorporating the right keywords without having them blatantly visible to your end-user.
The Importance of Image Optimization
The first thing to consider for your image optimization is how large your file size is. The larger the file size, the longer it can take to load your page, especially on mobile devices. People don’t like waiting for any website to load.
This also majorly impacts user experience. Any successful SEO plan must take user experience into consideration. Any website that takes too long to load will prompt them to log off before the content fully loads. And if the user experience is negatively affected, so is your ranking on search engines. Since Google updated its algorithm to include user-friendliness, your images need to cater to that experience directly.
Making sure your images load quickly, which shows how necessary a small image file is, ensures your images not only help your page rank on the regular search of Google but will also help your image show up through an image search as well.
Image Optimization for SEO
So, what is the best image format for SEO? There are a few different formats for you to choose from after you have edited your raw file.
JPEG – This is possibly the most common form of image format. This is usually because they allow for higher quality and detailed images while compressing to smaller file sizes. The biggest drawback is that this format doesn’t keep as much of the quality you may want when considering things like logos or line drawings. And while some data may be lost when compressing an image to JPEG format, especially directly from raw, the loss isn’t usually noticeable.
PNG – Images that are mostly text-based, have a transparent background, or don’t have a lot of colors are usually best used as a PNG file. These do tend to be a bit larger, so if your image optimization plan requires that you use this kind of file, it helps to keep it as simple as possible.
GIF – GIFs are like JPEGs in that they are good for creating smaller file sizes. However, quality is easier to lose. Usually, you would only want to use the GIF format if you are including any kind of animation on your page.
TIFF – TIFF files are considered the best when it comes to quality, but it comes at a cost in terms of file size. Even if this is not the raw file type of the image you use, it might as well be. TIFF files are often uncompressed and are therefore much larger.
Also read: Why is Getting Indexed by Google So Hard
Using Metadata in Image Optimization
This is often overlooked. You’re not seeing the name of the image on the screen once it’s published, so why should it matter what it’s named, right?
Google will perform an action called “crawling” over each page that you publish, and that includes the metadata. So, keeping the image name as “img167390.jpg” will only push your content down the list. If you sell sports equipment, it will usually help to rename the images as the product you’re trying to sell, like “basketball-hoop-net.jpg”.
Image Sizes for Image Optimization
When we talk about image size for image optimization, we don’t typically mean how much real estate the image takes on your site, though that can play a factor.
No, what we usually mean is how much space the file takes up on your drive, be it on the cloud or an established server. As mentioned above, a larger file size will slow your website down, and create a frustrating end-user experience.
Image Optimization Alt Tags
Alt image tags, or alt attributes, are text alternatives to images when they don’t load properly. While they have been used to help users who this happens, they are also used by Google and other search engines when it comes to ranking them in an image search, not to mention the organic ranking overall.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating alt tags:
· Use plain, easy-to-understand language, just like when you renamed the file.
· Include the serial number if the product being promoted has one.
· Include keywords, but don’t stuff them.
Also read: Tips to Simple Online Marketing
Decorative Image Optimization
Decorative images are only there to spice up the look of your website. They don’t add anything of real substance, but they do make your site a lot less boring. These would be images like borders, spacers, or other background images.
We’ve warned a lot about user-friendliness when it comes to image optimization and your decorative images are no different. These images should be compressed as much as possible without losing too much quality. If an image is used in the background, you can cut out a few portions without harming the overall look, or even make it more transparent. Alt tags also aren’t really needed and can clutter your attempts at a successful image SEO plan.
Images can make or break your website content, but when image optimization is done right, you can find success not just on the regular search pages of Google, but also through image search as well.