Let’s start with an intriguing fact: Amazon loses $1.6 billion/year if their pages slowdown by 1 second. Image plays a vital role in defining the page load time. That’s why Image Optimization is an art a blogger, a web designer or a web developer would want to master.
Whether you are working on a blog or an e-commerce project or any other website, you need your image to talk for you; it should be found whenever someone Google searches for something you have on your website.
There might be a case, where you’ve worked so hard to design and build a website but even after updating contents regularly you don’t see the progress in terms of page rank on search engines. That’s because designing/developing a website is one thing and optimizing it for search engines is another.
Today we are discussing how to optimize the images you have on your articles or pages for it to be optimized for search engines. In other words, how to make search engines find your images easily.
Let’s list out some issues that might be stopping your images to be found by some popular search engines. These might look very trivial but plays a vital role in making your contents rank higher in search results.
1. Give a descriptive name to the image and use simple plain English.
The default name (like DSC000009.jpg) the camera gives to your image does not tell what the image is about, but when search engines crawl your contents whenever somebody googles for something, it looks for the keyword in the image.
For example, if someone searches for a specific brand of Laptop which you’ve reviewed in your blog post which has the image of the same laptop, you are better off name the image with a description like, HP-ENVY-Notebook-PC.jpg rather than DSC000009.jpg. Search engines look for the relevant name or keyword in the image title.
To help you further make a habit of using web analytics tool for you to get an idea of the keywords that users are using to search contents. Google Analytics is what I recommend.
2. The importance of Image ALT tags
Image ALT tags are alternative to the images when they cannot properly fetch or render the image.
<img src="hp-envy-notebook-pc.jpg" alt="HP Envy Notebook PC">
This is helpful because the search engine can still find the ALT tag even if the image is not loaded by the browser for whatever reasons. You can see the alt tag content when you hover over the image.
You should be also aware of the fact that over optimization is not allowed and can even be penalized.
3. The Web is for more of a mobile device and less of a desktop computer.
It’s been a long time since mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches in many countries. So the image dimensions should be strategically decided so as to fit in all forms of handheld devices and of course the desktop computers as well.
The size of the image matters not only because of the different devices, Google uses the image load time as one of the factors to rank web pages. In a desktop normally users wait for 3 seconds for a website to load, and in mobile devices for 5 seconds. So its the maximum of these times to make users stay on the website.
It’s highly recommended to save the images in Photoshop as “Save for Web”, this helps to minimize the file size and at the same time maintaining the quality of the image.
4. Use of Image Sitemap
Using Google Image Sitemap helps you get your image easily found on Google. It gives Google more detailed and accurate information about the images you are using on your website.
Google Webmaster Tool is very important to guide you through the Image Optimization Process.
5. Stock Images are not SEO friendly
Everybody wants to use good quality images for their website, but many would want to deliberately ignore the fact that stock images are free not only for you.
There are thousands of websites using the same image and using the image that is already used by many other websites will never make your website search engine optimized. It’s recommended to rather use original good quality and unique images.
6. The tussle between CDNs and Backlinks
Content Delivery Networks(CDN) is becoming increasingly popular as there are several advantages of using them. But as you know, the more backlinks you have the more search engine friendly is your site, and on the other hand, if you use CDN to host your images, the backlink goes to the website of the content delivery network.
So the best thing to do would be based on the number of visits you get on your website.
- If the traffic load is not so much and your server can handle, you should not necessarily go with CDNs.
- If the traffic of your site is huge and the website is doing tons of business every month, having a lot of backlinks probably is not important. In this case, you are better off using a CDN.
Please comment below for other important suggestions for image optimization.