Needless to say, images are the most important part of any website, irrespective of what the website is offering. Images make or break a reader’s or user’s experience on the website. Hence it is absolutely important to optimize images on the site before publishing a story.
Whoever said that a picture says a thousand words was absolutely true. Pictures have a higher interaction power than words have. Travel websites, e-commerce website, and tutorial websites and even content based websites all function on high-quality images because that is what attracts users and generates traffic to the site. But images also tend to make these websites heavy.
According to a report, almost 65% of a website’s weight is comprised of the images. When users access the websites on their phones, heavier images make it difficult to load a page on mobiles and tablets. Since nobody has the time to wait for a few extra minutes, this delay might drive away the traffic of the website.
Hence it is absolutely important to optimize images before publishing a page. Now the question is, what is image optimization?
What is Image Optimization?
In simpler words, image optimization is the process by which web images are optimized by making them into high-quality images on the right side, dimension, format, and resolution. But all this has to be done by keeping the image in the smallest possible size so that it does not make the website heavy.
Research shows that if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, users close it and the website loses traffic. Optimized images mean smaller image size, that leads to faster download time and that in turn leads to lesser data used by the consumer. When they see that a website is not taking much time to load itself, users will obviously crowd there, thus increasing the traffic of that website.
There are different ways to optimize images. You can do it be resizing the image, or by caching it, or by compressing the size.
SEO Image Optimization – Importance and Uses?
The benefits that image optimization brings for a website is far beyond just improving traffic. Let’s have a look at them.
1. It improves the page load speed:
We have already established that. What is page load speed? though It is the time taken by a webpage to load completely. The page load speed of a website depends on a lot of factors apart from its images. The web layout and the design of the webpage to the website host, all of them determine the loading speed of a page. Websites that take less than even 2 seconds to load completely are the ones that generate maximum traffic.
As said earlier that images lead to about 65% of the website’s weight, optimizing images would mean optimizing almost 65% of the website’s weight. this faster experience attracts a lot of users who want everything on the go and prefer not waiting for websites to load.
Apart from image optimization, there are lots of tools that help in analyzing and enhancing the page load speed.
2. Image Optimization Leads To Better SEO Rankings Of The Website:
Every website’s ultimate goal is to improve their SEO ranking all the time. it has already been established that better page load speeds lead to better SEO rankings with time. Google itself does not prefer slow websites like all of us. That is why the websites that are faster than others, have better ranking in the search results than the slower ones. Everyone in the digital world today knows the importance of higher rankings in search results. Hence, optimized images lead to faster page load speed, that in turn lead to higher SEO rankings of the website.
3. It Also Boosts Conversion:
The marketing giant Kissmetrics think that 79% of consumers who did not like the performance of the website or the page load speed that made them wait for more than 3 seconds, did not come back or buy stuff from the same website again. Hence, page load speed directly affects the conversion rate of a website.
Now, what is a conversion? It is the number of visitors visiting the website and performing the desired task. For example, if it is a shopping website, then higher the number of people visiting the site and buying items from that particular site, higher the conversion rate. So when the page load speed is higher, it automatically attracts a number of users. That increases the conversion rate of the website. Higher conversion rate directly contributes to higher earnings by a website.
4. It Leads To Higher And Better User Engagement:
Websites that provide great user experience has happy customers. All the factors that come into play as a result of image optimization, namely, better page load speed, better SEO rankings, higher conversion rate etc. contribute to the better overall user experience. After all, the main motive of every website is to have a certain percentage of dedicated happy customers. It all starts with image optimization.
5. Image Optimization Enhances Image Search Options:
When image optimization is done properly with proper alignment and formatting and resizing, and paired with proper phrasing that relates to the content, the images have a chance of showing related images search in the search engine.
Every website’s goal is to increase brand visibility and generate traffic. When a website’s image is shown in the related images section of the search engine, it automatically generates a lot of traffic. Having your website’s images being listed on Google image searches will increase traffic to your site and ultimately enhance brand awareness.
All you would need to do is just spend a few minutes optimizing the image according to the proper guidelines needed to be featured on the Google image search.
How to Optimize an Image?
Condense the image:
When you are aiming to improve the page load speed of your website, you have to condense the images. You can use high definition or high-quality images for your website. But they take up a lot of data of the user and in turn, makes the website really slow.
Also, when users are viewing the image on their phones or tablets, they do not really look for high definition pictures. So you have to condense the images by scaling them down and bringing them to a quality that is decent enough. This way you also cut down on the megabytes off the total file size.
While optimizing the image, make sure to maintain the format in the JPG or PNG form.
Give a proper title:
When you are taking free and open images from the web, they come with a default title of their own. These titles indicate the index of the images. So when you use these images, you should change the title to something that describes the image or the point with which it is supposed to go.
Do not forget the alt tags:
Alt tags are very important for images. They are the alternatives in text form for images for the browser to read them. The alt tags add a lot of value to the website in the way they associate the images with the keywords. Each product or image on your website should have an alt tag, and make sure you do not miss out on them.
For an alt tag, you can use the same phrases that you would have used if you were to name the image. Make sure you avoid stuffing the alt tag with keywords. But the most important thing that you have to remember is that, use alt tags only in cases where there are product related websites. Those images need alt tagging.
If you over optimize the image unnecessarily, your website will end up being penalized.
Align the images properly with the content:
This is not a must do a process, but it makes your website look cleaner and more aligned. Align your images properly with respect to the content of the page, instead of just stuffing the images in between two paragraphs.
Some Image Optimization Tips That You Cannot Do Without:
Now that you know how important image optimization is for your website, you should keep in mind the following important tips while optimizing your image.
1. While naming the images, be descriptive enough and use plain, simple English to describe them. When you are dealing with thousands of images, either for your product website or for any other kind of website, you tend to save the images by the default name from the camera or from the browser. This seems to be the easier option, but this might be hindering the SEO of your website. When you use plain, simple language, it helps your web page rank on the search engines. Isn’t that what you want?
2. Be very thoughtful and intelligent while using alt tags. As we had mentioned earlier, alt tags are the text alternatives for an image. So, alt tags add some SEO value to the image and the website.
3. Have a clear idea about image dimensions and product angles. When you have a product website, it mainly depends on the images you use. When you are trying to sell a product, irrespective of what it is, having just one image of the product won’t be enough. You would want to add different images of the same products that are taken from different sides and angles. When you are dealing with multiple images of the same product, you would want to keep the alt tags clear. Create a unique alt tag for each image of the product for better user experience.
4. Providing larger images in the given frame is not always the best idea. You might be tempted to use the largest possible image of a product and then shrink it by pulling down the dimensions. But that is not always the wiser option. You can instead use a relatively smaller image and then include the option of viewing it in full size.
5. There are three main types of image files, namely, JPG, PNG, and GIF. You have to know which type of image file should be used where and when. JPEG or JPG files are the most standard form of the file type that is used. They can easily compress down the image to a considerable extent without compromising on the quality. So, they are smallerfilesizes.
GIF’s are of lower quality than JPG files. They are used for simpler images. GIFs also support animation. But it is advisable to sue GIFs for the simpler and plain images. When the images get a little complex, refrain from using this type of file.
Last but not the least, PNG image files are slowly gaining popularity as an alternative to the GIF files. These types of files support a lot of colours and the best part is that the quality of the image does not degrade over time. It remains the same.
So, coming to the main issue, it is advisable to use the JPG form of image mostly for product and ecommerce websites. If you want to want to use PNG or GIF files in smaller, the quality of the image will badly degrade. So JPG or JPEG is the file type that provides the best quality images even in the smallest size.
All said and done, we have successfully discussed the importance of image optimization for any kind of website. With the given set of guidelines and covering all topics, it won’t be difficult for anyone anymore to be able t optimize images properly. It just takes a few minutes of your time to optimize an image, but can go to great lengths to promote your website. With all the benefits that image optimization brings along with it, every website should start putting more emphasis on resized, condensed and maximally optimized images.