Image Optimization: The Best Kept SEO Secret Ever
So, you run a reputable company and you have a killer product. You’ve provided the top two ingredients that make for a smooth cocktail that will make your vision stand out on the market. But, much like an ambitious barista, you have to make your unique mix stand out in the sea of equally good quality beverages.
So, how do you do that? Unless you’re making cocktails, it won’t be enough to throw a killer party and mix drinks while dancing on the bar. You most likely wouldn’t be up for it if it were enough though.
You already know that branding is the secret ingredient to getting your product or service out there, and you also know your digital representation encompasses all elements needed to bring your brand to life. But, do you know how to tweak your visuals to get more traffic and more sales?
This article explains what SEO image optimization is and how you can start using it right now to boost your website’s SEO ranking.
SEO Image Optimization: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?
Visual effects of branding include having your unique color scheme and sets of visual and graphic elements that align with your brand values and target consumer. Here enters SEO image optimization.
Your web images need to be optimized the same way as the rest of your website and digital content. This means their resolution, size, dimension, and format need to be of the highest quality and also relevant for the content and the reader.
How Images Affect Your Website?
The images on your website have a role in making your content more interesting to the reader and more appealing to Google’s algorithm. Images and multimedia are gaining in relevance each year, with top-visited websites increasing their volume to over 60% of the total website weight!
This is where optimization plays a crucial part. You see, the more visual elements you add to your website, the longer it will take for it to load. This affects everything, from your website traffic to customer experience.
Depending on your business, SEO image optimization might even affect your sales, and it’s easy to assume why. If your website is filled with quality images that are small in size but in high quality and important for readers, they will draw more traffic to your website. If you run an e-commerce website, they might even increase your sales!
But, poorly handled visual website content could prove costly. If your images are over-sized, they could slow down your pages, and your visitors would lose patience and move on to another brand. Or, if your images are low-quality and irrelevant to the reader, they could perceive your brand as untrustworthy and move on to something “better.”
Aside from that, images that take too long to load increase the bounce rate of your website, which is a measurement for how often visitors leave your pages before they’ve read them. Google doesn’t like bounce rates as they indicate low-quality content, so it ranks those websites lower that tend to have high bounce rates.
What Is SEO Image Optimization?
SEO-ing your images is a process of adjusting the size, resolution, dimensions, and format of the images of your website to ensure its optimal performance.
The #1 rule of image optimization simply states that you should reduce them to their smallest possible size, which is the minimum size needed for a clear view of the image.
But, reducing the size of your images won’t be the only thing you’ll need to do to optimize them. There are many ways in which one can do image optimization, and they mainly depend on unique website traits.
It’s important to note that whether you’ll optimize images by compressing their size, caching, or simply reducing their size affects your website performance to a different degree.
Some website owners use image optimization tools that improve website performance by applying the right compression strategies.
Your main goal with website image optimization is to reduce the loading time for your website to three seconds or less, which is just how long an average reader will wait before leaving. If your website takes more than three seconds to load, this could increase your bounce rate and hurt both your ranking and conversions.
Why Is SEO Image Optimization Such a Big Deal?
Simply put, SEO image optimization improves your page load speed, makes for a better user experience, and, consequently, improves your SEO ranking. Here are the top effects of good image optimization:
Better page load speed. Users prefer those websites that take no longer than two to three seconds to load.
As you already know, statistics show that most successful websites have over 60% of visual content. Now, with that much multimedia on your website, you need to make sure the images aren’t getting in the way of loading speed.
When your users can browse your website comfortably, and when they’re impressed by a nice-looking, memorable image, they’ll want to stick around and come back. If not, they’ll find another, more convenient website.
Better SEO ranking. SEO ranking determines in which order the web pages will appear as results for certain search queries.
When your images are optimized to offer relevant content for your target keywords, they will rank better. The page loading speed itself is a significant SEO factor, but the relevance of your images also plays a major role.
You’re probably familiar with the fact that many search terms are popular for image browsing. Regardless of your product or service, there are probably plenty of search phrases relevant to your business that users type in specifically for seeing an image. This is the case with fashion, jewelry, art, electronics, and dozens of other product categories.
If you have the right images in the right size, chances are they’ll be most relevant for a particular query, hence earning you a better SEO spot.
User engagement. Well-optimized websites spark the reader’s interest, as they target what we call consumer “pain points,” meaning the needs your product aims to address.
When your images are well-optimized, your website will appeal and be more engaging to the reader. This, of course, boosts your traffic, conversions, and ranking.
Improved Images Results
So, you now know how and why quality images affect your website. But, there’s another aspect to that question.
You see, images have multiple roles on your website. They have a psychological impact, which makes them a top marketing tool. They have a business aspect, given that e-commerce requires providing a comprehensive view of the product. But, they also have a technical role in how your website performs. Here’s how SEO image optimization leads to improved image results:
- The number of images. More is now always the merrier with website images. Remember, Google doesn’t like exaggerations. You need to find the right number of images against the textual content of your website. This will depend on your niche, product category, and many other factors.
- Image transfer size. Whenever a visitor loads your website, a certain number of bytes gets downloaded to their device. If this amount exceeds certain figures, your website will load slower.
- The overall time it takes for your images to load. Image optimization improves queue time, or the number of seconds a browser waits to start loading a page.
When your images are well-optimized, this metric will be lower, suggesting that you have the right number and image size that’s easy for one’s browser to load.
Improved Image Searches on Your Website
Your readers don’t only search for articles and blog posts. Google Image Search is one of the most popular tools out there, and users turn to it whenever they’re more interested in a visual search result.
Google Image Search also affects your website’s rank and helps readers find the right website by finding images that fit their search criteria.
More importantly, if the reader finds one of your images to be their most relevant search result, they’ll click on it and get an expanded view of an image. They will also see other featured images from your website, and they’ll have an option to visit your page.
If your images are optimized correctly, they could easily get more visitors to view your website!
For this reason, you should optimize the keywords for your images, including:
- Image name. When uploading images to your website, make sure that the images’ names feature the most relevant keywords.
- Image description. Image descriptions are great to add more long-tail keywords to your webpage without stuffing them onto the page itself. Plus, the search engines will also take them into account when ranking images.
- Image tag. Alt tags also help add relevant keywords to your images and should include the most relevant search terms.
- Image URL and caption. When you upload an image to your website, it will have a URL, similar to other web pages. This URL should also be optimized to feature your main keywords and, of course, the most relevant image keywords.
Final Thoughts: How to Improve SEO Image Optimization on Your Website
If you take everything into account, the shortlist of necessary steps for your website’s SEO image optimization would include the following:
- Image number and relevance. Our advice is to use just the right amount of images for your website’s intents and purposes. Each of your pages offers something else to the reader and, thus, requires a different number of suitable images.
- Image quality. Your images need to look professional, feature pleasant colors, and overall showcase style and quality. Don’t hesitate to hire a photographer and/or a graphic designer. Your business is worth it!
- Image titles, tags, and captions. Image titles help rank your visuals for relevant search queries, as well as tags and captions. Your image is likelier to yield better website performance if there are proper markers to highlight how it fits the page and the website topic.
Here at The Urban Writers, we provide SEO articles written by ever-updated algorithm requirements. Our writers will search for the most relevant images for your website.
You can rest assured that the images you get for your articles meet all of the criteria for SEO image optimization. Our writers will make sure the images are relevant to the topic of your article, evenly distributed across the word count to avoid oversaturation, and also of good quality to draw the reader’s attention.