What is Image Optimization?
Image optimization as the term suggests, is the act of enhancing and improving images; by reducing the file size (without having to compromise on the quality of the image), and providing other relevant metadata to provide a seamless and unhindered browsing experience to your online visitors.
Why is it Important?
Trillions of searches are conducted by people every year, often with the intent to find commercial information about various products and services they are looking to purchase or avail.
Search engines are the primary source that consumers look to, to gather such information.
These engines use “crawlers” or “bots” to gather information about various web pages and display them in the search results to make it easier for a consumer to find you.
These bots cannot decipher images, hence it is important to provide metadata (essentially, data about the data) to ensure your webpage can be interpreted by the “crawler” or “bot” enabling you to catch the eye of the consumer.
There are various types of Metadata, the one you need to focus on is, descriptive metadata. This is essentially information that describes a particular resource. It is useful for identification and discovery. Descriptive metadata that is functional and constructive makes images more easily searchable.
Now you may be wondering how that’s possible? Well, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to optimize your images and add descriptive metadata to them, for search engines. Just keep reading below !
Give Your Files Descriptive Names
Now this seems like a simple enough step but a lot of the times we don’t actually pay attention to how our product images are being saved, as it appears inconsequential.
It is although, quite the opposite. As for a crawler bot, it can only comprehend associated file names and metadata and cannot pick up on non-text file types like images and/or video & audio files. So the image description is what defines for the search engine bot, the context of the image.
So when you decide to name your file, ensure that you use words that describe the image clearly and accurately.
For example, if we just saved the above image as “image1/imageA” on the website or worse, left it how the system named it through the randomly generated text as “afd543rt78”, the image would not appear in the search results.
Whereas, if we named and saved the image file as “pink and purple sequin dress”, it would have a higher chance of being decoded by the search engine crawler bots and showing up in the results.
Describe Images Using Alt Text
Alt Text (Alternative Text) also referred to as Alt Attributes are used within HTML & XHTML documents.
It is used to describe the context of the webpage to a search engine crawler so as to ensure it can render the context of the webpage. These attributes are crucial to building the image metadata.
Additionally, these alt attributes also add SEO value to a website. Including relevant keywords into the appropriate alt attributes can also help the website rank better in the search engines.
Moreover, it is very important to fill out every single alt attribute for each individual product image on your website.
It is probably one of the best practices if you want to make sure your ecommerce products and services show up on Google Images and other web portals.
Taking the above the image as an example the right alt attribute would be as follows:
<img src=”red-leather-jacket-gold-button.jpg” alt=”red leather jacket gold button”>
The worst thing to do would be to leave the image alt attribute empty like alt=”” (empty)
You must always keep in mind that customers that view your webpage can also see the alt attributes, so name them appropriately and wisely.
Choose The Right Dimensions & File Type For Images
Webpages that take longer than 1.5 seconds can decrease your ranking from search engine algorithms. The size of your image, heavily impacts the time your page will take to load.
Consumer memory is short but so is their patience.
Compressing your images to ensure they stay under 70kb is a widely underused but crucial step if you want to make certain your page visitors don’t leave due to the excess and long load time.
In addition to that, it is always recommended to save your images in JPG/JPEG instead of PNG or GIF types, as the latter take far longer to load.
Moreover, the quality of the GIF file reduces when you try to compress it. If you do want to use a PNG for a larger image, make sure you’re using PNG-8 and not PNG-24, again, PNG-24 is harder to compress for file size adjustments.
Obviously, high-quality and high-resolution images are crucial to online shoppers, hence it is understandable why online retailers often add heavy files to their webpages.
The solution to do this would be to add the option of viewing a larger pop-up of the image or viewing it on an entirely different page.
Add References to Surrounding Text
It is very important that you create context for your customer and especially, search engines. This can be done by surrounding the images of your products with keyword references that are similar to their filenames and the alt text.
For the search engine, this adds even more information, making it rich in the context of metadata, hence increasing the value of the image and reinforcing its meaning while maintaining consistency.
Taking an example of the image above, your product copy for pages with images can look as follows:
“This coming season, attract attention by arriving at any event in this bold, stylish and eye-catching emerald, gold and diamond pendant.”
Mastering the art of image optimization and metadata creation is crucial for those of us that have online stores, taking into consideration that the product photography and product images are the foundation upon which we build our online prominence.
These practices not only aid in reducing the “load-time” of a webpage and therefore ensuring the longevity of stay by visitors on a website but, also attract and redirect shoppers perusing and analyzing Google images to your website, hence increasing traffic.
It isn’t always easy to truly understand the depth and importance of adding metadata to your images and even if you do, not everyone is aware of the right methods through which it is done.
At E-commerce Image Editing we provide services to verify and make certain that all your images are thoroughly optimized for search engines. We make sure that all your images are compressed properly, have the correct file type, file name and the right alt attributes.
Taking into account the number of visitors that reach your site through google images, it is crucial that you get your product images and decorative images to rank on Google and other image search engines, in other words, let us help you in optimizing them for Search Engines !