No matter what type of site you have, optimizing your website and images can help improve your website’s overall performance and provide a better experience for your site visitors.
Google Image searches make up approximately 22.6% of all searches conducted.
This makes images a powerful way to get more traffic.
Why is Image Optimisation so Important?
Well-optimized images get higher ranking in search results which can help boost traffic.
That is the primary reason why sites should optimize their images, but there are numerous other advantages as well.
Let’s explore other advantages of image optimization and then we will discuss some actionable tips you can use to optimize images.
Well-sized, high-quality photos enhance User Experience by making your site easier to navigate. Large files can take up the entire screen or cover other elements on the page, making your site look like a mess and difficult to navigate.
Improves site speed:
If you want to rank higher on search engines, it’s important that your site isn’t slow.
If an image is too large or incorrectly formatted, it can slow down your site, irritate visitors, and kill your rankings.
Generates more Impressions and Engagement on Social Media
Social media algorithms favor images that follow best practices and use recommended formats.
By optimizing your social media images, you can create visuals that stand out in feeds and help you achieve your marketing goals.
Strengthens your website’s SEO ranking
Image optimization can be an effective tool for increasing your website’s SEO ranking.
Google prefers websites that load quickly and will prioritize these websites in their search results.
9 Effective Image Optimization Tips You Need To Know
To make sure your images rank higher, you need to optimize them for search engines.
This can be done in a number of ways and there are many factors which are crucial in ensuring that your images are easily found and do not slow down your site.
Let’s discuss some powerful Image Optimization tips and strategies-
Choose the Right File Format
The world of images is a confusing one. You have to decide what file type will work best for your site and then start adding the right picture!
The wrong image file type can result in your images being displayed incorrectly, appearing blurry, and even affecting whether users can see your images.
It is important to select the right image format.
There are tons of different formats to choose from each with its own uniqueness and indication of use.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular image formats.
JPEG or JPG has become one of the most popular image formats because of its flexibility.
You can easily reduce their file size, making them perfect for sharing images on social media and other platforms.
While JPEGs may be smaller in size and lighter weight when transmitted over communications channels, they frequently lack quality and sharpness.
Produces higher-quality images but it comes at the cost of larger file size.
They offer more color variations and transparent backgrounds, and their compression algorithm is more efficient, resulting in high-quality results.
PNG files are excellent image file formats for:
- Displaying high-quality images in portfolios
- Icons, Logos, Banners
Google created WEBP as a file format to optimize file compression without sacrificing too much quality or resolution.
WEBP can compress images 30% more than JPEG without sacrificing quality.
Compress Your Images
Search engines have no mercy for those who don’t compress their images.
Images account for 21% of the total weight of a webpage.
When you compress an image, you are reducing the file size while maintaining acceptable quality.
When done correctly, image compression strikes the ideal balance between size and image quality. The goal is to remove any unnecessary data present in the image reducing redundancy in order to improve efficiency and quick loading speeds when using the image.
Now, the question is how can you compress images? Well, there are various tools available.
You can use Photoshop or several easy-to-use tools like TinyPNG, or ImageOptim to compress your images.
TingPNG has a WordPress plugin as well.
You can also use WP Smush as a WordPress plugin. It reduces the size of the image file without sacrificing quality.
Increasingly.com increased website speed by 33%/2 seconds by compressing images.
If you’re unsure how your images are affecting your page speed, we recommend using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
Resize your images
Image resizing can be challenging, especially when you have to fit exact dimensions down to the pixel.
Image size and resolution are important considerations for both performance and UX.
Don’t use images that are too large or too small, and make sure they’re of a high enough resolution that they won’t look blurry on retina displays.
If the maximum image width on your website is 600 pixels, that image is too large. This may cause your web site to load slowly.
To avoid this problem, you need to resize images to the maximum display dimensions required before uploading.
You can resize an image using an easy tool like Canva or do it manually with Photoshop.
Generate SEO-Friendly Alt Text
Alt Text (or alternative text) is a written description of the image that tells Google what the image is about.
Alt text is also referred to as “alt attributes” or “alt tags” by SEOs.
Optimizing your alt text will assist Google in ranking your images on Google Images.
Here are some pointers on how to write effective alt text:
Limit your Alt Text to 125 characters or less
Screen readers and other assistive technologies typically stop reading alt text after the first 125 characters.
It can be a pain to make sure your alt text doesn’t get cut off so it’s best if you cap it at 125 character mark.
The Alt Text should replicate the image’s message
The primary purpose of alt text is to provide a textual representation of an image so that users and search engines can understand what the image is about.
In order to ensure that your alt text is accurate, you should write it while thinking about how you would describe the image to someone who could not see it.
Enclose the information which the image conveys in a brief statement and use it as a text alternative. Be informative and maintain a natural tone of voice and don’t stuff it with keywords.
Make use of your main keyword
It is a good idea to include your main keyword in your alt text but without crossing the line or stuffing it with keywords.
Make sure you include your focus keyword or keyphrase in the image alt text, where it’s appropriate. It’s what you want searchers to find your content for.
Google’s image search on that keyword will benefit from including it in your alt text.
This means that only include your post’s focus keyword if it’s easily included in your alt text and defines the image. If it doesn’t fit your description, use the semantic keyword instead.
Don’t include the words ‘Image’ or ‘Picture’ in Alt Text
Because both Google and users are aware that this is an image, there is no need to repeat it in the alt text. Use alt text to describe the image.
Add Image Structured Data
Structured data markup assists search engines and Google to deliver your images as rich results. It is a type of code that enables search engines to understand your data better.
While Google says relying on structured data doesn’t help you rank higher, it does help to achieve a more detailed image search listing.
For example, let’s say you have recipes on your website and you add structured data to your images, Google can add a badge to the image indicating that it belongs to a recipe.
Google images supports structured data currently for:-
Google provides a number of guidelines for implementing structured data for images.
Here are a few key takeaways:
- You can also use Hootsuite’s Media Library, which has a large collection of images and GIFs that you can use in your social media posts for free!
- When specifying an image as a structured data property, ensure that the image is relevant to the page on which it is displayed.
- All image URLs must be crawlable and indexable. Otherwise, Google Search will not be able to find and display them on the search results page.
Image sitemaps are considered to be a valuable part of an effective SEO strategy.
By creating and submitting an image sitemap, you can increase the chance that your images will be found and displayed in search results.
You can create image sitemaps manually by following Google’s examples.
Up to 1,000 images can be included per page with an image sitemap.
You can use Yoast SEO, which automatically adds visual content to the site map, If your website is hosted on WordPress.
Google has recently announced that some sitemap extension tags will be going away in the near future.
This means that if you’re using a sitemap generator, you’ll need to be careful about which extensions you use.
Some extensions may not be updated to follow new best practices, so it’s important to stay informed about the latest changes.
Create Responsive Images
74% of people are more likely to return to a website if it’s optimized for mobile.
Mobile SEO can be a bit of a tricky topic.
It has the potential to boost your website’s ranking and user engagement.
However, if not done correctly, it can result in a high bounce rate and low conversions.
But, the question is what steps do you take to optimize your images for the mobile-first indexing?
By using responsive images, you can ensure that your images are optimized for both mobile and desktop users.
Google offers guidance on best practices for images, so be sure to follow their recommendations to ensure that your images are Mobile SEO friendly.
Optimize Social Media Image Sizes
Every social media platform has its own ideal image sizes and aspect ratios, and what looks great on one platform might not be as effective on another.
Although there is a lot of overlap, it’s always a great idea to double-check image specifications before posting.
By understanding the dimensions that each site prefers, you can ensure that your photos will always look their best.
Since its inception, Facebook has been a primarily horizontal platform. That is, images and videos are typically displayed in a wide, landscape format.
However, as the number of mobile users has increased, so too has the need for vertical content.
In January 2022, more than 80% of Facebook users only used mobile devices to access the app.
As a result, the social platform has begun to adjust its image size requirements to accommodate the needs of its mobile users.
Aim for a square (1:1) or portrait (4:5) aspect ratio when posting to Facebook.
While Facebook requires feed images to have a minimum width of 479 pixels, aim for a minimum width of 1200 pixels to ensure your images display clearly on the widest possible range of devices. This will help to ensure that your images look great no matter how they’re being viewed.
To optimize for full-screen display on mobile devices, images for Facebook Stories should be vertical (9:16) in aspect ratio.
You can use the built in editing tools to adjust your image to 9:16 if you are uploading via Business Suite.
Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become the leading image-sharing platform.
The platform supports both horizontally and vertically-oriented images.
Instagram supports square images, although they are not as popular now as they were when the platform first launched.
Tips for Instagram Post Sizes:-
- To ensure your images look their best on Instagram, we recommend uploading images that are 1080 pixels wide.
- If you share an image that is wider than 1080 pixels, Instagram reduces it to 1080 pixels.
- It’s important to note that Instagram will keep your photo at its original resolution if it’s between 320 and 1080 pixels wide, as long as the photo’s aspect ratio is between 1.91:1 and 4:5 (a height between 566 and 1350 pixels with a width of 1080 pixels).
- If your image’s aspect ratio doesn’t meet the requirements, it will be cropped to fit within those parameters.
Tips for Instagram Stories:-
- It’s important to make sure your Instagram Stories are the correct size so they appear correctly on screen and don’t take forever to buffer.
- The ideal size for an Instagram Story is 1080 x 1920 pixels, which has an aspect ratio of 9:16. If you upload an image that is smaller than this, it will buffer quickly.
- However, if you don’t use this ratio, your Story may appear with strange cropping or zooming, or large sections of the screen may be blank.
To avoid any problems, make sure you resize your images to the correct size before uploading them to Instagram.
- Make sure your file is less than 8MB.
- On mobile and desktop, cover photos are cropped differently. Before finalizing, make sure to view your profile on both types of displays.
- Make sure to use PNG or JPG images when posting image updates to your company page.
- Make use of a 1.91:1 aspect ratio.
- The recommended post size for LinkedIn is 1200 x 628 pixels.
You can learn more about the image size requirements for other social media networks like Tik Tok, Pinterest etc here.
Beware Of Image Copyright
Make sure there are no copyright issues with the image files you decide to use because the consequences of violating copyright (even unknowingly) are severe.
It’s also important to respect copyrights when using images found on social media.
Instagram says that you can only post content to Instagram that doesn’t violate someone else’s intellectual property rights.
Just because an image is shared on a public account does not mean that it is in the public domain.
The creator of the image still owns the copyright and has the right to control how the image is used.
However, resharing images within a platform using native sharing tools is usually fine.
For example, when an image is retweeted on Twitter or shared on an Instagram story, the original creator is automatically credited.
As long as you are only using images in ways that are permitted by the social media platform you are using, you should not have any problems with copyright infringement.
Where to Find Free and Legal Social Media Images?
- You can use Openverse, an innovative search engine for openly licensed media.
- Google’s Advanced Image Search makes it easy to find images that are available for commercial use.
Image optimization is a key tool for any website owner who wants to improve their site’s overall performance and reach a wider audience.
Before you start uploading your image to your site, perform the above mentioned image optimization rituals as ignoring Image SEO will leave you behind!
- You can also use Hootsuite’s Media Library, which has a large collection of images and GIFs that you can use in your social media posts for free!