Optimizing images for SEO will not only help you speed your website’s page loading time but it’s a tactic that will also help you rank higher in the search engine results pages.
With Google’s latest Mobile Friendly Update on May12th 2016, mobile user experience has never been as important as it is today.
Google clearly states that fast and optimized pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions.
Society is becoming increasing visual this has been proven with over 62% of today’s internet traffic being made up of images.
If you produce content on a regular basis through your business blog then you know you simply cannot escape using images in your posts, they attract and maintain eyeballs.
Images are one of the website elements that can slow down your website, hence the reason why your website should be properly optimized to make the most of SEO.
Optimizing images for SEO is one of the most basic On-page SEO techniques for improving your ranking on your business blog.
In this article, we will explore tips, plugins, and online tools that will help you optimize your website images.
Step 1. Find The Right Image
Finding the perfect unique image for your blog posts is the first step to a having an impact on your readers. When selecting images, make sure they relate to the content, topic, and theme of your blog post.
It’s also important to keep a 60/40 text to image ratio for all your posts otherwise if you overdo the visuals for your posts they will no longer have the impact that you would like them to.
Images can serve as a creative interpretation of the message you would like to convey to your audience, a way to generate curiosity amongst your readers.
Animated GIF’s such as the one posted above are very popular these days if overused obviously they can make your content less attractive to read.
Alternative to posts you can use illustrations such as graphs or pie charts to convey your message.
When searching for the perfect images for your posts always make sure they are royalty free.
If you’re looking for photos to use for a design and want to keep yourself out of copyright trouble you need to locate websites that explicitly define the copyright license of each image.
There are five websites I would recommend you check out;
- Pixabay: My favorite I always use this website to source for images for my own posts
- Public Domain Archive
Step 2. Name The Image Appropriately.
It’s important to use the Keywords for your article to name your images before you even upload and insert them to your posts. Optimizing Images for SEO starts with the right name.
Important To Note: Google has to rely on textual cues in order to know what your image is about and how it relates to your content.
Even though Google machine learning capabilities are more advanced nowadays it’s important to stick to these best practices in order to make the most out of your SEO efforts.
Step 3. Scale Your Images
Most of the images we find online are often too large to fit as is in our content, so often times you will be required to scale down your images.
Canva is an online tool that I use myself to help me scale down my images.
As mentioned earlier images have a huge impact on your page’s loading times so your objective should always be to use smaller images sizes.
If you only need to show an image of 250 * 150 pixels size, then you don’t need to use a 2,500 * 1,500-pixel image and scale it down. The entire image will still have to be loaded anyway which eventually will slow down your page loading speeds.
WordPress allows you after upload to pick multiple sizes of your image but this only caters for the size and doesn’t mean the file is optimized.
Step 4. Reduce The Image File Size
The next step is to make sure your images file size is reduced to the lowest possible level. The best way to achieve this is through image compression.
There are two ways you can achieve compression for your images lossy (picture quality reduction) and lossless (same picture quality)
Recommended Online Tools for Compression:
This is an online image optimization tool that allows you to choose either lossy of lossless compression of your images.
You can upload an unlimited number of images although each images file has to be 1MB or less.
They offer premium features to their paying clients such as image resizing, ability to add multiple image sources, allows you save directly to your Dropbox account and ability to upload unlimited image file sizes.
Another online tool similar to Kranke.io which allows you to choose lossy and lossless compression.
The main difference is that it doesn’t allow you to bulk upload your images and the single file sizes are limited to 10 MB.
This tool supports compression of both .JPEG and .PNG image files.
One awesome feature about this tool is it allows you bulk upload images with drag and drop
One of the biggest downsides to this tool is it only allows you to upload and compress one image at a time, which makes it unfeasible for bulk image optimization.
Content creators such as myself may find this feature limiting because we compress a minimum of five images every day.
I absolutely love this tool, it allows you to compress up to 20 images at a time and gives you the option to download them either separately or together in a ZIP archive.
One of the coolest features about this tool is it allows you to control the quality reduction, using a convenient slider. It indicates how much you want the quality to be reduced on a scale of 1-100.
This tool also allows you to preview the compressed image in real-time.
Recommended WordPress Plugins:
With this plugin, any image you upload to your WordPress library will be automatically optimized (in this case “Smushed”)
This plugin is available in free and premium formats. You can also optimize images from your Media Library individually all you need to do is Click the Smush option on the Attachment Details window.
Important To Note: By default, WP Smush uses lossless optimization techniques, which means some of the quality of the image may be lost.
After installing the plugin every JPG, PNGS and GIF you upload will be automatically optimized.
The difference with this plugin compared to the rest mentioned here is it doesn’t allow you to turn off the option of compression each image uploaded.
The plugin allows you to choose between lossy and lossless compression methods, using the former as the default.
Important To Note: You will be required to sign up to their subscription list, then they will provide you with an API Key which you will then provide during the activation process.
This plugin will not only optimize the files you upload but also the multiples sized images WordPress automatically creates for these media files (i.e thumbnail, small, medium and large)
By default, this plugin will optimize your images as they are uploaded but it won’t show the compression details on the Attachment Details window of each file or in the menu, so you’ll have to manually compare file sizes in order to notice any difference.
The great thing about this plugin is it employs only lossy compression methods, which make for a drastic reduction in file sizes while mostly preserving the quality of the images.
This plugin doesn’t offer many configuration options in its settings page since you can’t modify the compression methods it uses. Despite this limitation compressions for JPG & PNG perform very well when it comes to the optimization process.
Similar to the Kraken.io online tool this plugin enables you to optimize PNG, JPG, & GIF files through it own API.
To set up the plugin you will need to sign-up for a free account at Kraken.io homepage.
This plugin optimizes your images using an ‘intelligent lossy’ compression profile which is designed to yield drastic savings without notably impacting image quality. You also have the option to manually enable a lossless option on its settings page.
What Image format is the best?
JPG, PNG, AND GIF are the most popular image formats used on the internet. GIF’s are meant for animations and if used in excess may damage your SEO.
JPG suits well for images of people, cats, flowers and landscapes
My favorite is PNG because it can be used for portrait and the transparent background.
Step 5. Apply ALT Text & Title Text
The Alt text is added to an image so there will be a descriptive text when the image for whatever reason cant be displayed to the visitor. It is also an additional way for search engines such as Google to know what your images are about.
It is also an additional way for search engines such as Google to know what your images are about.
Make sure the text includes your Keywords for your blog posts and describes the image.
As a rule of thumb always keep you ALT Text conveyed in five words or less.
Step 6: Align your Images
The last and final step is to align your images within your content, it can be in one of the following ways:
- Align Left
- Align Centre
- Align Right
- No Alignment
Optimizing images for SEO is extremely important because page load times is one of the Google ranking factors.
Just a small recap on the six steps;
- Find The Right Image
- Name The Image Appropriately.
- Scale Your Images
- Reduce The Image File Size
- Apply ALT Text & Title Text
- Align your Images
By following these simple SEO tips you can encourage higher rankings in the SERP’s, increased web traffic, and higher customer conversion rates.
Too busy to keep up with your blog optimization? We’ve got you covered!
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