You need to optimise images for your SEO because of Googles move to mobile first indexing & its desire to making the user experience faster.
Optimise images on your website for speed and accessibility to ensure search engine rank isn’t affected.
Here are my tips to make sure you are getting the best from the images on your website:
- Use the right file type
- Keep image size to a minimum (without sacrificing resolution)
- Use Alt Tags
- Don’t duplicate content
- Don’t overdo it
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Use the right file type
Three types of image files used on most websites. Which one to use and where is important as each image type has its own strengths.
JPG’s, or JPEG’s are the most common file type found on the web. Excellent for high resolution and a lot of colour, gradients or complex patterns. JPG’s handle this type of image well because of the wide colour selection.
JPG’s can be saved with a wide range of resolutions, giving you flexibility between the image size and the quality.
PNG’S, or Portable Network Graphics, are popular because of the ability to incorporate transparency into the image. This is great for web use when you want to overlay an image over a background.
PNG images are let down by the limited number of colours available, and the limited levels of quality in which they can be saved.
GIF’s were once a popular format, but due to the limitations of colour selection, they are not used commonly today.
One good thing that GIF files are used for is for animated files found on chat platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger.
Keep file size to a minimum
Once you know what file type you are going to use on your page, the next thing to do is a save the image to the optimal size, but you need to be sure not to sacrifice the image quality.
To do this, you need to know the dimensions of the location where the image is being placed (in pixels). You then adjust the image to match these dimensions.
HOT TIP: If the website you are using the image on uses responsive design, then you need to make sure the file will fit the maximum size it will be viewed in.
Resize or crop the image to the exact size that you need, and then save the image. If you are using Photoshop or Illustrator then when you save the file you can select “Save for web”. Your file is then automatically optimised to the best size and quality ratio. If the program you are using doesn’t offer a feature like this, then 72 dpi is the lowest resolution you should aim for.
As a general rule, the overall size of your web page shouldn’t be more than about 1 or 2 MB and take 2 seconds or less to load. That means you should be keeping images down to around 200 MB each, and perhaps even less if your page uses a lot of images.
Compress images for the web
You can also use image compression apps, or websites to reduce the file size. Some content management systems also offer plug-ins to do this for you although be sure that this isn’t causing your page load to slow in other ways.
Image compression removes hidden meta and geodata from images that isn’t needed.
Use Alt Tags
Alt Tags or Alt Text (Alternative Text) are the images descriptions. The description sits in the HTML code on your site and is not visible to the user. They describe the appearance and function of the image used on your page to search engines.
(Be careful not to confuse your Alt Tag with your image file name or caption. These are different things.)
A good Alt Tag should give just enough information to describe the image. It shouldn’t be too spammy or overloaded with Keywords. The idea is when you insert an image onto your page, it is in context with the text surrounding it. The search engine then knows that the image that you have on the page is relevant to the text the user is reading.
You should have at least one image on the page that is in line with the topic of the page, and the Alt Tag should reflect this.
But not all Alt Tags have to be about the of the primary topic of the page.
For example, if you were creating a page about black stilettos, you may want to put in an image of some items of clothing that pair well with this type of shoe. In this instance, the Alt Tag may not contain the term “black stilettos”, but rather a description of the clothing.
What is important is that where you insert the image is into the section where you are explaining why that piece of clothing pairs well with that type of shoe.
Most Content Management Systems make it easy for you to manage your Alt Tags without having to be an expert developer. Check with your provider if you aren’t sure.
Don’t duplicate images or Alt Tags
Try to avoid using that same images over and over again across your site. If you have to then make sure you use different Alt Tags on them.
Google likes to see unique content on your pages. Using the same image, or same Alt Tag multiple times across your site makes it difficult for search engines to know how to index your pages.
Don’t overdo it
Don’t get fooled into thinking the more images the better. It depends on the industry you are in, but sometimes less is more when it comes to your images. It’s more important that the images are in context, and tagged correctly.
Use a Content Delivery Network
Lastly, if you are finding that your site is slow because you have a lot of images or content that is taking a long time to load, then a Content Delivery Network (CDN) may be the solution.
A CDN is a go-between for your website servers and your users. They utilise a network of servers in multiple locations around the globe to store your websites content to speed up the delivery to your users.
They also help distribute bandwidth by handling the load across multiple servers, which provides protection from sudden surges in traffic.
Check with your CMS provider or webmaster to see if they have a CDN available to use, or read more about CDN’s here: Adding and leveraging a CDN on your website
NewyMedia is a digital marketing company based in Newcastle, Australia. If you need help with the images on your website’s, then we are here to help. We can take care of your photography and graphics, and provide you with optimised files for your site. You can contact us here, or sign up below to join our mailing list for more great tips and advice.