Images take up a lot of space on your website so it is best to optimise them for better user experience and functionality. You should optimise your images for better rankings and traffic.
More and more businesses are adding visual content.
Here are a few image optimization tips to help Google read and rank your images:
1. Choosing the right file type for the different types of visual content can bring a huge improvement. JPEG format for pictures, PNG for logos or pictures with solid colour or when you need to use transparency and GIF format for animation.
2. Images tend to be too large and too many of them can bring the page load speed down. Faster website means a better user experience. You can reduce the quality of the image to improve your website speed. Size of the image is given by the number of pixels so you can reduce the quality of the images by 15%-20%. There are PNG 8 bit and PNG 24 bit, you can use PNG 8 bit to keep your picture light sized. To reduce the quality while retaining quality of images you can use software like GIFsicle, JPEGtran, JPEG Mini, OptiPNG and ImageOptim.
3. Resolution is the number of pixels in an image and one of the ways to optimise is to save images at a smaller resolution. Compressed images are smaller in size. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can show the images that should be compressed and the space it will save once compressed. Use free tools like Pixlr Online Photo Editor to save images at smaller resolutions and editing needs.
4. Resize images to scale rather than let CSS and HTML resize them. Though this method can be used with websites that do not have a responsive web design. Other recommendations are crop white spaces from images and provide padding, do not use text within images, reduce bit-depth to smaller colour palette, use raster images only when necessary and minify your images.
5. Use plugins to automatically compress your images if you're using WordPress. Choose the plugins that work best for you. Some of the plugins are WB Smush, CW Image Optimizer, Insanity, Hammy, SEO Friendly images that will compress your images automatically.
6. The more original pictures you use the better the experience for the user and better chances of being ranked for relevant searches. Use original and high-quality images for better SEO. For large images you can consider Google Discover as they are likely to be featured in it.
7. Before you use a photo make sure you have the licence to use it otherwise you are risking a lawsuit. If you violate any copyright laws then you can be issued a notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). You can use Google Images to filter images based on those available for reuse.
8. Image file names tell search engine crawlers the subject matter of the image. Change the default filename to make the search engine understand your image. This will help to improve SEO value.
9. ALT tags are text alternatives to images and you should use them to describe the contents of an image. If the image does not load then the user will get the ALT text. This can also help you achieve better ranking if you associate keywords with images. ALT text is also required for individuals who cannot view images themselves.
10. File path and file name is used to rank images by Google. If you have an ecommerce brand then you should create subfolders for products images rather than placing them in one folder. You can create folders like ‘/shorts/’ and ‘/denims/’ rather than one generic/ media/ folder.
11. Devices that capture the images, automatically create metadata like exposure time, camera type, date taken and more. This information may be useful for photography websites but for others it is irrelevant. You should delete this unnecessary image data. This will help to optimise your images and it will also be easier for search engines to understand the visual content. Use Google Chrome extension - EXIF viewer, Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom to get rid of unnecessary data.
12. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) can be used for logos, icons, text and simple images. The entire content of SVG is just text and it is recommended to use them to create better websites. There are many advantages of using vector images like scalable in browser and editing tools, zoom in or zoom out does not affect their quality, you do not lose quality SEO, they are indexed the same way as JPEG and PNG files and they are smaller in size.
13. Google uses page titles and descriptions as a part of its image search algorithm. You should add metadata, header tags, copy on the page and structured data as they can affect how Google ranks your images.
14. While using AMP or PWAs you need to define your image dimensions. You should include the height and the width attributes for every image and video element. This tells the browser how much space to allocate for the resources and prevents the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) issue that lowers the CLS score. Defining the height and width leads to a better user experience.
15. Optimise your images for mobile as it can give you more ranking power and better user engagement. For this, you should create responsive images as they can adjust to the size of the device used.