A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a properly optimized image is worth significantly more. This is also one of the reasons why businesses in the Emerald City are turning to Seattle SEO services en masse.
If you haven’t yet realized the importance of image optimization for your small business’s website, you’re in the right place. We’ll discuss image optimization, its importance, and a few ways to do it right.
Let’s get started:
Image Optimization at a Glance
Image optimization is a process that allows you to feature high-quality images on your website while decreasing their file size as much as possible. To pull this off, you need to consider the images’ format, resolution, dimension, and display size.
You can optimize your images in different ways. Some of the most popular methods include:
Simply resizing an image is a hassle-free technique for people who aren’t as comfortable tinkering with their website on their own. Instead of adding expansive pictures to your website, you can chop them down to a more feasible size.
Caching is a little more complicated than resizing. You need some technical know-how and coding knowledge to do it right. When you cache the images on your website, they’ll be stored in your visitors’ browsers. On subsequent visits, the images will load much faster because they’ll simply be loaded from the cache instead of being downloaded all over again.
You can also compress your images before uploading them to your website. Image compression apps such as TinyJPG, TinyPNG, and Compressor.io offer a quick and easy way of reducing your images’ file size. These tools get rid of concealed data in the image file—such as metadata, geolocation, and additional color profiles—that have no bearing on the image quality. As a result, they significantly reduce the file size without damaging the visual quality of an image.
Choosing the right image format is also a key factor in image optimization. Here’s a quick look at the most frequently used image formats:
- PNG: associated with high-quality images, but results in heavier image files. Ideal for low-color, transparent, or text-heavy images.
- JPEG: some loss of quality, especially compared to PNG, but you can tweak the quality to balance it with file size.
- Webp: when combined with lossless or even lossy compression, webp images can be quite practical since both Chrome and Firefox support them.
- GIF: GIFs feature a small color range, which makes them unsuitable for most images. It’s not all bad news, though—GIFs can work well for animation.
- TIFF: TIFFs rule the roost as far as image quality is concerned. But this comes at a price—TIFF images are uncompressed and substantially larger than other formats.
Before we get into the importance of image optimization, let’s make an important distinction. When we discuss images in this article, we’ll be talking about images that serve a purpose on your website.
Decorative images also have a part to play in how your website looks, but they offer little to no actual value beyond aesthetics. Decorative images include borders, spacers, background images, and other small visual elements.
Why Seattle Businesses are Prioritizing Image Optimization
The visual content on your business website plays an important role in how your current and potential customers perceive your company. Without high-quality images, you’ll only be left with walls of text that no one will bother to read in full. But when you include images carelessly, you could be putting your website’s user experience at risk.
Seattle business owners are rapidly prioritizing image optimization because of the following reasons:
Reason 1: It Improves Your Website’s Loading Speed
As the name indicates, page load speed—or webpage loading speed—is the time a webpage takes to load completely. Page load speed can be affected by various factors, such as:
- Website design
- Website layout
- Website host
Note that website design is at the top of the list. This includes images.
The gold standard is a website that loads all its pages in seconds—ideally, under five seconds. Beyond five seconds, you could have an impatient visitor on your hands. If it takes longer than ten seconds, then your visitor will just close your website and go elsewhere.
If you want to know why your website’s loading speed is so important, look at it this way: it reveals a lot about the user experience you’re providing. Your website’s speed is the first factor that can make an impression on your visitors. You need to make sure it’s the right one.
There are many advantages to having a fast-loading website. It encourages your customers to spend more time on it, explore all its sections, and check out your products and content. Image optimization isn’t the only determining factor for a website’s speed, but business owners who do it right can benefit from it greatly.
Reason 2: It’s Great for Your Website’s SEO
Image optimization also ensures that your website’s SEO strategy can continue to be effective. If your business is working with SEO services in Seattle, you might already be familiar with the impact of images on your website.
If you don’t know much about image optimization and its SEO connection, just remember that a website’s loading speed is an important ranking signal for Google. Websites with poor loading speeds find themselves in low rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs)—and that’s a place where no business owner wants their website to be.
On the subject of SEO, image SEO is a topic that all business owners should know about, and we’ll be discussing it in more detail later in the post.
Reason 3: It Helps Increase Your Conversions
Businesses that have a faster loading speed and higher search rankings are in an ideal position to enjoy increased conversions. As long as you have a proper conversion optimization strategy implemented on your website, you’ll have better chances of turning casual visitors into paying customers.
Even better, when visitors are happy with your website’s loading speed and can look at high-quality images of a product before buying it, they’ll be more likely to return. As every business owner worth their salt knows, retaining customers is just as vital as acquiring customers if they want their business to do well.
Reason 4: It Boosts User Engagement
User engagement can be a fickle thing. It doesn’t take much for a visitor to be dissatisfied or unhappy with your offerings and go elsewhere. But on the other hand, you can make an effort to keep your visitors happy.
If your website boasts optimized images and quick loading times, its visitors will be motivated to spend more time on it. Of course, your website also needs top-notch content and an intuitive, user-friendly design to retain customer attention. But generally, the longer a customer stays on your website, the more likely they are to be converted.
Whether that conversion looks like a product purchase, a service subscription, or a newsletter signup depends on your business.
Image Optimization and SEO
We discussed above how image optimization can help your SEO activities. Images can also play a more direct role in your website’s SEO, which is what image SEO is all about.
Much of the optimization we’ve discussed in this post has focused on the performance aspects of your website. Now, let’s take a look at how images can be made more SEO-friendly for better search engine rankings.
Name Your Images
Many new business owners don’t really care what they’re naming the images on their website, but SEO services in Seattle know better. File names are quite important from an SEO perspective. You can either waste this opportunity or use it to further refine your SEO.
Google crawls the file names that you provide for your website’s images. To make the most of them, ensure that all your images have descriptive filenames, with a valuable keyword thrown in for good measure. A keyword-rich yet spam-free file name can give your content a boost.
For example, if your content features an image of women’s handbags, using the default file name—something like DSC1234.jpg—is a bad idea. Instead, go with a name like “purple-designer-handbag” if “designer handbag” is one of the keywords you’re targeting.
Provide Alt-Image Tags
Alt image tags help make your website more accessible for people with visual impairments. They describe what your images look like and what they’re all about. As a bonus, they also provide the same information to search engines.
Since search engines can’t “see” your images in the traditional sense, they go through the altimage tags that you provide to understand them. Adding relevant images with these tags to your content can boost your website’s relevance in Google’s (metaphorical) eyes. Ultimately, it can give your website an advantage in image search and regular search.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when using altimage tags:
- Use simple and descriptive language in your alt image tags, similar to your image file names.
- Add relevant keywords to your alt image tags if they fit naturally. Forcing or stuffing keywords is a major faux pas that you must avoid.
Mobile optimization is one of the most significant aspects of SEO. It applies to websites as well as images. Google is going big on mobile friendliness, so websites that aren’t optimized for mobiles tend to get penalized with bad rankings.
While your website has to be mobile-friendly, your images must also follow suit. To make sure that your website is prepared for Google’s mobile-first index, you’ll need to choose responsive images.
Responsive images automatically adjust themselves to the size of the website, regardless of whether the visitor is on a mobile device or a desktop. By effortlessly following the scale of the website, responsive images provide a better user experience and—by extension—better SEO.
Adding Images to the Sitemap
This step might require the help of Seattle SEO services, but images and sitemaps are a pairing you can’t afford to ignore. You can either add images to your current sitemap or develop a new sitemap for images. Either of these steps will get the job done.
When you include images in your sitemap, it makes it easier for search engine crawlers to crawl and index your images. The result? Better visibility and increased traffic.
Using Unique Images
Stock imagery works for just about every website. But it can come at the cost of less-than-ideal search rankings. It’s not that stock photos will drag your website down on SERPs, but they’ll usually have no major impact on your website’s ranking either.
The reason is in their name. Stock photographs are used by many websites, so your website will likely feature the same images that are used by countless others. You already know that unique content can be better for your search rankings than reproducing content published elsewhere. In the same vein, using unique images can be better for your SEO rankings because your website is delivering something different.
Avoid Copyright Issues
Last but not least, watch out for potential copyright issues when using images. This is another potential hazard of using stock photographs. Verify that you’re only adding the images that you’re allowed to.
Here are your options:
- Buy the appropriate license for the images you want to use
- Go with royalty-free images that don’t require a license and can be freely used
- Use your own high-quality images. This is often the most convenient option, and as we just discussed above, also better for your search rankings.
Whether you’re about to start developing a website for your small business in Seattle, or you already have an established website that’s up and running, paying attention to image optimization is well worth it.
With some basic knowledge and a little help from Seattle SEO services, you can ensure that the images on your website aren’t dragging your website’s functionality, performance, and search rankings down.
Originally posted 2022-04-04 21:26:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter