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Image Optimization – Tips and Tricks

Today, we’re diving into number eight in my series of what to focus your SEO efforts on in 2024. Which brings us to image optimization. Image optimization involves refining your images so they load faster, look appealing, and deliver exactly what users are searching for. But first, start with keyword research. Knowing the keywords and phrases people search for allows you to integrate them into your image optimization process.

Choosing the right image

Choosing the right image is crucial. Images should be contextually relevant to the content on the page. For example, discussing a men’s blue shirt accompanied by an image of a red shirt misses the mark contextually. Images should support the content on the page and relate closely to the keywords you’re targeting.

Sizing your images

Sizing your images correctly is also vital for loading times—a key component of site speed. If you have a photo that’s 2,000 pixels by 1,000 pixels but it’s displayed on a space that’s only 500 by 250, you should resize the image to fit the intended space. Loading a larger image than necessary slows down your page without any benefit. Additionally, consider loading different sized images for desktop and mobile views. While I won’t recommend specific plugins, tools like Smush and Imagify can automatically adjust image sizes for you, enhancing site speed.

Naming your images

File naming is another critical aspect. A file named “DSC0045.jpg” offers no context or relevance. In contrast, “poodle-puppy-091522-homecoming.jpg” is descriptive and informative. Descriptive file names should include relevant keywords, improving relevance, image indexing, and accessibility.

ALT and Title text optimization

Don’t overlook ALT and title text. Think of ALT text as a photo description for those who can’t see images on a web page, aiding in screen reading and ADA compliance. Descriptive, keyword-inclusive ALT text improves SEO and user experience without stuffing keywords unnecessarily.

Incorporating images into your Google Business Profile can enhance local listing visibility. Encouraging clients to leave reviews with images can also help manage online reputation.

What are the best file formats for images?

Regarding file formats, choose the most efficient one for your needs. For simple illustrations, an 8-bit PNG or GIF might suffice. For detailed, colorful photos, JPEGs or 24-bit PNGs are suitable. Modern formats like WEBP provide smaller file sizes without sacrificing quality, crucial for faster website performance. WEBP will create smaller, richer images that make your website a ton faster. They’re 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs and 25 to 34% smaller than a comparable JPEG image without any real loss in quality.

XML Sitemaps

Creating image sitemaps can further aid search engines in indexing your images efficiently. If you’re unsure whether your images are being indexed, a quick search with “site:yourdomain.com” on Google Images can offer insights.

Most SEO plugins can automatically include images in your XML sitemaps, showcasing the number of images on each page and ensuring that search engines can discover and index your visual content effectively.

In summary, image optimization is about more than just aesthetics; it’s about enhancing your site’s speed, relevance, and user experience. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your images contribute positively to your site’s SEO performance.