Once upon a time, images were simply decorative elements. A website’s images spoke to its overall design and branding scheme…the pictures displayed existed mostly to provide a good user experience.
Today, images matter. A lot.
How can you optimize your website’s images for maximum SEO value? Here’s what forward-thinking developers want you to know about image optimization for the web.
Optimization Starts with File Size
Did you know that your image’s file size actually has a lot to do with how much search engines like it? That’s because most people won’t wait more than a few seconds for a website to load, and too-large images are a surefire slowdown. Search engines are invested in creating happy customer experiences and if your image sizes are bloated, your load times will be too. How large an image should be really depends on your site but a good rule of thumb for ecommerce sites is to keep images smaller than 70 kb when possible.
Naming Conventions for Images
You already know using relevant keywords in your content and headers is important for improving your ranking results. But did you know that your image names act as de facto keywords, too? Search engines don’t just crawl the text on your website, they crawl image file names too. Images named after what they represent (i.e. womens-jeans-flare-leg; kids-button-down-longsleeved-shirt) tell search engines a lot more about your website than names like “DC186285786585”. Those just waste valuable SEO opportunities.
Focus on Alt Tags
For ecommerce websites in particular, alt tags represent valuable real estate. They act like image names in that search engines use them to determine what’s on your site and when to serve it up to web users. An SEO-optimized alt tag might look like this: <img src=”gray-womens-hoodie.jpg” alt=”Gray Women’s Hoodie”>. Basically, alt tags should be used to reinforce your image names but they shouldn’t be over-optimized. Search engines will penalize you if they sense you’re keyword stuffing your alt tags just to game the system.
In today’s online environment, responsiveness is a must-have. Images should be equally responsive to mobile design as the rest of the site; forgetting to format them this way can ruin a web user’s experience. Some platforms automatically produce responsive images when serving up the mobile version of a site, but in some cases it’s necessary to add “srcset” or “picture” attributes to your images so they respond to different screen widths.
Remember that good SEO is more than the sum of its parts. SEO isn’t a one-off line item and it’s not something you do once and forget about. It’s an ongoing process that requires consistent effort…that’s where digital agencies come in.
Synchronicity understands exactly how optimization improves your rankings. We know what works, what doesn’t, and what’s not worth wasting your time on. From the images to the body copy, every element of your website is telling your business’ story to both your customers and to search engines.
What is your website saying about you?
When you’re ready to talk to a digital specialist, drop us a line.