Did you know that 1 second delay in page loading time costs Amazon $1.7 billion in revenue?
Image optimization is one of the most neglected areas when it comes to driving search traffic and increasing conversion rates. If you want to speed up your website/blog, images are the first place to start. Image optimization brings a new source of traffic from image searches. This service allows users to perform a search just for images and can lead more visitors to your site/blog.
There are many ways, you can optimize your images for search engines.
1. Use the right image
Can't use Google Images to pick any image and add it in your article because those images might be protected be copyright and you might run into some big trouble for using such images. So, you can use the websites, like FreeDigitalPhotos, ShutterStock, Pixabay that provides images for free. You can also get high-quality and professional images by paying a few bucks.
2. Choose the right file format
There are three major image formats to choose from - .jpeg, .png and .gif.
- JPEG - Most commonly used image format. Supported everywhere and keeps file size small. It is best for digital photography.
- PNG - It is a lossless format. If you edit the image multiple times or resize it and compress it, it won't lose any data or degrade in quality.
- GIF - It is a bitmap image format used for simple art and animations. It supports small size images.
3. Reduce image file size
Image file size is a huge factor that affects your website / blog load time. The bigger they are, the more likely they will slow down your site/blog. You should be careful not to reduce the size too much, as this will affect quality.
4. Set up the ALT tag
Alt tags represent information about a picture displayed in the event that the image is not loaded successfully. Google considers this an important ranking factor. Don't forget to fill out the alt tag for all images on your site. It will take you some time, but the benefits are worth it.
5. Use captions in the Image
The captions are available to you so that you can tell your readers, what you are trying to say by using the image. Captions are the description that appears right below the images in your site/blog. Captions will reduce the bounce rate, which will improve your SEO score and increase the chances of the image getting a higher position in the search engine results.
6. Use surrounding text
Make sure the text surrounding the images is relevant. When Google crawls your images, it also checks the surrounding content. After the Hummingbird update, Google is paying much more attention to semantics and context. Now search engines much better understand the meaning of words and can make connections between them.
7. Use Image sitemaps
If you run a site/blog on topics that have nothing to do with images, then you can avoid the image sitemaps. But if you run a photography blog or a tech blog that requires a lot of images, then it is a good idea to create an image sitemap to make sure the images are indexed properly in the search engines.
8. Separate your thumbnails from main pictures
Thumbnails should be as small as possible to minimize page load time, means you need to resize them and use the appropriate level of compression. You can do this by a photo editing powerhouse like Photoshop.
9. Don't rely on third party image hosting
It is always a good idea to use your own servers to host your images. Image hosting services like Postimage allow you to upload images onto their servers, which is great for saving some space, but your images may become deleted or blocked when the hosting services are over-whelmed with high amounts of traffic.
10. Improve image loading speed for responsive theme
Your website/blog is often not a great fit for the smartphone's small screen. You need to develop a responsive or a mobile site/blog. When dealing with a responsive design, host the lowest file size image in the <img> tag and then change it via the CSS for non-mobile users.
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