A statistics from HTTP Archive reported that picture already made up 60% of whole Internet. That means, we spend most of times on downloading pictures while surf the Internet. From the perspective of performance optimization, how to optimize images will remain a focus.
Website speed also affects SEO. This article will show some basic skills on how to optimize images for better search engine rankings.
Know Which Image File Type to Use for the Right Situations
There are three common file types that are used to post images. These are JPEG, GIF, and PNG.
Let’s look at the 3 file types and how they affect the same image:
JPEG (or .jpg) images are a somewhat of an old file type and has become the de facto standard image of the Internet. JPEG images are able to be compressed considerably, which results in quality images with small file sizes. In the image above, the JPEG format provides nice quality and low file size.
GIFs (.gif) are lower quality images than JPEGs and are used for more simple images such as icons and decorative images. GIFs also support animation as I’m sure all you Redditors know. Regarding image optimization, it’s great to use GIFs for the plain and simple images on a webpage (that are just a few colors), but for complex images and photos, GIFs are not always as attractive – this is especially true for bigger and more photoesque image.
The MacBook GIF above is a case where we can get away with using GIF. This is because the photo is small enough where GIF works well.
PNG images are becoming more popular as an alternative to GIFs. PNGs support many more colors than GIFs, and they don’t degrade over time with re-saves like JPEGs. Even though the PNG file type is starting to be used more, the file sizes can still be much larger than what you would find with JPEG images.
Here are some tips to remember when choosing file formats:
- For most ecommerce situations – JPEGs will be your best bet. They provide the best quality and the smallest file size.
- Never use GIFs for large product images. The file size will be very large and there is nogood way to reduce it. Use GIFs for thumbnails and decorative images.
- PNGs can be a good alternative to both JPEGs and GIFS. If you are only able to get product photos in PNG format, try using PNG-8 over PNG-24. PNGs excel at simple decorative images because of their extremely small file size.
Most image editing software can save images to any of the file types discussed above.
Scale for image SEO
Loading times are an important UX and therefore SEO aspect. The faster the site, the easier to visit and index a page is. Images can have a huge impact on loading times, especially when you load a large image and show it really small, like using a 2500×1500 pixels image and showing it at 250×150 pixels size. The entire image will still have to be loaded. Scale the image to the size you want to show it before you upload to your site. WordPress helps by providing the image in multiple sizes after upload. That doesn’t mean the file size is optimized as well, that’s just the image size.
Combine your optimized image with relevant content
Businesses with a lot of visual content are able to use their eye-catching images combined with content to make a greater impression on and an even greater experience for the human visitor.
When you provide valuable content that informs, educates and entertains, you gain trust with your readers, making them more likely to contact you when they need the products or services you provide.
Image optimization is an easy but important task that can make a difference on whether your images get indexed and lead visitors back to your website.
Test Your Images!
The entire point of optimizing your images is to help increase your bottom line. We’ve talked about reducing file sizes and getting the search engines to index them – but what about testing images to see what converts into more business?
- Test the Number of Product Images Per Page: Since loading time is an issue for some non-hosted ecommerce sites, you may find that reducing the number of images on a page will increase click-through rates and sales. But it’s also possible that providing a lot of images per page (such as different views) will improve the user experience and lead to more sales. The only way to find this out is to test.
- Test What Angles Your Customers Prefer: You may find that by providing the views your customers want to see, it will increase overall loyalty. A great way to figure this out is to survey your customers about what they like the most when viewing product shots. Surveying your customers in general is always a great habit to get into.
- Test How Many Product Listings You Should Have on Category Pages: 10, 20, 100 products? Test the number of products you list on category pages to see what works best for your customers and their shopping experience.
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