What Is Image Optimization and Why Does It Matter

What Is Image Optimization and Why Does It Matter

“Image optimization” is one of those words that sounds complicated, but really isn’t. Despite that, there’s an unfortunate number of people who throw the term around without really knowing its significance.

Image optimization is actually all about properly formatting your photos on your site so that they show up in search results. 

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about image optimization. 

What Is Image Optimization? 

Part of knowing how to optimize an image means knowing what image optimization actually is. 

Image optimization refers to formatting a photo or image so that it doesn’t lose its quality but also adds to SEO efforts online. 

With that quick definition out of the way, let’s take a look at why image optimization matters. 

Why Does It Matter?

It’s no secret that websites add plenty of images to their sites to make them appealing. However, without properly optimizing them, those images can actually hurt their web performance. 

For one thing, overly large images can slow down sites. Slower sites equal higher bounce rates, which mean less viewers on a page. Slower sites are also avoided by SERPs because search engines know that this harms user experience. 

According to HTTP Archives, images make up about 21% of the weight of a website. When you’ve got images that are large and heavy, you can quickly exceed that percentage.

On top of that, poorly optimized images aren’t like to show up in SERPs. This means a missed opportunity for readers to click on your site in image searches. 

Besides this, image optimization actually save space on your server. If you’ve already got a fairly heavy site, this can be a big advantage to help speed things up and save space which you can use for other things. 

How to Optimize Your Images

Now that you know what image optimization is and why it matters, let’s take a look at how to optimize images. 

There are a number of ways that you can go about this, but the most common include: 

  • Selecting the right file format
  • Creating a relevant name
  • Adding alt attributes
  • Showing multiple product angles
  • Reducing file size
  • Optimizing thumbnails
  • Implementing image sitemaps

Let’s take a closer look at each of these strategies. 

Choose the Right File Format

Choosing the right file format is a major part of optimizing images for your site. When it comes to file formats, you have two choices: 

  1. Lossless formatting
  2. Lossy image formatting

Lossless formatting doesn’t reduce image quality but greatly reduces size. Lossy formatting, on the other hand,  involves compressing photos to remove data from the image but considerably reduce the size. 

The type of formatting you choose will depend partly on which file format you go with for your site:

  • JPEG: can be both lossy or lesslessly formatted
  • PNG: You can get a higher quality of images at the expense of a larger size. It can also be either lossy or lossless. Can support more color options than GIFs.
  • GIF: Recommended for animated images, only uses lossless format. It only uses 256 colors.

Choose a Relevant Image Name

Another way to optimize your images is by naming them with simple and relevant keywords. Search engines look for image file names as well as texts and articles, increasing the chances that your site will pop up for a specific search term. 

By default, your laptop’s camera assigns a long generic name to an image. However, adding a shorter name that uses keywords can improve the probability that your images show up in SERPs.

Alt Attributes

Alt attributes are alternative texts attached to images. They’re used if a browser can’t properly render it. Alt attributes are also important for accessibility. 

Alt attributes should be short, simple phrases describing an image and should generally have keywords included in them. Just make sure not to overoptimize—alt tags can also be indicators of keyword stuffing in Google’s eyes. 

Showing Various Product Angles

Part of image optimization means showcasing various product angles in carousels. This gives customers a better idea of your product and what it’s actually like. You can then add a specific alt attribute for each product shot. 

Adjust the File Size

You can also use one of the thousands of online applications to adjust your file size. As mentioned earlier, this is important for avoiding overly heavy sites. 

A few image optimizers that work well include: 

  • Fileoptimizer
  • Imageoptim
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Plugin compression gzip
  • ImageKit’s intelligent
  • Kinsta
  • TinyPNG
  • GIMP

Just note that images in product stores such as eBay or Amazon must have be smaller than 70KB. These apps and plugins can make it easy for you to stick to those requirements. 

Using Optimized Thumbnails

Thumbnails are especially important foreCommerce businesses, as they help to promote and showcase a company’s products. However, these can increase your page load times. 

If you’re going to use thumbnails, make sure that they’re properly optimized and have been made as small as possible. This helps to reduce webpage load issues. 

Image Sitemaps

Image sitemaps work similarly to your regular sitemap. These work to improve user experience as they navigate through large numbers of images on your site. 

Additionally, image sitemaps help increase the likelihood that Google will index your site. Of course, they don’t guarantee anything. But, they can still be one way to help boost the chances of your page showing up in SERPs.

Get Started With Successful Image Optimization

Image optimization is one of the keys to getting your business seen online. When you properly format your images, you have better chances of showing up in SERPs. 

On top of that, you make it more likely that visitors will stay on your page and engage with your site. Overall, that means more customer leads and more potential sales. 

If you’re trying to get your business seen online, CJ Content Co is your best bet. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help your business grow!

Share This Article: