Improving web images for better search results

Friday 21st January 2022

Man with a headset on researching on his computer

Ever wondered why your website is taking forever to load and why your load speed stats are taking a nosedive?

One of the most common mistakes causing slow site speeds are under optimised images. Large images take longer to load and make your site slower than it should be so resizing your images can speed up the loading time. Not only that but a lack of quality imagery can also impact your SEO rankings.

In this article, we’re going to cover some of the easiest way to optimize your website images for better SEO that hopefully lead to conversions.

Use high-quality images

Images are an important part of content creation as users like to see something visual over a large block of text. Photos, unlike the written content, are easier to understand, appreciate and share. They’re straightforward, appealing to look at and have the stats to prove it!

  • People only remember 10% of information three days after hearing it so adding an image can increase recall to 65%.

  • Articles with relevant images get 94% more views compared with articles that have none.

  • 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing said product.

Stock imagery: Using high quality stock images from websites such as iStock, Shutterstock and AdobeStock are a great way to building your brand identity or give your old images an instant refresh. With so much to choose from, you’ll always be able to find something to suit your needs.

Photoshoot: Unfortunately, you can’t use stock imagery for every aspect of your site, especially on the “meet the team” and product pages. Bringing in a professional to create a bank of useful and bespoke images for your brand is definitely worth the investment.

Use the right file type: JPEG or PNG

Images can come in several different file types such as JPG, PNG, GIF, and SVG but more often than not, you’ll only need to use JPG and PNG formats on your website. Depending on the image purpose, you’ll need to use a certain format:

Photographs: These should be saved and uploaded as JPGs as this file type is intended to handle the multitude of colours in a photograph at a small, efficient file size. By using JPG, you won’t be left with an enormous file size that takes ages to load.

Graphics: These should be saved as PNG, especially if they have large flat areas of colour. This includes most graphics, infographics, images with lots of text in them, and logos. They can deal with large areas of colour and text with nice crisp lines which allows you to zoom in and not lose any quality. They also support transparent backgrounds which is desirable for logo placement. As PNGs are higher quality than JPEGs, they tend to be a larger file size so it’s good to bear this in mind.

Resize images to optimize page speed and appearance

Finding the right balance between size and resolution can be tricky - the higher the resolution, the larger the file size will be and the slower it will load. This in turn will affect your overall website’s load speed, UX and SEO ranking.

When sizing your images for use on your website, the maximum size should not exceed 1MB in size, 2000px in width and 72dpi in quality.

Make images the same size and style

Maintaining a consistent size and style throughout your website will make it look better, feel more cohesive and communicate professionalism to your users.

Images on a web page will look better if you use a consistent style and size. Consistency will also help when lining up your text, columns, and other information on your page.

Taking the time to line up your text blocks, columns and other asset will also enhance the overall UX and keep your customers on your page longer, as they won’t find the experience difficult or frustrating.

Name the image file correctly to help your SEO

The image file name can be just as important as the image itself, especially in the world of SEO.

Most people don’t consider this an important task and tend to leave the file name unaltered eg.  iStock-485317331.

By taking the time to rename your file to something more suitable like “girl-holding-a-flower” or “Eiffel-tower-at-night” will not only make your photos easier to manage but also give your SEO a boost.

Try to stick to only use lowercase letters, numbers, and hyphens as they will be easier to read.

Fill out your captions and alternative text

Once you’ve uploaded your image to your website, don’t forget to fill out the additional information fields which will give you some extra SEO points.

Alt tags (or alternative text) aren’t visible to your average user, but they do provide search engines with a basic idea of the image subject matter

Fill in the Alt Text field with a descriptive phrase of your image, including a targeted keyword if possible. Alt Text also helps visually impaired visitors navigate your site with audio-based software, so it’s a nice way to improve your websites accessibility.

Adding in a caption for your image is also beneficial since users tend to read image captions more than other website text.

Put the image near relevant text

Be strategic when choosing images and ensure that are related to what the text is saying, rather than something completely unrelated. An image surrounded by relevant information including keywords will rank better.

This will also helps avoid stock photo cliches - if your website is promoting the latest technology products, you won’t get any SEO boosts from having a photo of an orange. Product and industry specific imagery is far more relevant and interesting for your users and ranking.

Summary: Optimizing a website image

We’ve covered most of the basic tactics you can implement when taking on the task of optimising your images for a better SEO ranking. Below, we have summarised the key points that we’ve discussed in this article:

  • High quality and consistent images will improve your UX
  • Use the right image file format depending on your asset – JPG or PNG
  • Rename images to a relevant and descriptive phrase that includes a target keyword
  • Fill out the Alt Text and caption fields when uploading your image
  • Ensure your image is the correct size and not too large
  • Image placement is important.


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