Everyone talks about SEO and about how profitable it is to have a website optimized for search engines. Many people spend a long time to optimize the text elements on the website forgetting about images. The images have an important role in search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing and if you have a website that has many pictures, you’ll see how much traffic can generate only one well optimized image. In fact, many people out there miss this and lose huge amounts of traffic.
Optimize Image Size
It is no secret that search engines like Google and Bing are placing great importance on how fast does a website load up. The website text is loading extremely fast because it has a small size, but the ones triggering problems here are images. Fortunately, there are simple ways for you to improve image loading time:
1. Use Proper Image Formats
You have to know what image formats you will use for different types of images: Usually, the JPEG format is most popular, but in order to give search engines best impression, you have to consider using all of them correctly.
.JPEG – is quite popular and used just because it manages to compress pictures in a really neat way. The JPEG compression comes with a lossy compression though and it is not adviced to use it when you want to share high quality images. You can use this format for most of your pictures and if you decide to convert from other HQ format to JPEG it is advised to use a 80% quality to keep it small, but at the same time pretty lossless.
.GIF – A bitmap image format which is mostly used on small images such as sharing buttons, small icons and animated graphics.
.PNG – It is used to display HQ images. PNG files are usually larger than any other formats.
2. Use Loss-less Image Compression Tools
If you really care about the image quality and you don’t want to lose it in any kind, then don’t worry because there are plenty of solutions to help you. You should know that usually large photo files with .PNG or .JPEG come with some additional information which can increase the image size. There are online apps and websites created to help you remove that with ease:
Simple and fast cross-platform tool for optimizing images for search engines. It can handle JPEG, PNG and the user interface makes it even more easy to obtain best results.
One of the most popular image compression applications available online. Smush.it is a project started by Yahoo! and it comes with a very comprehensive way to optimize multiple images simultaneously.
3. Use Image Sprites
Loading multiple images can take longer for a internet browser since it generates multiple server requests and that’s why experts decided to create one image containing multiple elements and combine it into sprites.
Sprites are usually created using CSS and you can find a pretty good article about it on W3Schools.
Optimize Image Text
Yes, search engines place great importance on text because that’s the way people actually search online. Therefore you have to consider working on keyword optimization for images too:
1. Use a Proper Image Name
No matter what image format you have implemented in your website, an even more important aspect is to take care of the image name. Be detailed about the picture topic and at the same time try to keep it short and neat.
The photo from left has a pretty general name: dog.jpg…while indeed there’s a dog, search engines see other things first and to be honest, there are also over 3 billion results on images for this search query so it’s extremely hard to even manage to get your image out front. The second image has a pretty descriptive name which will let search engines users find it much easier. The photo has targeted a specific kind of dog in a specific time: this will give you advantage in 2 fields – temporal and niched ones.
2. Use Alt and Title Attributes
The HTML tag called <img> supports two attributes: Title and Alt. While both of them are essential for search engine rankings, you must know when to use and when not to use them.
The alt tag is essential whether the image you want to use is a image containing a link or not, while the title attribute should only be used when you add a link to that particular photo. Adding both of them is extremely simple and fast.
<img src=”dog.jpg” alt=”A Golden Labrador” /> will result in
<a href=”http://brainypal.com”> <img src=”dog.jpg” alt=”A Golden Labrador” title=”Golden Labrador Dog Article”/></a> will become
containing a link to BrainyPal.com and showing the text “Golden Labrador Dog Article” when rollover.
How to Optimize Images on WordPress Websites
WordPress is the most popular content management platform out there so there’s a huge possibility that your website runs on it. Therefore I would like to show you how you can simplify the image optimization process using just WordPress and few SEO friendly plugins.
1. Use The Media Box
People usually skip many steps when implementing a photo in WordPress posts and personally I advise them not to. The media box allows you to add images, video or audio files and each of them comes with few options. In images case you have the Alt and Title options for each image. You can also add a caption for images if you feel the need for it.
2. Use Plugins
The plugins can automate some of your jobs and even create a nice “relationship” with the search engines too.
As the name says, SEO Friendly Images is there to help you by automating the ALT and TITLE attributes. The plugin will automatically add ALT in photos and if you want to it will also add the TITLE too.
We talked earlier about the image size importance for search engines. Smush.it is a plugin which can automatically compress any kind of images without losing quality. You can also use the smush.it plugin in your WordPress media library to minimize the size of multiple images.