Image optimization is, as the word suggests, a series of strategies to optimize your images so that your website is easy to understand for both users and bots. Images are a central part of many websites - especially for online shops. However, search engines like Google can struggle to read and understand images, which can result in lower rankings in search results.
Similarly, poor images, which can be misleading or low-quality, for example, can create a poor user experience that can increase your bounce rate. This means that poor images can cause more users to bounce away from your website and worsen your ranking in search results - and ultimately the amount of gold at the bottom of your digital treasure trove.
When search engines like Google rank your website, you are assessed on how both users and bots read your website. Therefore, image optimization is as much about technical aspects that make it easier for search engines to read your images - such as image format and size - as it is about more SEO-related considerations, such as the quality of your images, how relevant and good the images are and more, which can change the usability of your website.
If you cut image optimization down to the bone, you end up with a step-by-step list that looks like this:
When optimizing your images, it's a good idea to start by considering which image format is best suited to your specific situation. In general, the JPEG format is suitable for photos with many colors because JPEG images can contain up to 16 million colors.
In addition, JPEG images are relatively small in size, making them ideal for heavier websites where they can help increase site speed and therefore usability. Another popular format is PNG, which is slightly larger and therefore works well for graphics and charts.
It's also important to consider image size. An image should be large enough to be clear, but not so large that it affects loading time. There are various tools that can help you compress your images - for example, JPEG Optimizer, which compresses your images without compromising quality. Other tools include GIMP, TinyPNG and Photoshop.
You can also make use of ALT tags, which are short descriptions of your image that help search engines understand what your image shows. Proper use of ALT tags can improve your website's SEO because search engines reward images that they understand.
Using all the tools to help you with image optimization brings three key benefits:
Image optimization and SEO go hand in hand because image optimization can help you rank better in search results. Whether you work with a SEO agency or manage your own digital marketing, optimizing the quality and effectiveness of your images will help your website flourish.
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
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