Your competition is just one click away. This is especially true if your website takes a lot of time before it fully loads. Aside from potential customers leaving you, a slow-loading website also keeps you away from ranking on top of search engine results pages. To minimize the waiting time and increase loading speed, many of your website’s elements need to be optimized, including implementing work to optimize images for SEO.
While it may seem like a lengthy process, optimizing images for SEO can pay off for your website by making it more likely to be ranked in search engines. If you take the time to invest effort in optimizing the images on your website, you can give your pages an advantage over the rest of the web. Agencies that offer SEO services can also perform a site audit to determine which images and elements need optimizing.
How To Make Your Images Load Fast
There are many SEO strategies you can implement for your website. Some of these can be applied to your images as well. If you use images on your site, follow these tips to optimize them for search engines.
1. Add Alt Tags For Your Images
An alt tag, also known as “alt attribute” or “alt definition,” is a HyperText Markup Language (HTML) attribute that one can add to image tags to give search engines a text alternative. Images aren’t interpretable by search engines, but by using alt tags, search engines can “read” the image through the text provided. As a result, images in alt tags can help a website rank higher in search engines—assuming the appropriate keywords are used.
2. Compress Your Images
High-definition images are quite large in terms of file size. This contributes to slower load times that would affect user experience and consequently, the search engine ranking of your site. One technique to avoid this is to allow image compression. This process minimizes the size of image files in bytes without sacrificing their quality.
The now smaller file size cuts down on the time it takes to send pictures over the internet or import them from web pages. This is a great way of optimizing your site for SEO because it allows your web pages to load faster. Remember that page speed and SEO are inextricably linked.
You can use well-known photoshop editing software and plugins to compress your images. But before doing this, it’s important to know that the key is to find the balance between the lowest file size and acceptable quality. You don’t want an overly compressed file that would affect the quality of the image as this would also affect the overall appeal of your website.
3. Use Vector Images If Possible
First, it’s vital to grasp the distinctions between image vectors and raster images. For complex scenes with irregular shapes and details, raster images are used. On the other hand, vector images are suitable for images that include geometric shapes. Knowing the differences between the two can help you decide which image type should you use in your website.
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a vector format that’s usually used for logos, icons, text, and simple images. The good thing about them is they’re automatically scalable in all browsers and photo editing applications. They also get indexed by search engines similarly to other image formats like Portable Network Graphics (PNGs) and Joint Photographic Group (JPG). SVG files are usually smaller in size than PNG or JPG files. As a consequence, load times can be decreased.
If you want to know how great of an option vectors are when it comes to having fast loading images, performing an image optimization audit can help you.
4. Name Your Image For Search Engines
Image file names also play an important role in SEO. Therefore, you should choose the correct keywords for them. You can change the filename by default to help search engines understand your images and improve their value.
5. Remove Irrelevant Metadata
An image may contain a variety of data when it was taken. These can include its exposure time, the date it was taken, the author (photographer), camera specs, and other details. This information is known as the metadata, and it’s typically created automatically by the camera or device that was used to capture the shot.
This type of information might be critical for some websites, but it may be entirely useless for others. By removing some of these unnecessary data, your image could load faster on your website.
Images give life and detail to your blog or website. And if optimized properly, they can bring a good amount of free traffic to your site. By optimizing your images for SEO, you can also enjoy the benefits of appearing higher in search engine rankings.