Let’s recall the famous saying – “An Image is worth a Thousand Words”. This saying is also a fact backed by science and it’s already been proven that human brain processes 1 image in the amount of time that it would take to read 1000 words. This also means that whether you read 1000 words or look at 1 image, you get the same amount of impact or reaction inside your brain. The value and use of images or any other kind of visual content in today’s fast-paced digital world has turned out even more important than ever.
If you have a website and a target audience that has been following your content, then you are going to need images more than words to make sure you have more visual content than boring read-only posts for your audience. Your target audience would understand the visual content better and faster, and they will remember it longer as well.
Besides making your existing audience happy, images will also help you attract more potential customers onto your website, make them stay on your pages and engage in certain activities. So, it’s good to include images in your website content that are pleasing to the human eyes and relevant to the topic of discussion.
However, it’s important to know that the more the images, the longer is the page loading time because images take more space and make the entire content heavy. While your intent is clear to achieve more audience engagement by adding attractive and relevant images or graphics, the higher page loading time can backfire and result in losing potential sales. Therefore, it’s essential to optimize all images, graphics and other visual elements to ensure you have beautiful and interactive content and yet the page loading time is within 3 seconds.
In this post, we will discuss the top 5 image optimization techniques and the role of image optimization in the success of any SEO campaign.
Technique #1: Choose the Right Image Type
Basically, we can have 2 types of images or graphics: 1. Vector images and 2. Raster images.
- Vector images: These images show no pixelation when zoomed in because they are created by using points, lines and polygons. These images are suitable for devices that have higher resolution to show big images in high resolution. One single file of vector images or graphics can be handled by multiple platforms without requiring multiple variations of the file. Due to no pixelation effect when zoomed in vector images are used to design logos, icons and various shapes.
- Raster images: These images are made of rectangular grids where each grid is packed with multiple color values, called as pixels, so you get to see pixelation when you zoom in the raster images. If you want to create graphics that look real with imagery details, then raster images will be your go-to option. But then, raster images are heavier because each pixel has a separate value and in order to add more detailing to the output imagery you need to add more pixels of different color values. Heavy raster images will increase the page loading time and make your entire website slow.
In order to make your content stand out, you need to wisely choose image types so that the content looks appealing to the human eyes and at the same time it loads fast. A 50/50 combination is always the best option, but on occasions, you can go for a 40/60 ration where 40% vector images and 60% raster images are used inside the content.
Technique #2: Choose the Best Image Format
There are different image formats out there such as SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), JPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), PNG (Portable Network Graphics) and GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) etc.
For vector images, the best (and only) format is SVG. This allows easy scalability without losing the quality of the imagery or showing any pixelation on the final image.
For raster images, the best formats are PNG, JPG and GIF.
- PNG image files store all details of the image and are high in terms of quality and detailing, but at the same time they make the files heavy.
- JPG files, on the other hand, are lighter in size because they lose certain details of the image and yet these are good quality images to be used on the website. Over 70% of all websites today use JPG images.
- GIF files show animation without making the images excessively heavy to be used on your website.
Therefore, use PNG images only when you ought to store all details of the final images; otherwise JPG files are the ideal choice to be used in your content. And, when you want to show some animation to your users, use GIF image files.
Technique #3: Resize Images with Ideal Aspect Ratios
Image size refers to the dimensions (width and height) of the image. The aspect ratio is the ratio between width and height of the image. The dimensions are measured in inches or pixels.
- An image with dimensions 8 x 8 inches or 1080 x 1080 pixels suggests the aspect ratio is 1:1, which is ideal for social media profile photos and mobile device screens.
- The aspect ratio 3:2 (6 x 4 inches or 1080 x 720 pixels) is typically suitable for Photography and Print, 4:3 (8 x 6 inches or 1024 x 768 pixels) for TVs, Monitors and Digital Cameras, and 16:9 (1920 x 1080 pixels and 1280 x 720 pixels) is ideal for Presentations and Widescreen TVs.
- The most ideal image sizes on a CMS however are 1500 x 2500 pixels and 1080 x 1080 pixels.
Technique #4: Use Proper Image Naming Style
How you name your images can be one of those factors that decide how your images are going to rank on search engines. Most people use random number and/or alphabets to name their images, which is a wrong practice. Instead, you should use proper keywords with hyphens and no space between words, all in small letters to name your images.
For example, if you’re writing a post on “best red roses for special occasions” and you’ve created a beautiful red roses image to be used in the content, the naming has to be something like this: “best-red-roses-for-special-occasions”.
Search engines don’t see pictures; rather, they read texts that you’ve used for those pictures. So, writing proper search engine-friendly texts for your images will help them rank better and faster.
Technique #5: Compress the Image Byte Size
Compressing images is the most essential part of image optimization. Image Compression is the mechanism in which a software tool is used to reduce the original byte size of the images, so they become lighter and save the entire content from turning too heavy.
An image in the 50-60 kb range is the best, but in case of files close to 300 kb, it’s hard to compress them to that range without compromising on the visual quality, so anything around 100 kb can be good in case of heavy images.
Adobe Photoshop is the best software product you can use for image compression offline on your computer. But, if you want to do it online, fast and for free, then you can make use of various image compression websites such as JPEG Optimizer, Optimizilla, Online Image Optimizer, Tiny PNG, Resize Photos etc.
- Replace images with text on them by web fonts because web fonts look better, take less space and boost the loading speed of the page.
- Always set 72 dpi resolution while creating or editing your images.
Image Optimization for SEO Success:
Image optimization is always going to augment your SEO success because
- It boosts the page loading speed, which is a major factor responsible for search engine ranking these days.
- It improves the site retention and reduces the bounce rate of your website, which directly takes your SEO campaign up.
- When search engine bots see proper keywords in the background of your images, they love to rank your posts and pages.
Besides supporting your SEO campaign, image optimization does provide a fast and positive user experience, which can boost your potential sales as well. So, every time you’re going to add images to your written content, make sure those images are fully optimized.