Images play a vital role in website design and development by providing visual content that is both captivating and informative. The importance of images on the web has been further resounded with the advent of visual search and top search engines such as Google have introduced a new function that integrates images and text in one query.
Images are the largest contributor to overall page size and represent the second most popular way to search on the internet after focus keywords. Whether Image Optimization is done effectively or not has direct implications on the performance of a website. Image Optimization involves the meticulous reduction in the file size of images before they are uploaded to a website. To achieve optimization, this has to be done in such a way that it does not affect the overall quality of the image. One of the sole aims of doing this is to enhance a page’s visibility and ensure that images look picture-perfect on desktop and mobile devices while maintaining optimal performance, reducing the overall webpage weight and enhancing fluidity.
One of the major signals that top search engine algorithms use to rank pages is site speed and delays of as little as a tenth of a second are noticeable. Huge, poorly optimized images drastically reduce site speed making a website unattractive to users. This is harmful to brand growth because not only will such a user never return to said page, but they also will never recommend the website to their peers, which means no or lower traffic.
The most widely used image file formats are .JPEG (or .JPG), .GIF, and .PNG extensions and they all produce high quality output and vary in application.
There are tons of image optimization tools! to name a few: tinypng, GIFSicle, JPEGtran, AVADA SEO & Image Optimizer, JPEG Optimizer, WP Smush. and Kraken are readily available to optimize web images, the ability to edit images is a valuable skill that every web developer should try to master as well, and tools like Adobe Photoshop, PicMonkey, and Canva are the most widely used for this purpose.
During compression, it is important to maintain the image quality in order to achieve lossless compression (Non-degrading image compression). It is important to note that different techniques are applicable to the different image formats. Image dimensions (Height and Width) also come into play here. For optimal performance, it is advised to upload images with a width no wider than 1200px or less than 250KB in size. Resizing enhances page speed, reduces delay, gives users a flawless experience, and optimizes images for mobile and desktop devices
Highly descriptive names that contain focus keywords are vital for image SEO. A bad practice is uploading the image files with the generic file names assigned to them by the camera used to capture the images. This ignores the content of the image and is unrelated to the naming patterns that users type in when they search for products.
Alt text attributes are displayed on a webpage when the page is unable to render the image they are attributed to. They give an alternative description of the image containing detailed information specific to such product or subject matter for situations when it cannot be viewed either due to impaired visibility or poor internet. The Alt text aids users who use screen readers to interpret and search engines use it in identifying and ranking webs content, this improves search performance which drives more traffic to the website.
To conclude, in the big sketch of SEO, image optimization plays a crucial role in its certain components, tools, and tips. Even if you aren’t concerned about getting more traffic from the image search result, optimizing website images is one way you as a website owner can help keep website load times as short as possible. The better optimized your images are, the faster your website. Oh yeah, and Google will like you better too.