Optimize Website Images For Better Performance

Images play a powerful role in your website. The very first thing our eye is trained to spot are pictures. Images that are vibrant and eye-catching will get the attention of a user right away and if they like what they see, they’ll take the time to peruse your site. However, you have to be careful with images, they can definitely harm the load time of your site. Lucky for you, we have a few tricks you can use to optimize your visual images and improve the performance of your site.

Alt Tags Matter

Don’t skip this important step. Alt tags are a text alternative to your images if a browser cannot display them. Even if your image is properly rendered, the alt tags will still be displayed if you hover the mouse over it. This is a key SEO strategy. By including relevant keywords and a brief description of the image, you are helping your website to rank better in search. 

Don’t Settle for Blah Description Names

Search engine crawlers not only search the text of your website, but also within your file names. This is why it’s important to use relevant keywords when naming your image files as well as being specific. Try and refrain from using generic names. 

Think About Quality

High resolution images are preferred over low-quality images, but sometimes that can slow down the load time of your page. If you have large images used as a background or pictures that don’t require high definition, consider a notch down from high resolution. This will reduce your file size and improve your load speed. Be selective with this - those images that you want your customers to notice right off the bat should be only of the highest quality. 

What File Type is Right for You?

There are basically three image file types that are used on the web - jpg, gif, and png. Jpg is pretty standard across the board and probably the most popular format since they’re easy to compress and retain good quality. Gifs are generally used for lower quality images such as icons or decorative images. Png is starting to become more popular as an alternative to jpg and great for simple product photos and decorative images.

Reduce File Size if Possible

Once you know what file type you will be using, it’s a good idea to make the file size as small as possible without sacrificing quality. People have short attention spans and if they have to wait more than a few seconds for a page to load, they will likely leave your site. If you use Photoshop, you can choose the “save for web” command. This will adjust the image to the lowest size acceptable while retaining the quality of the image. 

Titles and Descriptions Matter

This is a bit of behind the scene type work that search engines will read to help determine what your website is about. When you upload an image to your website, take the time to fill out the title and description fields. Be smart about your descriptions - provide accurate information of the image content and feel free to use your keyword terms that you use in your website content. This is a great extra step that you can do to encourage higher SEO rankings.

It’s understandable that you might moan and groan a bit over the extra work involved in optimizing your photos, but trust us, it will be worth it! Not only will you have a great chance at improving your SEO, but you’ll be providing a better user experience for your customers.