Written by: Richard Fong
Published on March 29, 2021
Published on March 29, 2021
According to a study published in Eye Brain, humans are highly visual creatures. Over the years, our dependence on visual cues has increased due to the advantage of visually guided behavior. Along these lines, using image optimization to supplement blog posts can lead to a better user experience and increased attention spans.
No matter which platform you use, it’s not enough to just upload any image on your website and hope for the best. Large file sizes, incorrect labeling, and poor quality can impact loading speeds, search engine optimization (SEO), and overall user experience. To help you out, here’s an introduction to the basics of image optimization and why it should matter.
Image optimization involves creating and presenting top-quality images in the most efficient size, format, and resolution that can engage users. In addition, it also involves creating labels that can provide further context to an image. This enables search engines to more accurately label and categorize web pages and show more appropriate results to viewers.
Understanding the basics of optimization can improve SEO and encourage viewers to remain engaged with your content. Without properly optimized images, your page can run into a host of problems explored below.
While it may take some extra time to optimize images if you’re not familiar with the process, there are numerous benefits offered by image optimization. Firstly, images with smaller file sizes will require less bandwidth, and therefore require less storage space on your server. This improves page load speeds, which is fantastic for impatient readers.
The time that your website takes to load depends on a number of factors. This includes things like your website host, site layout, and design elements that you use. Typically, users tend to prefer a site that loads in less than 2 seconds. If your website is image-heavy like most visually attractive ones, this is where image optimization comes in.
If your images are optimized, your page load speed can potentially improve, giving users more incentive to engage with the products and services that you offer. Some tools that you can use to check your loading speed include Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Web Page Test.
On the other hand, if your website tends to load slowly, you risk losing impatient site visitors who may switch over to your competitors.
To complement a faster loading speed, a positive user experience involves providing readers with relevant content that is in line with what they’re looking for. A blog post should include images that have proper alt and title text, which is helpful for both search engines and readers.
While alt text might not be visible on the page for most readers, it comes in handy to visitors who have visual impairments and are using special screen readers. Properly formatting labels can link images with text more effectively while making your post more visible to search engines at the same time.
In addition to other SEO techniques like keyword research, optimized images can improve your online presence and search engine ranking. Proper labeling can strengthen the topic of a specific blog post and enable readers and search engines to find your post much faster.
By making use of clear formatting, clear resolutions, and fast loading speeds, well-optimized images are more likely to show up in image carousels and lead viewers to your page. Furthermore, by appearing in the first few pages of search engine results, your blog post is more likely to be clicked on by a potential customer, leading to increased conversions.
All of these image optimization efforts can lead to social media shares and backlinks from other websites. Eventually, this will lead to increased web traffic and better brand authority overall, which is what your website should ultimately aim to achieve for your business.
Now that you’re aware of why image optimization matters for your blog post, the next step is to apply these tips and tricks below to all the images on your website. Even though the process may appear intimidating at first, using the proper tools and learning the ins and outs of your platform can lead to your desired results.
Firstly, the right file format for every image is dependent on how you want to present it. In general, it is best to choose JPEG formats for photos that are larger in size or illustrated. This will provide decent colors and clarity relative to its file size. On the other hand, PNG is used for images that have a transparent background.
Often, many people tend to save images under nonsensical or irrelevant filenames. However, it’s important to rename images before uploading them online. This way, it will rank better in image search results and improve your on-page SEO.
To do so, using descriptive keywords is essential. You need to include target keywords at the start of each image filename and separate them with hyphens, not underscores. This enables search engines to identify these terms and properly categorize each image.
For instance, renaming an image of a woman eating pancakes from “image123.jpg” to “woman-eating-pancakes.jpg” is a lot more helpful to readers and search engines.
As we’ve previously mentioned, fast loading speeds can lead to a more positive user experience and better SEO rankings. One of the main factors that impact loading speeds is images. Even if you upload a huge image and display it smaller, the page will have to load the entire image at its original resolution.
However, optimizing the image in relation to how you want it to be displayed is the key to improving loading speeds. While some platforms like WordPress help you do this by providing you different sizes to work with, compressing an image using plugins can preserve quality while reducing its file size.
In addition to using the right file name, using image captions that go directly below an image can improve the overall user experience and lead to a lower bounce rate. A lower bounce rate means that visitors are more likely to linger on your site and visit other pages instead of exiting straight away.
Unlike file names and alt text, captions are directly visible to the user on your website. It’s also handy for those who are visually impaired, enabling them to get a better feel of your blog post.
Alt text, also known as an alt tag functions as a safety net in the event that an image on your blog post fails to load. It functions like descriptive text that ensures no information or functionality is lost, especially if readers turned off images on their web browser or using a screen reader that lacks image capabilities.
Adding alt text to every image including the main keywords will help search engines identify the image. Accurately describing what is happening in the image will also help users more clearly understand the content of your blog post.
Perhaps one of the most important things to keep in mind as a website owner is that some images might be copyrighted. Copyright lawsuits can be incredibly costly, especially if you use stock photos from providers like Getty Images and Shutterstock without purchasing a license for use.
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the owner of the image can potentially issue a notice and provide a DMCA Takedown which you must comply with. Using free platforms like Unsplash, or better yet, creating your own original images for your posts can lead to worry-free results.
With the increasing use of mobile devices, ensuring that your images are compatible with both desktop and mobile platforms will help provide users with a hassle-free experience.
For the best of both worlds, you can create responsive images that automatically scale with the size of your website whether a user is using a desktop or mobile device. Here are some methods you can use to create responsive images via CSS.
At the end of the day, optimizing your images is worth the effort when it comes to improving your website’s ease of use and search engine rankings. Promoting image accessibility for your readers makes your posts more engaging and easy to understand.
If you need some additional guidance, a digital marketing agency can walk you through the steps of choosing the right images for your article. Better yet, you can have a dedicated team that can create custom images for your site. Work with Bliss Drive today and find out how we can boost your conversion rate optimization and grow your online audience!