One of the most frequently overlooked SEO (search engine optimization ) opportunities is image processing and optimization. As small business owners, we must do everything we can to stay one step ahead of the competition. The sum of SEO involves the many activities related to attracting search engines AND customers to your website. A lack of these components can determine whether your site gets found or not. I’m going to address how to improve page load time, the ADA (American with Disabilities Act “alt” tag) and keyword optimization, all factors that improve the relevancy of your content to Google.
Step #1: Image Optimizers and Page Load Time
Fortunately, there are many image optimizers available to assist you in processing your images to improve your page loading times. “Page Load Time” is one of the factors Google uses to determine the viability of your site. Yes, your site can get dinged for loading too slow, because who wants to sit around 5 seconds waiting for your page to load.
So, once you’ve found an awesome website to get high-quality images, the next step is to get those images processed and onto your website, online publication or blog.
Images are typically sized by pixels, for instance, let’s take, for example, the standard size for a social media image that works across social platform sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest; that standard social media image size is 800×800 pixels. To customize your image dimensions, you can use Photoshop, Canva, PicMonkey, Pixlr or a host of other online tools.
File size or weight is measured in kb (kilobytes), optimal image size for the web is below 100kb. If you have blog posts or web pages that are loading slowly the culprit is most likely elephant sized images of 1mb or more in size. You can reduce image file size, yet maintain it’s integrity by using tools like Photoshop, TinyPng, Optimizilla. Just for the record, my favorite is Tinypng. Additionally, for you WordPress users there is the very awesome WPSmush, which compresses your images as you upload them.
Step #2: Image “Alt Tags”
The “alt tag” is how we identify images in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It gives those without vision a description of the image. This allotted space (which should be available no matter what platform you use to build your website or blog) is not for keywords, just a one-sentence description. And yes, as part of your image processing protocol, using “alt tags” is indeed an SEO factor and needs to be on all of your images. For instance, describe what you see “a red square”, “a happy woman walking”, etc to help a person without vision to “see” your image. Your site can take a ranking ding for not including them.
This image was renamed, “birds-eye-view-flat-lay-red-pink-dark-hands.jpg” it clearly identifies the context of this image. It’s file size reduced by 61% using Tinypng.
Step #3: Name Your Files with Keywords!
The most important of your image processing steps is naming your images. Do not post images with file names like “img_0495767.jpg”, it tells Google nothing and will ensure that Google spiders will keep crawling to find another more relevant site. Simple example, if you sell tee shirts, name the cobalt blue tee shirt, “cobalt-blue-tee-shirt-large-woman-cotton.jpg”. The more specific you are the more Google will love it.
To see a video on how to optimize your images for the web, visit my Youtube Channel.