When the World Wide Web came into existence, the only content that people referred to was text. Even today, many people perceive content as text. However, with the development of new technologies and the different changes in the search engines, the term content has evolved to include rich media like video, PDF files, and images.
In today’s competitive world, you need to make use of each and every advantage that you may get over your competitors. Nowadays one gets to see blended search results where one can see the text as well as images, videos and other features together.
As a result, you cannot ignore images if you own a business. Also, users are getting more and more impatient because of the combination of the web and mobile devices. Visitors get very irritated when a website works slowly. That is why it is important to optimize images for the web. This can help you deal with both the issues of combining rich media with text and improving the speed of your site.
What Does Image Optimization Mean?
Depending on the context, the phrase image optimization can have two meanings. In terms of compressions, optimization refers to using the smallest or most compressed version of the image in a format most suitable without losing its visual acceptability.
From the SEO point of view, it refers to helping search engines associate the keywords of the site with the images being used. If the images are optimized, they will show up in image search results when the users search for relevant keywords.
How to Optimize Images?
Choosing the Appropriate Format. There are different kinds of image formats that are available. Some of these formats are suitable for the web like GIF, JPEG, PNG, etc. However, each of these formats will handle the elements of an image differently. The first step in the process of image optimization is to choose the appropriate format for your image.
Saving for the Web. If you create images in Photoshop, you have the option of saving for the web instead of just saving the images on your system. If you save for the web, you can choose the format in which you want the image saved and the level of optimization. You can also preview the image before saving it to ensure that its quality is not lost.
Not Scaling the Images. Many developers, when saving images in large sizes, scale the images while coding the pages instead of resizing it to the dimensions of the page. As a result, the larger image needs to load on your server before it is scaled and displayed on the screen. This will slow down the image and the site. Hence, the image should always be saved according to its final display size and should not be scaled.
Naming the File Intuitively. When you name the file of the image, it is important to realize that the search engines cannot actually read the images. The file name will be one of the ways in which they understand what the image is about. If you name the image using random letters and numbers, the search engine will not understand what it is about. That is why it is important to use intuitive file names when saving the images so that people, as well as the search engines, understand what they are seeing.
ALT Text. ALT refers to an attribute in HTML that allows you to give an alternate text to your images if they fail to load. This was originally meant for people with visual impairment. However, nowadays, it is used as one of the ways to tell search engines what the image is about. You can describe the image in the ALT text and use relevant keywords as meaningfully as possible.
Caption for the Photo. Search engines can also associate images with the text that is there around it. You can use photo captions to add relevant text to the images around it.
Placement of the Images. Search engines can associate the images with the text that is given around it. Hence it will be helpful if you place the image near a paragraph that is the most relevant to what is there in the image.
Though these are some of the important aspects of image optimization, there are various finer points as well that we need to keep in mind while optimizing the images like keyword research, anchor text optimization, file size optimization, etc.