Image Optimization For Your Site

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Although official statistics have not been released (yet), Google states that every day hundreds of millions of people use Google Images to discover and explore content on the web visually. Besides supporting content and improving user experience, images play a very important role a they are the source of traffic for any website, and should not be ignored and left non-customized.

Google (or any other search engine) like marketers, understands image search’s potential as an inspirational and visual discovery tool that can be further monetized and leveraged for traffic. At Digital Ways and E-solutions, when we take on a SEO client, we make sure to do the following to ensure good results:

What needs to be done

  • Properly naming, describing and using keywords in images for SEO

  • Choosing the right image formats, sizes and dimensions

  • Properly hosting and caching images

  • Properly loading images on your pages

  • Auditing images on your site

  • Image search performance reporting

  • Including a concise caption with your image

  • Using Original, High-Quality Images

Why Image Search Matters

We’re living in an increasingly visual world. And in this world, the value of image optimization can’t be overlooked. Images make your web pages more appealing. More likely than not, there is an image on every page of your website. And without the properly done optimization, you’re wasting a valuable SEO asset.

When it comes to images, there is likely more than what meets the eye. Images have been often overlooked and underestimated by amateur or non-professional website developers and designers. Lately, images on the web have been getting more attention from the end-consumer and their importance is growing for a variety of reasons, ranging from purely supporting user experience and content to enabling users to visually find more products directly from image search itself.

Hosting images

Optimization and implementation can vary greatly depending on your business type and goals. Therefore, we at Digital Ways make sure to start with the end in mind. We also communicate and devise the best strategy with our team, so that they can capture as much traffic as possible for your website. The benefits of hosting images on your domain or sub-domain include cache control, branding, and control of redirects.

File name

One of the easiest and often overlooked optimization opportunities to up your rankings is the actual image file name. Image file names should have a few carefully chosen keywords – ideally, keywords the image could rank for – while omitting stop words (a, the, in, of, etc.) and separating keywords by hyphens.

This is an example of a badly named image file: IMG-458752.jpg.
This is an example of a good named image file: russian-volume-lashes-before-after

Image Alt and Title Attributes

Image alt and title attributes (of the HTML tag) are the next simplest settings that not only help images rank higher in search, but also build the page’s relevancy and improve user experience, eventually all ranking factors. Alt attributes are played out loud by accessibility software and screen readers and title attributes appear when visitors hover over images, so do not stuff keywords there and vary it up!

Image File Size and JPEGs

Image file size can dis-proportionally affect the page load time. The bigger the size, the more time it’ll take to load your page and probably bore users away. Also, JPEGs are usually more SEO-friendly than PNGs, especially if one does not need to make use of transparent backgrounds, as JPEGs offer better compression levels. However, what matters most is the actual file size (in KB) of the images themselves. So it is recommended that they should be high-res yet be saved under 100Kb or lesser whenever possible, so that the page loading time is reduced. Are you wondering how that is possible? It is!

Scaling Images

Scale your images to their actual display size ensures that you are not serving larger images than necessary to display in the browser window properly. This is another area of search engine optimization which is often overlooked. Pages often load images that are then scaled down by browsers to fit users screen configurations and that distorts its proportions. Therefore, it is important not to serve images that are wider than the user’s window can display to save on unnecessary bytes.

Saving different versions of the same file

Depending on the visual needs of your website, this might require that one saves different versions of the same image in various dimensions to only dynamically serve the most optimized image based on the user’s screen (mobile, tablet, expanded or resized desktop window, etc.). This is achieved automatically through the use of plugins or by using the and/or elements.


Image sitemap information assists Google and other search engines to discover images that one might not otherwise find easily (such as images your site reaches with JavaScript code), and allows one to indicate images on the site that you want Google to crawl and index. Image sitemaps help a great deal in optimizing a website in indexing if discovery and crawling are problematic. Including images as part of your page structured data also increases the likelihood of a carousel or rich result (images badges).

HTML Title Tags

Host page’s HTML title tags are also displayed in image search results now. So as a technician, you should ensure that those are somewhat relevant to the image as well if possible.