Image Optimisation Tricks and Best Practice

ALT Tags and Image Compression

On page SEO is all about optimising the performance of your website to provide a solid foundation for search engine visibility.

Critical to a brand or business looking to attract greater numbers of targeted visitors to their domain, the website needs to stand out like a beacon in search results. To begin to achieve this, they need to be prepared to optimise every title, heading, description, page content and image across the website. Sounds like heavy work, yeah? Of course it is, but that’s the point. Addressing fundamental errors and issues on the website, and tackling optimisation to help Google view it with merit, is where you can out-perform your competitors. Done right, on-page optimisation will help you catapult up the rankings long before you start to embark on other long-term SEO strategies.

Why bother with on-page SEO?

Every page on your website is a potential gateway or entry point for a visitor. Naturally your home page will be one of the largest entry pages, but most of your relevant visitors, or visitors who are most likely to convert into a paying customer, are more likely to arrive via another of your pages. That’s because these pages are going to contain content which is more specific to their search intent on Google.

If these pages are going to deliver more of the type of visitors your business wants, they need to be set up in a way that Google identifies them as optimised and relevant content. This means that every page MUST be optimised for specific keywords to give it the chance of becoming visible on Google.

Google’s algorithms will consider the speed of web pages, how the content is structured on them and how relevant they are to a searcher’s query, and within milli-seconds rank websites in their search results. If you’re closer to the top in search results, the more chance you have of directing traffic to your website pages.

On-page SEO is vital for you, because it is one of the key factors to determine the success and performance of your website on Google.

Benefits of Image Optimisation

Optimising web pages for specific groups of keywords is the basis of good on-page optimisation. If you’ve already started the process yourself, you’ll be familiar with getting the keyword density just right, and crafting keyword rich meta titles, meta descriptions, and H1, H2 and H3 headings for every page. These are all essential elements within the optimisation process, but there is something else to consider too – the image.

Images on websites are usually elements which bring personality and interest to a website visitor’s experience. An image can tell a thousand words, it can emphasise the purpose of the page, and it can help to improve conversion rates. But the image is also important to Google.

Google can’t read an image like a human website visitor. It knows there is an image on the page, but it needs help understanding what that image is. To do this, website owners need to tell Google what the image is by using the ‘ALT tag’. The ALT tag, or alternative tag, is the way of describing the image to Google without needing to use a caption which is usually visible to human visitors. Best practice is to use an ALT tag description for EVERY image on your website, and the description text must make use of the priority keywords for the page that it’s displayed on.

When you upload your image into your website media library, think about the page its going to be added to, and type in a description in the ALT field which best describes the image and include within this 1 or 2 keywords. Ideally every image should have a unique ALT tag, so spend time crafting them and making sure they properly support the purpose of the page.

Once images have been added to the website, they will slow down the load time of a page. One small image in a page is going to add a milli-second to the amount of time a page loads, but 10-20 small images on a page, or 1 or 2 large images can have a significant impact on load times. Why does this matter? Part of on-page optimisation is about ensuring that the page loads quickly for a website visitor. Google is determined to give mobile visitors an excellent experience when they access online content, and because page load times impact mobile visitors more than any other, Google therefore considers page load times in its algorithms.

Before adding an image to the website, you can optimise it within photo manipulation applications like Photoshop. This involves saving the image in an optimised format like PNG and JPG, and where different settings can be selected to reduce the size of the image file as much as possible, whilst balancing the loss of image quality. The smaller the image file, the faster it will load on a web page.

But image optimisation can be taken even further. For websites where images are one of the primary elements of a webpage, or where significant quantities of images are used on each page, there are optimisation services that can be used to further reduce image file size.

Shortpixel is a leading image compression service which can be linked to your website. The idea of services like ShortPixel is to apply image reduction on ALL images on a website, and based on the settings, minimise the loss of image quality ages. It is even possible to reduce the average file size by 20-30% without any loss of quality.

By compressing image file sizes on your website, you’re helping visitors to experience optimised page load times, and giving Google yet another reason why it should be ranking your website pages higher up search results.

Talk with one of our SEO experts about image optimisation or on-page SEO and learn how they can help you outperform your competitors on search results.

By John Anderson, SEO Results

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