3-Step Guide to Image Optimisation
15th February 2021
What is image optimisation?
It is the process of reducing the size of website image files (without sacrificing on the quality) to help keep a website’s page loading speed low (high page speed times are a big ranking factor for Google). Once the file size is reduced, it’s then also about optimising an image file to help increase the changes of it ranking in Google’s image search, typically done through image descriptions and Alt text.
The importance of image optimisation
Images are great visual storytellers; they can introduce a team member, provide context in a blog post and simply make pages look more eye-catching.
Images on a website – as well as being eye-catching/contextual/informative in content – also have the potential to:
Support and aid a website’s rankings – by increasing page speed and loading time
Help increase a website’s visibility on Google (through Google Image Search)
Provide an eye-catching/contextual/informative image in a blog post, we can quickly make a potentially big difference – which clients will love!
Not only is it great for Google, it’s also great from an accessibility point of view…
With the ever increasing use of technology and resources available, it is now an expectation that websites should cater for everyone and be ‘accessible’ to all.
By including Alt text and naming images, it can make a huge difference to someone who requires an auto-reader.
Read more about accessibility and images for websites (and lots more).
Here’s our 3 step guide image optimisation. There are many WordPress plugins which you could also have running in the background of a website, however knowing how to do so manually is always a good skill to have.
Step 1 – Image sizes
The file size of the image itself is really important, this is big element which can cause website page speed problems. The bigger the image file, the longer it takes for Google to crawl. The more images on a website, the more crawling need and longer it takes – as a result, page speed can increase which can overall affect a website’s rankings.
There are many tools out there to size and compress your images, such as: https://tinypng.com/
If you run an image through this, you can see the difference in file size straight away.
Step 2: Naming image files
This is surprisingly important and something which Google also crawls. If a user is searching for something in Google and your image title matches their search, it’s likely that the image, and therefore your website, will be found.
You may see image files like IMG_5839557.jpeg or SA_4390638.PNG. By simply and quickly renaming them to something relevant and descriptive to the image before you upload them to the website, it can help with image ranking.
Also, from an accessibility point of view, auto-readers (like Alexa) will crawl and read image descriptions, so ensuring they’re named properly aids this too.
Step 3: Uploading Images to Website
Upload your newly compressed and named image to the website…
Once uploaded, you need to write the Alt text, title, caption and description.
The Alt text: a plain-text description of the image for search engines
The Title: the image title (this can be similar your file name) this is for internal WordPress media searching
The Caption: a description of the image for readers and can be shown directly under the image when you upload
The Description: the general description of what the image is showing which is pulled through in the image URL
It’s important to have all (or at the very least, the Alt text and Description) fields complete, to provide as much information to users and Google as possible.
Save the image file, upload to your blog post and go!
Don’t forget to re-submit your website for indexing and run through Google Search Console for good measure (particularly if this is on a website page as opposed to a blog post), and you should hopefully see some change in page speed and if nothing else, your website will thank you anyway.