Image Optimization For Small Business Growth in 2021

Fueled by SEO newsletter, small business SEO

Your website is slow and your images aren’t showing in Google’s search results. Let’s fix it!

Image optimization could be some low hanging fruit as far as page speed increases and your SEO efforts are concerned.

Here’s how:

  • Image Alt Text
  • Naming Convention
  • Image Size(Quality)

Image Optimization with Image Alternative Text

Desk items with macbook pro and mobile phone,and cup of coffee

As per Google’s stated best practices, alt text should be kept to three to four words tops.

In the example above, say I want to use a keyword like “mobile technology”.

<img src="url" alt="mobile technology small business New York City"> = BAD. This doesn’t read naturally and might be seen as “keyword stuffing” by Google.

Keywords are present, but it doesn’t really make any sense to the user.

Proper Alt Text

<img src=”UR” alt=mobile technology and laptop”> = Good.

This not only describes the image naturally to the visitor, but it won’t sound like random words thrown together and the visitors will be read a coherent sentence by the screen reader.

Plus, you’ll be ranked for keywords over time and not penalized for keyword stuffing.

Win-win.

Having great images that can be a great value-add to your content and SEO can do wonders for your site’s dwell time(keeping them on your site longer).

As long as it isn’t detrimental to your site speed, of course.

Getting most of your images down to properly sized JPEGs is a good start to getting your page weight under control.

How about THAT for a new year’s resolution?

Image Optimization with Naming convention

Google’s same best practices state that image naming convention should stay to 2 to four words as well.

Brooklyn Bridge and Freedom Tower in Black and White

And, photographs typically get recorded to the memory card like this: 000001.jpg, and this:000002.jpg.

Uploading the photo above with the name “000003.jpg”, it’s probably going to have a hard time showing up in Google image search.

But “Brooklyn bridge black and white” has relevant keywords and search terms.

This is especially useful for local SEO, for an NYC- based photographer, for example.

Make renaming your photos part of your workflow so the photos on your site get found in search.

Improving Site Speed with Image Optimization and Image Size

Your images will also benefit from file compression so they don’t weigh your site down and contribute to slow page load times.

If you chuck all of your huge images on your site willy-nilly, it’s going to get real heavy, real quick.

Large abstract photo becoming smaller for image optimization

A study by Google in 2018 showed that more than 53% of visitors left a site that took more than 3 seconds to load, and the same study showed that half of all web traffic was coming from mobile devices.

Increasing Page Speed

Having a fast site is part of SEO for small businesses that can keep your bounce rates low and should most definitely be made part of your small business SEO strategy.

Improving your page load times is key, and reducing image size is some low hanging fruit that can help.

Best practices for “page weight” is around 500kb per page for mobile performance (as per Google).

You can check your site’s desktop and mobile performance at Google’s PageSpeed Insights before and after posting your images, and continue to do so as you’re doing your image optimization.

Do you have access to Photoshop?

Great! You can use Photoshop or Lightroom to save your images to JPEG, and adjust the image quality as you see fit.

Photo specific software Like Photoshop often has a “save for web” option that will choose the best options for you(72 PPI, pixels per inch, jpeg, etc.).

JPEG format will compress your image and is considerd a “lossy” compression.

Some data is lost, as is with all compression, but you can choose your quality and file size as shown above.

Most images online are compressed using the “baseline” algorithm. … As a result, blank space may appear on the page until the image is fully downloaded.

Progressive images, however, display in their full dimensions at a lower quality resolution, giving the image a blurry or pixelated look. (Don’t worry too much about these, I leave Progressive checked)

If you’re using WordPress you can implement a plugin like: Smush

Image optimization tool for compression, smush-it

The pro version offers a “bulk smush” where you can compress all of the images on your site with the press of a button. But the free version should do just fine 👍

The user interface above will show you all of the space you saved. Great job!

This is a very popular plug-in with over 1M active installs and over 5 thousand 5 Star reviews. Give it a shot!

Reducing your page weight should make your load times faster, especially on mobile, which will make Google very happy.

Conclusion

Image optimization can be a great first step toward your online SEO, as you can both increase your site speed by reducing page weight and optimize for keywords by using keywords in your title tags.

How do you go about image optimization in your workflow?

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