How to Optimize Images for Better Search Engine Rankings

Name Your Images Descriptively and in Plain English
Creating descriptive, keyword-rich file names is absolutely crucial for image optimization. Search engines not only crawl the text on your webpage, but they also search for keywords within your image file names

Let’s use this image as an example:

suzuki stringray 2013 red

You could use the generic name that your camera gave to the image such as DCMIMAGE10.jpg. However, it would be much better to name the file: 2013-Suzuki-Stingray-Red.jpg

Optimize Your Alt Tags Intelligently
The alt attribute also adds SEO value to your website. Adding appropriate alt tags to the images on your website can help your website achieve better rankings in the search engines by associating keywords with images.
<img src = “2013-Suzuki-Stingray-Red.jpg” alt = “2013 Suzuki Stingray red”>
Describe your images in plain English, just like you do for image file names. If you sell products that have model number or serial numbers, use them in your alt tag.

Reduce the File Sizes of Your Images
Consider this:
1. Most consumers wait about 3 seconds for a website to load on a desktop or laptop.
2….and about 5 seconds on their mobile device.
3. Amazon found that if their pages slow down by 1 second, they lose $1.6 billion a year.
4. Google uses page load time as a factor in their ranking algorithm.

So What Do You Do?
Decrease the size of the image files on your webpage and increase page load speed.
One way you can reduce image file size is by using the “Save for Web” command in Adobe Photoshop.

Know Which Image File Type to Use for the Right Situations
There are three common file types that are used to post images. These are JPEG, GIF, and PNG.
For most ecommerce situations – JPEGs will be your best bet. They provide the best quality and the smallest file size.
Never use GIFs for large product images. The file size will be very large and there is no good way to reduce it. Use GIFs for thumbnails and decorative images.
PNGs can be a good alternative to both JPEGs and GIFS. If you are only able to get product photos in PNG format, try using PNG-8 over PNG-24. PNGs excel at simple decorative images because of their extremely small file size.

Use Image Site Maps
If your site uses JavaScript galleries, image pop-ups or other “flashy” ways to improve the overall shopping experience – Google image site maps will help you get your images noticed by Google.
Web crawlers can’t crawl images that are not called out in the webpage source code. So in order to let them know about these images, you must list their location in an image site map.