E-commerce product photos are a powerful way to attract consumers to your website. If you wonder how to optimize your website images, you are in the right place.
This article will explain:
Image sitemaps, and
What is image optimization?
Photos and graphic content is important to your website. Not only do quality images add to the visual appeal, keeping consumers on your page longer, they provide SEO opportunities.
When your images are properly optimized, they will appear in image searches when relevant. This can increase page traffic and that can result in more online sales.
Optimizing product photos for your website involves:
correctly sizing your images,
compressing the images for faster delivery without compromising quality.
Naming your images for SEO benefits
Providing alt tags for your images
Having descriptions for your product photos
Captioning product photos when appropriate.
Creating an image site map.
Making it easy to share your images on social media.
We are discussing each of these in this article.
How to name images for SEO:
Search bots and screen readers can’t “see” photos. (Although Google is getting closer!) In order for your images and product to show up in searches, you need to help the bots and readers understand what your photo is.
If you upload a photo with the filename: DSC_6_1039.jpg, there is no way for these methods to catalog your product. If that photo is a 6 carat diamond ring and you name it: 6-carat-diamond-ring.jpg, then you’ve upped your chances of it showing up in search results.
Maybe you have four photos of this ring on your product page. In that case, adding “-1”, “-2” after the word ring would be appropriate.
You want descriptive titles that explain what the photo is, written in lowercase letters, with hyphens in between the words.
Another word of warning – keep the filenames short but descriptive for the best results. A rule of thumb is five words or less.
Adding SEO alt tags, captions and descriptions:
Alt tags, also known as alt text, is the text version of your product photo. If a web browser is set not to load photos, or for some reason your photo doesn’t load due to a glitch, the alt text tells the consumer what the photo is.
Again, you want to keep this short and descriptive, but it is also important to keep it relative to the image. Don’t stuff keywords into the alt tag unless they are relevant to the photo.
Good alt text also helps with SEO. If your e-commerce product page is selling a 6 carat diamond ring and contains a filename: 6-carat-diamond-ring.jpg, with an alt tag: “6 carat diamond ring with 100% solid silver setting” – guess what Google will think your page is about?
If a caption works for your page, the caption should also include details about the photo, using keywords that surround the photo. Perhaps the caption in this exercise would be: The (Brand – i.e. Cartier) 6 carat diamond ring with solid 100% silver setting.
Finally, the image description. This also tells search engines about the photo. While some don’t feel all of these fields are important, I believe if the search engines look at it, so should you.
If the ring is for a wedding, perhaps the description would be: Cartier 6 carat diamond silver setting wedding ring resting on rose petals. Describe what is in the picture with a bit more detail than the alt tag.
These optimizations will take time, but if you do this with every product photo, you will help to raise your SEO ranking in searches.
How to optimize product photos for size:
Image dimensions and file size are two different things. Obviously image dimensions are how many pixels wide and tall an image is. File size is the amount of space it takes on the server.
The larger the image and file size, the longer it takes to load that webpage. Long load times can have people leaving your site before they ever see your product.
Some people believe the bigger the better – since more pixels means better quality, right? Not online. A large file size will often get compressed by algorithms, which can cause your high quality image to look horrible!
If you are working with WordPress, the software will help you by delivering the correct size image with your page. That doesn’t mean you don’t want the correct size to begin with. That can slow things down. Plus, enlarging and reducing photos can result in blurred or pixelated images.
There are several types of files you may use online. The most common are .jpg, .png and .gif. Of all the files, .jpg usually offers the highest quality at the lowest file size. It will just depend on your use as to which file type you select.
If you edit your own product photos, consult your software guide to learn the proper export settings for web images. The goals are to:
1. export the image at the correct size for your usage. And
2. make the image file size as small as possible, yet retain quality.
You will also want to save the file as a high quality image in case you need to print or rescale it later.
Once you export the file, I also recommend the app JPEGmini. It will further reduce your file size without diminishing the quality. Again, if you are a wordpress user, the plug-in Smush can also help reduce file size.
If you have a lot of images, look into a CDN or content delivery network. You can learn more about CDN’s here.
Remember, every byte counts when it comes to page speed. And page speed increases your SEO rankings.
Creating an image sitemap:
Google suggests you submit an image sitemap to help them crawl your images and add them to their search results. The good news for this is that if you are using WordPress, you may use the plug-in Yoast or Rank Math SEO to do this for you.
Once you have the file address of the image sitemap, you should enter it in your Google Analytics. You are using Google Analytics, right?
I hope you enjoyed these SEO hacks for e-commerce product photos. If you have anything to add, feel free to reach out and let me know! My hope is to make this article as relevant and helpful as possible.
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