Boost Your Search Engine Rankings with These Image Tips

If you’re on a budget, it’s very likely that you’ve made a habit of trying to get the most products for the least amount of money. But this principle doesn’t only apply to groceries; if you have a web site and want to get a better ranking with the search engines, it applies to the size of your images as well.

More For Less

The name of the game with optimising your site’s images is to try and get what you’re looking for visually with the smallest size possible. To take this s step further, it’s not only how small you can go with your images, but how small you can go without sacrificing quality and aesthetic value.

Understanding the Benefits of Image Compression

Ranking with the search engines for your site`s images is only as important as the level to which it will really help you. For example, if you are an solicitor, your images are likely to be less significant to your bottom line than if were an estate agent. If you are working hard to optimise your site`s images, but won`t really benefit from this, then you could find yourself spending most of your time trying to protect your images from thievery.

However, images on a website can be used to generate revenue. Usually, the images that generate this revenue are ad-based. But each impression equals traffic, which is the key to getting your site seen. Of course, going this route does mean you run the risk of your images being stolen, but you may decide it`s worth the risk for the traffic you`ll receive as a result.

Six Common Image Compression Types

Once you’ve decided to optimise the images on your site by compressing them, the next step is choosing which compression type to use.

1) Lossless Compression – This is the image format that is most popular. This is because lossless is the best for various image types. Lossless compression preserves all of the data contained in the original image file. This compression type is best for simple image files.

2) Lossy Compression – This type of compression does remove some of the data contained in the original image file. The image is saved with a reduced file size. This type of compression can be used with lossless compression to reduce image file sizes even further. Lossy compression works best when used with GIF and PNG files.

3) Common Image File Types – As important as the type of image compression used is the type of image being compressed. Three of the most commonly-used images are the GIF, JPEG and PNG.

4) GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) – This image type is popular because it allows for animation. As well, the GIF allows up to 256 colours to be used, thanks to its support of 8 bits per pixel. This image type is best for simple graphics like line drawings and logos, or if animation is needed.

5) JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) – JPEGs use lossy compression in order to reduce their file size. However, this also means that images can contain visible halos, as well as pixelisation in certain sections. JPEGS are best used with low-contrast photos or screenshot images.

6) PNG (Portable Network Graphics) – This image type uses lossless compression. Originally developed to replace the GIF, PNGs support several types of colour, including RGB in 24 and 32 bit. The PNG is also known for its ability to support several options for transparency. PNGs are best for high-contrast photos, as well as illustrations and line art.

Helping Search Engines Understand Your Site Images

You may think that the more unique the images on your site are, the higher your site will rank on the search engines. And you would be absolutely correct. An image that`s been designed specifically for your business will rank much higher on the search engines than a stock photo that may have been used by thousands of people.

What`s in a name? A lot more than you may think if your goal is to improve your search engine rankings using images. It’s important that the search engines understand as much as possible about the content of the images on your site. One of the most effective ways to do that is to add this information to the image’s file name. For example, if the image is of a mobile phone, include the device’s make and model in the file name.

The “alt” tags of your images are another area that can help search engines to understand and ultimately better rank your graphics. These tags are mainly used for accessibility purposes, defining the image in text should it not load properly or not be visible to the visitor for some other reason. It’s recommended that the “alt” tag be no longer than 125 characters and no more than four to six words. Experts recommend avoiding the use of keywords in “alt” tags.

The relevance of images to the copy on your web pages is also important. Search engines need to be able to put images into the context of the page. Therefore, ensuring that the images you use relate well to the copy is always a good idea.

Even more detail can be inserted into an image’s description by using schema markup. This allows you to insert additional description text, as well as when the photo was taken and by whom and much more.

Image Optimisation Is Not a Quick Fix

Just like any other element of website creation, optimising your images is an ongoing task. Testing different image compression types and seeing which one benefits you most will take time. Testing and tracking is very important, as it will reveal whether your time is best spent concentrating on other aspects of your site.

Carefully weighing the cost of image compression and the benefits to your business can result in a better ROI and a healthier bottom line.