How to Optimize Images for Ecommerce Marketing
If you’re one of the many companies today that runs an online storefront, image optimization is one of the many art-forms that you will need to master. From reducing your website’s load time to attracting shoppers who are browsing through Google images, proper formatting and optimization can be an essential part of building a successful business online. So how do you do it properly?
- Make Sure Images are Well-Named
It can seem like an effective time-saving method to simply use the default file name given to your pictures by the camera used to take them. However, when it comes to SEO, the lifeblood of most e-commerce companies, it’s important to use good keywords to boost your ranking on search engines. Creating keyword-rich, descriptive file names is great for image optimization. Remember, search engines crawl the text on your webpage, and search for words within your file names in order to rank you, so “DC001129” is unlikely to get you anywhere.
Try looking into your website analytics, and figure out what phrasing patterns your customers use most regularly when performing searches. Determine the best naming patterns, and apply the formula you find to your process for naming images.
- Carefully Optimize Your Alt Tags
For those who don’t already know, “Alt tags” provide a textual alternative to images that cannot be properly rendered by a browser. When the image is rendered, you should be able to see the Alt tag created for it by hovering your mouse over the picture. Just like many other parts of your website, the alt tag adds SEO value when it is done correctly. In fact, using alt tags is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your product pictures show up on Google’s web and image searches.
- Make Your Image File Size Smaller
It is obvious that website speed is incredibly important to the success of any online business today. Most consumers will only wait around three seconds for a website to load before giving up, and Google itself uses the load time of a page to rank a website. Amazon discovered that if they slow the rate of their page loading time by as little as one second, their losses could amount to as much as $1.6 billion a year.
When a potential customer visits your website, the size of your image files can have an impact on your page loading speed. If you decrease the size of the images on your website, thereby increasing your page load speed, the chances are fewer people will click away because of impatience. One useful way of reducing the file size of images is to use the “Save for Web” option in Photoshop. This allows you to adjust the image to its lowest acceptable size while maintaining quality.
- Dealing with Thumbnails
A lot of e-commerce websites utilize thumbnail images, as they offer an effective way for customers to scan your category pages quickly and efficiently. The only problem with thumbnails is that they can be damaging to your page load times.
To optimize your thumbnails, make sure that the file sizes are as small as possible. You may even benefit from letting the quality aspect of your pictures slide slightly in favor of faster loading speed. Remember that you should always vary your Alt tag text too so that you don’t use the same text as you would for the larger image. The last thing you want is your thumbnail being indexed over the larger image.
- Test Images Frequently
The whole point behind optimizing your online images is to increase your profits. Reducing your file size, improving loading speed and getting search engines to recognize you are all important steps for these. However, you should also be testing out the images you use to see which ones generate the best results.
Consider the number of products on each page. Because loading time can be a problem for some commerce sites, you may find that the fewer product pictures you put on a page, the more sales you will get. However, it’s also possible that more images per page could be beneficial – the only way to discover what works for you is to test.