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Optimising Images for SEO: Design Agency Tips

Optimising Images for SEO: Design Agency Tips  

Without even realising it, you may be losing potential traffic that could have been converted to sales if your website had only optimised images. 

Great content indeed means more traffic! But when a visitor cannot view that content, you cannot convert them to your buyers. And this is when even a few milliseconds also matter! As a visitor clicks your page, your site must open quickly. Usually, your user must see your content– probably a text or an image but sometimes, all that appears is a blank page! If it's all black and blank, your user will give up, leave your site, and jump to the next company's website.

If your website is slow, the bounce rate will be higher, and vice versa. Your target should be to reduce the number of unengaged sessions on your website. Understanding and matching your viewers' expectations is essential, as it will reduce bounce rates as much as possible. Many things go into website speed, and one of them is optimising images. 

Bounce rate = number of unengaged sessions/total number of sessions 

The higher the engagement rate, the lower your bounce rate. 

Keeping our website's speed up can be challenging when you have images on your web pages. As shown in the figure, Google's findings show that when it takes more than ten seconds, the bounce rate increases by 123%. 

In this article, you will learn more about the reasons for including images in your website, the need for speed, and optimising images for better site performance with increased interactivity. 

Why Include Images in Your Website? 

What Is The Best Seo Agency Belfast

Only 13 milliseconds is sufficient for a human brain to process an image on your website when your user sees it for the first time. Images are compelling when you compare absorbing information by seeing a picture with reading a paragraph about your product. Images are not only engaging, they also attract the attention of your users. 

When you insert images into your website, people are emotionally connected to your content. With every relevant image, you increase your pageviews by 94%. So, images help your users digest your content and enhance their experience on your website, leading to decreased bounce rates and increased involvement. Data from Photutorial shows that there were about 136 billion indexed images on the Google search engine in the year 2024, and is expected to grow to 382 trillion by 2030. Inserting pictures in your web pages allows your users to visualise your product or service and help them understand more. 

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Below is a list of reasons for including images in your website: 

  • People remember pictures better than words: According to the picture superiority effect, your users are more likely to process and look into images than the content displayed. One study found that humans could remember 6600 images out of 10,000 displayed to them. People could even describe each image in detail and be specific about it. 
  • Your users prefer to look at images rather than read content: Your website either has content or images in your website. Today's generation prefers visiting websites with pictures rather than large volumes of text. So, dominating your pages with large images and less text will increase your website views and convert clicks to your clients.
  • Images help your users connect emotionally: When you insert infographics that convey messages related to your product or service, people are emotionally connected to your product. As a result, they will buy it by adding it to their cart or calling to inquire about your product or service. 
  • Images improve your user experience: Images convey your message as quickly as possible, compared to multiple paragraphs of content. In a few seconds, your viewers will visualise the specifications of your product or message, keeping your audience interested in your website with increased interactivity. 

Basics of Optimising Images

How To Compress Images For Web

Image optimisation is about making changes in the images present on your website by reducing file size, format, and image dimensions without compromising on their quality. It may sound complicated, but meeting your users' demands is essential. Regardless of whether your consumer is a device, the images you use on your website must be optimised. When your website loads, your user might jump into another one without the intention of buying your service or product. Apart from hindering your website speed, an unoptimised image on your website takes up your server space. 

All in all, optimising images is all about making your website as fast as you can to give a great overall experience to your customers. If your website is slow, your website viewers are bound to bounce to your competitors within a few seconds.

The ultimate target is adding premium quality images with low file sizes on desktops and mobile phones. There are three major elements you should optimise which are:  

  • Your size of the image file
  • Your image's compression levels
  • The height and width of the image on your website

Some techniques for optimising images are using correct alt text, resizing image files, and choosing the correct image dimensions and formats. Ultimately, your website speed increases and users will have a better experience browsing your websites. 

Why Care About Speed? 

According to Statistica, consumers rely heavily on search engines, with Google leading the scoreboard with 5.9 million searches every minute. While using any website, your visitors are not just looking for information but also comparing your website with your competitors. So, to ace the competition, your website must have a fast-loading website.

Google states that when your site's speed improves by a second, the conversion rate increases by 27%. However, if you have a sluggish website, the likelihood of buying products or services from your website decreases significantly. A survey confirms the finding, stating that 79% of users were less interested in purchasing a product or service when they faced multiple issues while surfing through the website of a low-performing webpage. 

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To measure the speed of your website's speed, you can use multiple metrics, including: 

  • Time to first byte (TTFB): This measures the time to start loading your page. When you first click your website, it should only take a few seconds to load. 
  • First Contentful Paint (FCB): FCB explains the time it takes to see the first element of your webpage. 
  • Onload time: Onload time denotes the time it takes to fully load your website content once your viewer clicks on a page. 

Your website speed is one of Google's ranking criteria. When users experience slow performance, they lose interest and abandon reading your web pages. 

If your page is not performing well and is slow, you can start by finding out the current status of your website from multiple locations and both your laptop and mobile phones. In this case, it's better to use speed test tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights rather than manually surfing through your website. Using tools, you can get detailed scores to design and align SEP strategies accordingly.  

Additionally, if your website is heavily loaded with images, you need to understand the differences in impact created by optimised and unoptimised images. Heavy-weight images take up huge space, making loading your pages with increased bounce rates difficult. 

Why is Image Optimisation Important?

Optimising Images To Webp Format

You put all your SEO strategies in place to rank on top of Google. When it's about website optimisation, integrating all the elements of your website and implementing SEO strategies is essential to increase your visibility. Optimising images on your website is a crucial and underrated strategy for gaining clients. Sometimes, images are easily forgotten, but they hold great significance in your webpage. With great content, you need relevant and optimised images to stay on top of Google ranking.  

Improved website speed

Your website becomes irritably slow when you have bulky image files. The time taken to load your website is greatly affected by your website layout, page weight, and image quality. If your website loads within two seconds once clicked, your users are delighted. If it takes more than three seconds to load your website, 40% of your visitors will leave due to frustration. Therefore, optimising images means fast-loading and highly responsive websites are your priority and ultimately impart a positive user experience. 

Great user experience

When your website performs well, you are not just thinking about your business outputs but also your potential user experience. When your website is slow, your visitor experiences much stress, comparable to pressure-induced, while solving a complex mathematical problem or standing in a long queue at a retail store anxiously waiting for their turn. Image optimisation helps your website overcome this challenge and enhances your site speed, which leads to an improved user experience. 

Accessible website

If your users do not get what they are looking for, 61% of users will revert to other websites that they find are more useful and easy to use. So, you must focus on your website design and layout optimisation so that users find relevant information within a few seconds after clicking on your web page. 

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Increased conversion rate

After you redesign your website and reorient all your images according to SEO best practices, you speed up your website and increase the probability of converting page clicks into clients. 

Decreased bounce rates

If your website takes too long to load, visitors will not wait. However, with optimising images, your page speed improves, and thus, your visitors are more likely to stay on your web page rather than jump to your competitor's page. In this way, the bounce rate decreases significantly. 

Now that you know the costs of slow websites, let's discuss ways to enhance your site's speed by changing your images. 

How to get started with image optimisation?

Compress Images In Wordpress

Why is image optimisation the talk of the town? The sole reason is to increase your page speed. As per Web Almanac, images on your website significantly impact your website's page load and can considerably affect your site's performance. Therefore, Image optimisation is necessary, and we have some practical tips below for you to get started. Let's dive in. 

Compression level of your image

One of the primary reasons for your slow website is large-sized image files. So, it's vital to minimise data in your images, and one of the best ways to do so is by reducing the size of your image files. Compressing your images will reduce sizes significantly and, in turn, increase your website's speed notably. Once you compress your images, you get an image with a balanced combination of perfect size and quality.

But how can you compress your images? You can use various tools, such as Photoshop, ImageOptim, and PicResize, to resize your images. 

Your image file formats include PNG, JPEG, GIF, and SVG. 

Each has its benefits and drawbacks so you can pick any suitable file format for your website. If you have screenshots or blog post images, using JPEG format will work well. Even though they are low-quality images, your site speed will be great. JPEGs are popular and work well on any device. You will lose some data, but they work fine in all your blog posts. But you can always use PNG images.  

Similar to JPEG, PNGs are popular image formats that are larger and have higher picture quality. You can use a PNG image file if you need a higher-quality image for your website. Meanwhile, if you want to include animations, use GIF formats, but they can be bulky and have limited colour combinations. 

SVG file format is an excellent option to resize your images without degrading your image quality. However, supporting such a file format may be challenging and will not open when you use older browser versions. Therefore, understand the pros and cons of all types of image file formats and include them in your website to enhance your website speed. While choosing your file format, make sure that you use only a single type of file format and do not include multiple file types on a single page of your website. 

Insert “Alt Text” to your image. 

Fix Image Alt Text Edit Image Alt Text Box

Adding Alt Text to your image will help your readers articulate the relevance of your content. You can easily insert alt text in your image using Google Docs or even insert the feature with the help of WordPress.

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While writing alt text, you can implement these best practices to ensure better optimisation: 

  • Be specific while describing your image.
  • Limit your Alt Text to less than 125 characters and avoid longer texts. 
  • Do not overuse the keywords in your alt text. 
  • Ensure you do not add alt text to all of our images. 
  • Always check the spelling of your texts so that it does not create confusion among readers. 

For instance, 

Some bad ways of writing alt text are: 

  1. <img src = “ pup.jpg”/>. Here, the alt text is missing. 
  2. <img src= “pup.jpg” alt= “puppy pups dog doggies litter golden retriever labrador wolfhound premium dog food”/>. Here, all the keywords are stuffed together.

A better way of inserting alt text is:

<img src= “pup.jpg” alt=” pup”/>

The best way to write an alt text in your image is:

<img src=” pup.jpg” alt = “ Husky puppy playing with a kid” 

Make sure that your images are mobile-friendly

According to data from April 2024, it shows that 60.28% of overall traffic on the internet accounts for your mobile phones. According to Statistica, the number of people using mobile phones was 6.95 billion in 2020, projected to be 7.49 billion in 2025. So, focusing on delivering a great mobile experience is a must to get hold of your potential traffic. If your web pages are user-friendly, the chances of converting your traffic to buyers increase by 67%.  

Your website and its content appear differently on tablets, phones, or Android mobile phones, so check your images and their content on each device to ensure content uniformity. You can also run tests on Google to get insight into your website speed and check whether pictures on your website are placed correctly. 

Tools to Detect Image-Related Issues

Optimising Images With Google Lighthouse

Each tiny detail matters when it comes to enhancing your website's speed. Suppose users experience an increase in your website's loading time or error messages popping up frequently when jumping between pages. In that case, it imparts a negative message, and your user will turn to another site to seek information. Moreover, your website's ranking will decrease significantly. 

We have a list of tools that will help you identify the possible bottlenecks in your website. Moreover, the reports generated from these tools will boost SEO with positive organic traffic growth in your website through image optimisation. 

Google Pagespeed

With this user-friendly tool, you can analyse the time it takes to load your website on mobile devices and desktops. To do so, insert your website's link on PageSpeed Insights. 

After running the analysis, Google will give you scores between 0 and 100 on four factors: performance, accessibility, best practices, and SEO. Google will also share suggestions to improve your site speed, including image optimisation, that you can integrate to enhance your site's performance

Google Lighthouse

This free, open-source tool optimises images to measure your website's performance. Based on the site audit report, you can improve all your web pages' suggested image adjustments and other aspects.  

Pingdom

Pingdom is a free tool for checking your website's speed. Like other tools, it allows you to analyse your website's performance and identify bottlenecks, if any, from any location. 

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GTmetrix

Like Pingdom, you get a detailed report on how well the image on your website is optimised and ways to improve so that your users have a better experience with speedy website loading time. 

Just enter your website's link and allow the portal to test your site's performance. After that, you will get a report that includes a structure score, your performance, a core web vitals score, a visualisation of your web page's speed, and recommendations for improvement. 

Final thoughts about image optimisation

When you are optimising images for better SEO, it has a positive impact on your business outcomes. Often, image optimisation is overlooked, but it is an essential aspect of enhancing your website performance. While optimising, keep your images as small as possible and in the correct format with no sacrifice on their quality such that your loading time is enhanced and you get more traffic than ever. It is clear from the detailed explanation in this article that you must keep an eye on your website's speed and performance to keep your leads coming.

FAQs

For what reason is optimising images important for SEO?

Website loading speed is an essential ranking factor for search engines; thus, optimising images for SEO helps improve it. Besides, optimised pictures with relevant file names and alt text provide better context for search crawlers, which could enhance your site's visibility in image search results.

Which are the recommended image file formats for web optimisation?

The optimised web images should be saved in JPEG format if they contain photographs or graphics with transparent backgrounds/line art, where PNG works best. These formats have the highest quality-to-size ratio.

How can I reduce image file size without sacrificing quality?

You may use compress tools that do not compromise picture quality or plugins explicitly designed for this purpose. Also, resize images according to their intended display size online because larger ones unnecessarily increase your page weight.

What is the ideal image resolution for web display?

72 PPI (pixels per inch) is considered the standard resolution that monitors and other screens require when displaying images found online. Higher resolutions meant for printing can make them larger without any noticeable difference.

How should I name image files for SEO?

Give files descriptive names containing keywords relevant to what they depict while separating these words using hyphens if needed so that search engine bots can easily understand them. For example optimised-web-design-images.jpg

What is the importance of alt text for images?

Alt text (or alternative text) serves two purposes: describing what an image shows and providing context, especially to visually impaired individuals who rely on screen readers browsing websites. Adding relevant keywords can also boost its visibility during searches based on pictures.

Should I use image sitemaps for SEO?

Yes, but only if you want search engines like Google to index all the images found on your website, thereby increasing their chances of appearing among top results whenever someone conducts specific searches, such as looking at various pictures related to a given topic.

How can I optimise images for responsive web design?

Employ techniques such as srcset or picture elements, which allow serving different sizes and resolutions depending on the device visitors use so that each one sees an appropriate version for their screen, thus ensuring faster loading times across various devices.

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Should I use lazy loading for better performance?

Yes, it is worth considering because lazy loading ensures that only images visible within the user's viewport are downloaded, reducing page weight significantly, especially when dealing with sites with many graphics.

What are some best practices for using images in web design?

Other than optimising images, good practices entail selecting relevant, high-quality graphics which complement the content being presented, giving proper attribution where necessary, and observing licensing terms while at the same time avoiding overuse of pictures since this could slow down website load.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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