Image Optimization for SEO – Best Practices

Quality content is the key to SEO success. Content doesn’t just mean your text contents. Images must be an integral part of your content strategy. At times, single images can be far more effective than your 1000 word blog post. It also helps you improve blog post quality and performance.

Images, Infographics, Videos and all other multimedia contents on your web page will help you in increasing the user engagement on your site and makes the visitors stay on your site for longer duration which helps in reducing the bounce rate.

Not just adding images to your contents, you should also optimize those images for better SEO performance. Optimization of images must be the one important aspect of your on-page SEO process.

If you are using images in your content, there are many aspects to be considered related to SEO.

Relevancy

Using images doesn’t mean that you should fill up your content with loads of pictures. You should use it only when it is required and also you should use images that are more relevant to your content.

Placement of your images is an another important aspect. It should be placed at a relevant location in your content according to your text content.

Use original images

Originality always helps in improving your user experience and your authority. Usage of original images will be helpful in improving your SEO performance. You can create original images with a graphic designer or you can take your own photographs with a quality camera. It is the reason top White hat SEO companies employ talented graphic designers for creating quality images.

If you are not able to employ an in-house graphic designer or if you are running out of time, you can always use high quality images from the web. But the important factor to be considered is it should be copyright free.

There are many tools available for getting copyright free images without any cost. The most popular ones are Unsplash, Flicker, Freeimages.

Image Size

Images are the main source for damping your site’s speed. And site speed is a crucial factor in your SEO performance. So, you should be extra cautious in using images without compromising your page speed.

It should not also affect your image quality, you should have a correct balance between. You can achieve this by reducing the file size by compression. You can use tools like Photoshop for compression.

File name

Search engine crawlers are visually impaired, it can even interrupt a 5000 word text content, but it cannot interrupt a single image and what the image is about. It is the reason using a keyword rich file names for your images is an important aspect in image optimization.

Google bots and other search engine crawlers can read your image’s file name and if it is named with your target keyword, it gives a signal to search engines about the image topic and thus helps your SEO performance.

For example, if your image is related to selling sports shoes, rather than using the file name as “IMG_89868” you can use it as “Black_Tennis_Shoes”.

Alt text

Similar to the file name, search engines can read Alt text of the images. Alt text is known as “Aleternative Text”, is an HTML attribute used to describe the content of images.

You should use Alt text which is relevant to your images and it should be clear and descriptive. You can use your target keywords in the Alt text but be cautious about Keyword stuffing.

If you are not focusing on Image optimization, you are missing a huge opportunity in improving your SEO performance. You can use above mentioned best practices in your on-page optimization process.

Never Work on Your Original Digital Images

Keep your original images intact.

Many people will want to work on their mages using an image-editing program. This could include cropping, changing the levels, hues and saturation. You might even be doing more advanced image manipulations.

Perhaps you are saving the images either before or after image manipulations.

The golden rule is: never work on the original. Always make a copy and work on that.

Why should you do this?

Because, if the original is changed then you may very well lose some of the data within it. For example, compressing an image will mean a loss of data which will result in some loss of quality of the image.

If you compressed the original then it is lost forever. If a “copy” of the original was compressed, you always have the original file to hand.

You can open the original, work on it and then use “save as” to save it as another file with a different name (if your original was, for example cat.jpg then you could save it as “cat1.jpg”).

If you do this then you will always be able to retain the data in the original image. You never know when you might need this – for example when performing a new manipulation on the image.

Image Upsizing – Best Methods Compared

I will begin by explaining various aspects about image resizing: how it works, what the important problems are, who would be interested in this. I’ll continue by comparing several existing methods. Finally I’ll conclude with the best method to use.

How does enlarging work?

Upsizing an image increases its resolution (size in pixels/points). To do this, information from the original image is used to create the enlarged version. Imagine a grid of pixels in a plane. In the original image they are all side by side. Enlarging the image means enlarging the grid. The more you stretch it, the more separated the pixels become. Those pixels in-between need to be filled-in. This is called interpolation. There can be other steps after interpolation.

Problems that need to be solved by upsizing

One of the problems that appear is that for small images pixels on the edges may be aliased. This becomes more apparent when enlarging. This is the jagged edges problem that many upsizing methods try to overcome. In one extreme you have edges that are sharp but jagged in another smooth but blurry. A compromise between smoothing an edge and keeping it sharp is searched for. Over-smoothing to maintain sharpness is not that hard to obtain but this creates an unrealistic look to images. Another problem is loss of detailed texture in the upsized image. The only method that even considers this is reshading.

When is upsizing an image useful?

Increasing the size by 200% means transforming a 3 megapixel (MP) image into a 12 MP one. If something like this can be created without losing quality then using an average camera and upsizing it would be almost the same as using a professional camera. Also, cropping and enlarging a portion of an image would be equivalent to having a better zoom lens on your camera. Of course, taking the photo with a professional camera and upsizing it would make very large prints easy.

Well known methods for enlarging an image

I’ll present a few widely known approaches. Some are commercially available: Photoshop, Genuine fractals, Photo zoom and others are free: Reshade.

Photoshop

Although everybody considers Photoshop as The tool of choice for any image manipulation, its features cover only some basic needs in this field. It is mainly designed to be a framework for image processing by allowing the inclusion of plug-ins that can easily interoperate. Because of this, even experienced Photoshop users have a hard time when upsizing images. The default algorithms for this purpose are made to be fast but not very powerful.

Best methods for upsizing images

These methods go further in their search for better quality upsizing. They are designed to allow greater enlargement factors without serious degradation in image quality.

Reshade

This is the newest method from the ones I mentioned. It permits enlargements of up to 200% without losing any quality. This means that even an experienced photographer would have a hard time picking an enlarged version from an original photo. Beyond this zoom factor, the images look a little over-processed. Even at higher zoom ratios reshade seams to work better on most images than any of the other techniques. From my point of view it’s the best choice. I wouldn’t need greater zooming anyway because the degradation becomes visible with any possible technique beyond 200% enlargement.

Genuine fractals

This method tries not to overdo the edge sharpening and de-blurring like Photo zoom and maintains the quality of the image pretty good (for zoom factors of about 500%). For smaller zooms the image quality is very similar to what you can get in Photoshop. That means a lot of blurry edges remain after upsizing.

Photo zoom

Although the clarity of the edges is better than for Genuine fractals (at large zoom factors, 400%), there is an obvious smoothing effect that creates the impression that the image has been over-painted. This might be OK if it’s what you’re looking for but for photography, it adds an unrealistic look to the resized images. Although small details when enlarged remain smooth, reshading does a better job at this, also keeping them small.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I do not suggest using enlarging for every photo you take. The original can always look better even if an enlarged version has insignificant quality loss. But, it often happens that you want to crop only a part of a picture and it becomes too small to print or use as desktop wallpaper. Or maybe you don’t have your best camera nearby and use a lower megapixel one. In these situations enlarging becomes the best option available. I recommend reshading your pictures for best quality. It’s also freely available online at: reshade.com.

Resizing Images to Have Better Use

You have taken a mass of digital pictures and all of them are in their original format and size. Depending on your needs, now you need to convert them to be just the right size, you may want to resize to wallpaper for your phone, you may resize for the web use, you may send some pictures through email to your family or friends, you may resize your photos to thumbnails and so on. These are great for printing but cause a heavy burden when sending over the net, sending images with this larger file size can lead to frustration with end-users, who may not be able to download and see the pictures, especially if sent as thumbnails.

Facing this problem, you need to use an image resizer program to resize the images to your needs so that the user is able to quickly download and see the pictures as intended. While there are an endless number of online picture resizer websites available on the Internet, many of which are free, these helpful tips advise you to make use of online image resizer for the perfect and satisfying work of resizing pictures in less time.

Before selecting a program, it’s important to go through the contents of the website and have a trial to see the quality of output photos after resizing. Saving images for web use, email and other media with the best compression ratio and quality is a difficult task if you don’t have the right tools, many of the online image resizer websites do the job fast, a few websites can take a lot of time. With some different websites have tried, you should choose a perfect tool and start resizing your images. You will get a control over the window that lets you set the parameters of image. You can choose to use different units, such as inches or pixels, lock the width and height to maintain the same proportions of the original image.

After you have resized the image, you can save it using a standard image format like JPEG. You can now use this resized and compressed image to send through email message to your friends or upload to a web site or some other available use. What’s more, this image file will be smaller than the original image, making it easier and faster to load when visitors open your website. Resizing images can be so easy.