Most webmasters upload images to their website or blog without taking the time to properly optimize them. Even if the image “looks” fine, tweaking just a few basic elements can prove helpful in encouraging higher search rankings while promoting a better experience for the end user.
So, what’s the correct way to optimize images on a website?
Start with a Relevant File Name
First and foremost, be sure to name your images based on what they represent. If you are uploading an image of a dog playing fetch, for instance, rename the image something along the lines of “dog-playing-fetch.gif.” Search engines will notice keywords like “dog” and “fetch,” at which point they’ll have an easier time ranking both the image and the respective web page on which it is posted. Just ask yourself: which of these names is a better fit: “image25832.gif” or “dog-playing-fetch.gif?” If you chose the latter, you are correct.
Add the Alt Text
While there’s no rule – written or otherwise – stating that you must include alt text with your images, doing so will almost certainly prove beneficial from a usability and SEO perspective. Alt text is displayed as a placeholder in the event that an image fails to load. More so, some web browsers display alt text when the user hovers over an image. You can add alt text to your images by including the “alt=”insert text here” tag to the end of the image source code.
Add a Description
Another essential step in image optimization is to add a description. These are text-based captions that search engines use to determine what an image is about. You have to remember that search engines are unable to identify the content of images (not yet, at least). Therefore, they rely on elements like the alt text and description to determine this information. When uploading images to your website, take a moment to write a relevant description.
Last but not least, run your images through a “lossless” optimization tool. The term “lossless” refers to a method of optimization in which the file size shrinks without sacrificing quality. TinyPNG is an excellent (and free) lossless optimization tool. Upon visiting the aforementioned link, drag and drop your image files to the top of the page and let it work its magic. TinyPNG will strip away unnecessary bits of data, shrinking the file size so your images load faster and more efficiently.