any e-commerce businesses, both big and small, compete to get their shops displayed on the first page of Google's search engine results. Every SEO professional follows a set of practices that Google considers as the right way to rank, especially for image optimization. But why can’t just anyone achieve it?
As we know, search engine results can be influenced by a variety of factors such as the ease of use of the e-commerce site, loading speed, the content's relevance, conversions, and a multitude of other criteria. But, if there is one strategy that is commonly taken for granted, then it is product and website image optimization.
Core web vitals are currently the primary concern among many SEO professionals and webmasters. Core web vitals emphasize the value and quality delivered during the web user's experience. These metrics need to be measured and monitored in order to maintain fast loading speeds, interactivity, and visual stability. With Google placing more and more importance on these vitals, it is in the site owner's best interests to optimize and improve the factors that impact them — such as the images.
10 Tips on Image Optimization for E-Commerce
The following image optimization tips are designed to help your e-commerce store improve its rankings on Google search pages. Enjoy!
1. Make Sure Your Images are an Appropriate Size For Your E-Commerce Platform
ECommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Amazon, all have recommended image file sizes and dimensions. If you want your image to look its best, you'll need to make sure it has been sized correctly. Let's examine the requirements for product photo uploads on the major eCommerce platforms:
- Ideal Upload Size: 4472 × 4472 pixels, up to 20 MB of file size.
- Sizes: 2056 x 2056 pixels recommended
- Zoom size minimum: 800 × 800 pixels
- Can be JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP File Formats
WooCommerce, the e-commerce plugin for Wordpress-based sites, turns your WordPress site into a website for eCommerce. As a highly flexible platform, there is no fixed set of guidelines. For the photo size requirements, you'll need to check the WordPress theme's recommendations.
- Lowest possible size to expand: depends on WordPress theme
- Size: 2056 pixels broadly recommended.
- File size is limited to 64 MB.
- Size of file recommended: 100KB
- Image framework: 85% of the frame should be completed by the product
- File format: JPEG, PNG, GIF or TIFF files can be uploaded.
- Uploading size Maximum: BigCommerce declared nothing
- Sizes: 2056 x 2056 pixels recommended
- On the longest side, minimum size to zoom in is 1,000 pixels
- JPG is recommended for file types.
Magento is a platform that can be personalized too. It's a sort of software that installs on your web server, unlike Shopify and BigCommerce. But it doesn't have to run WordPress, unlike WooCommerce. Thus, for product pictures, there is no fixed set of guidelines. For the photo upload requirements, you need to check your theme's recommendations.
- Zoom in least size: it can be modified
- Size: 2056 pixels broadly recommended.
- Size of file recommended: 100 KB
- Image framework: the product should fill 85 percent of the area.
- File format:TIFF, GIF, PNG, or JPEG files can be uploaded.
- Upload maximum size: nothing Wix specified
- Size recommended: the longer side is 1200 pixels
- File formats: Nothing that Wix defines
2. Save Your Images Using the Correct Image Format
The 3 most common file formats for images on the web are .jpg, .png, and .gif. Here's a quick summary of each image format type and when you should use it.
gif: A format that can be animated, which makes it the first choice for product demonstrations or short videos. However, its palette of only 256 colors limits its quality. This format should only be used for very small images or animations.
jpg or .jpeg: This is a format using destructive compression to reduce its file size. This means that the image size is reduced by removing data that is hardly visible to the naked eye. This format is perfect for displaying product photos, illustration images, etc.
png: Because it provides lossless compression, this is the best image format compromise. The photos are somewhat heavier than that of a .jpg but retain their quality, making it an appropriate format. Also, this format is also useful when an image contains text or has a transparent background.
3. Limit Your Image File Sizes
Having full-sized images on your site can make your code slow and bulky, leading to a poorer user experience and slow page speeds.
Luckily, there are tools you can use to remove data hidden in your files without having any impact on the visual quality of the images. However, it is important to assess your compression rate and consider image resizer tools as well. Indeed, too high a compression can degrade the quality of your images.
There are two types of compressions:
Lossy or lossy compression is a format in which some data is lost. You can greatly reduce the image size, but the quality will be reduced.
Lossless or lossless compression can reduce an image's size without losing quality, which is ideal for larger files like hero images.
4. Set up a Standard Naming Convention to Organize and Rename Your Images
Working with images that have been renamed is always clearer and more effective than those with random, generic names. For example: "bushido-desk-mat-black.jpg" is better than "P123456.jpg". Despite the fact that the second name is shorter, search engines rely on file names to understand the context of what is in the photo, since Google's bots cannot view images.
Therefore, it will always be a better idea to rename your images with keywords that are relevant to what it displays. However, be careful not to overdo it. If you jam too many keywords into the title, Google can take notice and penalize you. In SEO, you always have to be measured and reasonable. Do not expect renaming files to have a big impact on your search rankings since this recommendation tends to have a very low impact on search engine results.
Also, image file names must not contain accented characters or special characters (é, à, ç, +, *, # ...), since they can be misinterpreted in certain technical contexts. It is best to stick to the A-Z and 0-9 characters.
5. Add ‘alt tags’ to Your Images
As a reminder, "Alt tags" are still important for helping your images be found by search engines. These tags display text when the image cannot be shown, or when you hover your mouse over the image. This is also a quality criterion for SEO — a page whose image "Alt tags" are empty will be rated lower than a page with relevant custom Alt tags, when everything else is held steady.
This is an opportunity to simply describe the image in natural language. Again, without keyword stuffing.
6. Submit an Image Sitemap on Google
A sitemap is really a document that offers extensive information to search engines about the site's pages, the connections between them, and their substance (images, videos, etc.). The sitemap enables search engines like Google to scan a site more intelligently.
Sitemaps are generally suggested for all websites, however, tiny showcase sites with very few links may be omitted. Large websites, on the other hand, have every reason to establish one in order to increase the crawl of their pages by search engines. Without a sitemap, Google's bots will have a difficult time indexing the site's content and displaying it in search results.
The sitemap is especially beneficial for new sites with very few backlinks, which discourages Google from crawling the full site.
Beware — a sitemap merely assists Google in finding your content, and does not mean Google will find your content valuable. That said, uploading your sitemap to Google's Search Console is bound to have a positive effect on helping your content appear on the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Please keep in mind that Google has not established a separate sitemap file type for photos, but it does accommodate images throughout the conventional Google sitemap format (in XML version).
7. Optimize Your Product Thumbnails
Bright, high-quality thumbnail images should be inserted throughout your store. There is nothing more annoying than a tiny thumbnail that barely helps identify a product.
When your customers are reviewing the products on your site, give them the ability to see it correctly, with file sizes and resolutions that allows them to see the details. And don't forget about mobile users! Viewing the correct size and good quality image gives them a better mobile experience.
8. Conduct A/B Testing on Your Product Images
A/B testing is one of the most successful methods for increasing conversion rates. Performing an A/B analysis is a highly valuable component in many business applications, and creating a system for your site can be simple.
A/B testing is where you set up two identical pages/images/etc, and measure the user's reaction to each one. Chances are, users prefer one over the other. By setting up and texting 2 different images, you can begin determining which image is most compelling to your audience and your conversion rates.
9. Use a White Background for Your Product Images
The key to successful product photos is to use a transparent background. In fact, Amazon mandates that all main product photos have a white background. A white background enhances your product's appearance and produces much better quality photos. It also helps to ensure that the white balance is in focus, which means your product color is to be improved.
It is advisable to use a curved white background which allows a better rendering of the volumes. For small products, place the installation on a table, to have them be more flexible and with more adjustable brightness. You will find tables on the market specially designed for taking pictures. Otherwise, you can use any table that is stable and allows you to install your white background.
For larger products, things are a bit more complex in terms of photo editing. If you plan to take photos regularly, you can buy a white backdrop commercially. It will make your life easier. Otherwise, use a large sheet of white paper and find support for stabilization.
The last option is to remove the background with a photo editing tool, which we will cover more in the next section.
10. Use eCommerce Image Optimization Tools
Making Google happy is the #1 job for most SEO professionals. If Google flags or blacklists your site, you'll be losing out on one of the biggest sources of web traffic. Your image optimization efforts will help Google find your content, index it, and distribute it to users that are looking for it.
Large pictures slow down your websites, resulting in a less-than-ideal customer impression. Image optimization is the act of lowering image size by the use of plugins or scripts, which increases load time. eCommerce image optimization lossless and lossy reduction are both widely used techniques.
E-Commerce Tools for Image Optimization
Removal.AI - is a premium online tool for removing the background from an image. It is quite easy to use; simply upload the picture needed to the website. When it is processing, the service keeps your picture's focus while eliminating anything in the background.
Kraken - This application optimizes and resizes picture uploads made using Kraken.io. There are lossless and clever lossy image optimization options available. JPEG, GIF, and PNG file formats are accepted. The largest file size allowed is 32 Megabytes. Also, Kraken's system automatically does everything it can to guarantee that the output photos are consistently high-quality.
Yoast SEO - Yoast is a free WordPress application that helps you optimize your on-page content for SEO; however, we recommend upgrading to the Premium edition for additional choices. It can be used to assess the substance of your post and determine whether it satisfies the necessary requirements to be ranked naturally in browsers.
ImageOptim - ImageOptim optimizes pictures by determining the optimal compression settings and eliminating extraneous data that isn't relevant. It supports PNG, GIF, and JPEG files. It's extremely simple to use; simply click and drag pictures or files into the interface to have them optimized on the run. You may use the ImageOptim desktop icon, the Finder interface (on Mac), or a terminal script to activate it.
ShortPixel - A freeware image reduction plugin that is simple to use, thorough, reliable, and regularly updated and maintained by its creators. By optimizing any picture or PDF file on your site, you may improve the site's SEO rating, visitor count, and, eventually, revenues. ShortPixel is indeed a small, easy-to-activate image reduction plugin that can condense all of your old pictures and PDF files with a single click.
Start Applying These Tips Today!
When it comes to search engine optimization, small actions can compound over time to produce big results. The simple tips outlined in this article don't require a lot of work, but together, they can greatly improve your presence on search engines. Don't hesitate to try them at home!
This article is a guest post by author Viho Duong