Shopify business owners are always on the hunt for SEO strategies that can help them boost their rankings and get more business. Today, we’ll tell you more about one option you might not have considered for achieving this goal: optimizing your images on Shopify! This detailed guide will tell you everything from why you need to optimize your images to your options for compressing your images and answering your top questions about SEO for images on Shopify.
What is Image Optimization for Shopify SEO?
We’ll start by answering a question you may have wondered: what is image optimization for Shopify SEO? It is the process of shrinking the file size of images without compromising quality. This is important for three primary reasons for your Shopify store.
Why do you need to optimize your images?
Website speed, browsing experience, and search performance and the big three areas where images come into play.
Improved website speed
Your website’s speed is important for both ranking in search engines and providing a good user experience to people who visit your site. If your pages take too long to load, people are likely to leave before seeing what you offer. Images can significantly contribute to slow loading times, so it’s crucial to ensure they are as optimized as possible.
Better browsing experience
The browsing experience on your website is also crucial. No one wants to wait around for images to load, especially if they are on a mobile device with a slower data connection. Optimizing images can help ensure people have a smooth experience browsing your site and don’t get frustrated and leave before making a purchase.
Improved search performance
Finally, images can also impact your search engine optimization (SEO). Google and other search engines crawl the images on your site to learn more about your content. So if your images are properly optimized, they can help improve your rankings and get you more traffic.
Correct Image File Sizes For SEO & Site Speed?
Now let’s talk about file sizes. When it comes to images, smaller is almost always better. The goal is to find the right balance between image quality and file size. You don’t want your images to be so small that they look blurry or low-quality, but you also don’t want them to be so large that they take forever to load.
Here’s what Shopify themselves tells us about image size:
“On Shopify, you can upload images of up to 4472 x 4472 px with a file size of up to 20 MB. But the website builder typically recommends using 2048 x 2048 px for square product photos. These are high-resolution images that give your store a professional and well-rounded look with great zoom capabilities. Keep in mind that for zoom functionality to work your images have to be more than 800 x 800 px.”
If you’re realizing now that your images on Shopify are way too big, it’s time to talk about how to correct them. There are a few different ways to do this.
Step 1: Use The Right Image Format and Image Dimensions
JPEG is the best image format for images on Shopify because it uses lossy compression, meaning that some data is lost when the image is compressed. This doesn’t make a big difference to the human eye but results in smaller file sizes. PNG is another common image format, but it should only be used for images with transparent backgrounds or with lots of detail, like text. PNG images are usually larger than JPEGs because they use lossless compression, meaning no data is lost when they are compressed. When it comes to dimensions, as we mentioned earlier, 2048 x 2048 px is a good size to aim for.
Step 2: Compressing your Images
We also need to dive into how to compress your images to the right size rather than just what the right size is!
Options for Compressing Images on Shopify
When it comes to doing this, there are several options.
Option 1: Manually Compress Your Images with External Tools
Your first option is to manually compress your images using an external tool that lets you save images in a variety of formats and at different levels of compression. This gives you complete control over your images’ file size and quality, but it can be time-consuming if you have a lot of images to compress.
Some tools we like are:
- Photoshop Save For Web Feature
- AVADA SEO: Image Optimizer
- TinyIMG SEO & Image Optimizer
Option 2: Bulk compress for Shopify With These Apps
Your next option is to bulk-compress images on Shopify with an app. These apps can automatically compress all images you upload to your store and can even help you optimize the images already on your site. This is an excellent option if you don’t want to spend a lot of time manually compressing images or if you have a lot of images to compress.
Some apps we like for this are:
- Crush Pics
- Screaming Frog (This also helps you identify missing alt texts, which we’ll talk more about next)
Step 3: Image SEO in Shopify
Now you know your images’ size and how to compress them. Next, it’s time to get into image SEO in Shopify.
In a moment, we’ll share our favorite process for optimizing images on Shopify for SEO. First, here are three can’t-miss steps:
Fill out the alt text
Back to alt text! The next time you upload an image to Shopify, look at the fields below the images. One of these is the “alt text” field.
This is where you’ll want to add a brief, keyword-rich description of what is happening in your image. We recommend being as specific as possible while still keeping it under 125 characters. Why does alt text matter? Not only will this help your images rank better, but it’s also good for accessibility. Screen readers use the alt text to describe images to people who are blind or have low vision.
Give the image file a name relative to the product or placement in your store
Another way to improve the ranking of your images is to give the image file names relevant to the product or placement on your store.
For example, if you were selling a green sweater, you might name your image file “green-sweater.jpg” instead of just “sweater.jpg”. This helps Google understand what the image is and its relevance to your store, which can help you rank higher in image search results.
Shopify Analyzer Tool from Speed Boostr
We also recommend using the Shopify Analyzer tool from Speed Boostr to help optimize your images. This tool will help you find images that are too large, images that don’t have alt text, and images that could be compressed more. It’s a great way to get an overview of your image SEO and ensure you’re doing everything possible to optimize your images.
To use the Shopify Analyzer, just enter your store’s URL and click “Analyze”. You’ll then see a report of all the images on your site and whether or not they meet Google’s guidelines for image size, compression, and alt text.
Our Favorite Process In Optimizing Images For Shopify SEO
As eCommerce SEO experts, we’re no strangers to all-things Shopify, including image optimization. Here is our favorite process for doing so.
Photoshop Save For Web to compress images to 100 kb
First, we open up our images in Photoshop and then go to File > Save For Web. In the window that pops up, we make sure our images are set to 100 kb or less.
Google recommends this file size for images, so it’s a good starting point. From there, we can experiment with different levels of compression to find the sweet spot between quality and file size.
Google Sheets To Organize Based on the Store’s sitemap
Next, we organize all of the images into a Google Sheet. We do this by going to a store’s sitemap and copying and pasting all the image URLs into a Google Sheet. This helps us keep track of all the images on the site and make sure we’re optimizing them all for SEO.
Update file names and alt text based on the location of the image on the Shopify Store
We then update the filenames and alt text of our images based on the location of the image on our Shopify store. So, if we have an image of a green sweater on our “Green Sweaters” collection page, we’ll name the file “green-sweater.jpg” and include alt text that describes the image as such.
Upload new images
The next step is to upload the new, compressed images to Shopify stores. We do this by going to our “Settings”> “Files” and then dragging and dropping the images into the “Upload Files” area.
Add alt text to each image, related back to the new filename
Of course, we take our own advice! We add alt text to each image related to the new filename. So, for our “green-sweater.jpg” image example, we might add alt text that says “image of a green sweater”.
Submit new pages & updated sitemap to Google Search Console
Last but not least, we submit our new pages and updated sitemap to Google Search Console. This helps Google re-index our images and ensures they appear in image search results.
To do this, we simply go to our “Google Search Console”> “Sitemaps”> “Add/Test Sitemap” and then enter the URL of our updated sitemap. We then click “Submit,” and Google will take it from there!
Phew, that was a lot! But hopefully, by now, you have a good understanding of images for Shopify SEO and how to optimize them for ranking purposes.
Images on Shopify: FAQs
As promised, we’ll now get to those FAQs about images on Shopify.
What does image optimization mean?
Image optimization is the process of reducing the file size of an image while maintaining its quality. This can be done using software like Photoshop or online tools like TinyPNG.
Image optimization aims to reduce the amount of time it takes for an image to load on a web page. This matters because images are often the most extensive files on a web page and can slow down a page’s loading time if they’re not properly optimized.
What are the benefits of optimizing images?
The benefits of optimizing images are pretty impressive. For starters, images that load faster make for a better user experience. And we all know how important user experience is to Google.
In addition, images that load faster can also help improve your website’s SEO. This is because Google uses the loading time of a web page as a ranking factor. So, if your images are slowing down your web pages, it could negatively affect your SEO.
Lastly, optimizing images can also help reduce your website’s bandwidth usage. This is helpful if you’re on a shared hosting plan or have limited bandwidth available to you each month. By reducing the file size of your images, you can help reduce your overall bandwidth usage and save yourself some money in the process.
What are image optimization techniques?
There are a few different techniques that can be used to optimize images. The most common method, as we covered earlier in this post, is to reduce the file size of an image without reducing its quality.
Another common technique is to use a content delivery network (CDN) to serve images. A CDN is a network of servers that deliver content to users based on their geographic location. Using a CDN can help improve the loading time of images because the images are being served from a server closer to the user’s location.
However, this method should be used cautiously as it can eliminate the backlinks you’ve built up to your images and direct them to the other server instead. In fact, that’s just one SEO issue this can cause, so be sure to get expert help if you go this route.
Lastly, you can also use lazy load images. Lazy loading images is a technique where images are only loaded when visible on the screen. This can help improve the loading time of web pages because images that aren’t visible don’t need to be loaded. However, it can also result in a slow loading time and poor user experience.
So, those are some of the most common image optimization techniques. However, many other techniques can be used to optimize images. If you’re unsure which technology is right for you, we recommend getting expert help.
Conclusion: How to Optimize Images on Shopify for SEO
We hope this post has taught you everything you need to know about images for Shopify SEO. By now, you have a good understanding of what images are and how they can affect your website’s SEO. You should also know how to find and optimize images for ranking purposes.
But implementing these changes can be easier said than done. If you’re looking for expert help to take this task off your plate, contact Blue Water Marketing for support. We’re a team of experienced Shopify SEO experts, and we can help you with all of your image optimization needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.