Updated Jun 29,2024
Photo Editing

How to Optimize Product Photos for SEO: A Comprehensive Guide

Did you ever think that you could get your product pages higher in ranking search results? Something more than great content? Today, even with the competitiveness of the environment, one has to use SEO to facilitate the visibility of the web page. And very often, one very essential part of SEO is just ignored—image optimization.

Product images are crucial in e-commerce; they draw the interest of potential buyers to your products and thereby ensure sales. It isn't enough to just post high-quality pictures. Make sure that your product photos are all optimized for search engines. They do so and go on to make the website load faster, ensure improved user experience, and, ultimately, possibly boost your site ranking on search engine pages.

This is an in-depth guide that will take you through the needful steps you should take in optimizing your product images for SEO, starting from the proper naming of your image files and writing compelling alt text to the selection of the correct file format and implementation of structured data.

Here's how to make your product photos work harder with increased SEO results. Follow these best practices to enhance the SEO performance of the website and drive more customers.

Best 9 Tips to Optimize Product Photos for SEO

how to optimize product photos for SEO

Therefore, are you ready to reveal some more SEO opportunities for your product images? They are already eye-catching, but these effective website buttons can attract attention from search engines if you make a few changes. Get in-depth in the best 9 tips to optimize product photos for SEO here, which will assist you in turning those attractive photos into traffic-getting machines!

#1 Image File Naming

Have you ever lost a potential customer due to your product pictures being invisible to search engines? The competitive world in e-commerce requires you to capture product photos of the highest quality to attract at first glance and then make a sale. However, not many are aware that making these images searchable, or what is referred to as Search Engine Optimization [SEO], boost the products’ sales even further. 

Consider this: Whenever someone intends to purchase an item, this person types in the name of the item they want to buy, and they see pictures of the product and a brief description. Using the right file format and including important keywords associated with your product in the image optimization process will further help you turn these searchers your way.

Descriptive and Keyword-Rich File Names

Say you're on an e-commerce website. Which product image would you instead click on—one named "IMG_0123.jpg" or "red-cotton-t-shirt.jpg"? The answer is clear. Descriptive filenames augmented with relevant keywords help in mainly three ways:

  • Relevance: Descriptive file names accurately match user queries to your products.
  • Keywords: Relevant keywords boost image SEO.
  • Clarity: Descriptive filenames help with accessibility.

Best Practices for Naming Image Files

Here are some tips for naming your image files:

  • Descriptive: Use words that vividly explain the product.
  • Include keywords: Primary and secondary keywords should be included naturally.
  • Use hyphens and not underscores: Search engines regard hyphens as spaces.
  • Avoid generic names: Names like "IMG_1234.jpg" have no SEO value.

Be short but informative. The details are good but don't overdo them.

Examples of Good and Bad File Names

Here are some examples:

Good File Names Bad File Names
"red-leather-handbag-2024.jpg" – Descriptive and keyword-rich. "IMG_4567.jpg" – generic and.
"organic-cotton-tshirt-men-blue.jpg" – Clearly describes the product. "product1.jpg" — this is vague and does not.
"wireless-bluetooth-speaker-black.jpg" – Contains primary keywords. "red_handbag.jpg" - Uses underscores, not SEO.

If you follow these tips, your product images will look attractive and be SEO-optimized. This way, you will have an edge in the competitive e-commerce market. Optimize your pictures well and see better rankings and higher sales.

#2 Image Alt Text

Your product images are looking great! But here's one more thing you can do to make them sparkle within search results. It's something called image alt text, and it's like a mini translator for both search engines and human visitors who can't see the image. Descriptive and informative alt text makes the website more accessible and lets search engines know better about your product. This can lead to increases in your SEO ranking for relevant keywords.

Description of Alt Text and How it Works with SEO

Alt text, or "alternative text," is a short written description that is added to an image using HTML code. Alternative text has three applications:

  • Perceivable to visually impaired users, who can make sense of the meaning of the image content through the use of a screen reader.
  • This makes images more understandable to search engines and may give your website a higher ranking.
  • You get better visibility for your site if you use excellent alt text. 

By having this image appropriately described, it allows search engines, like Google, to index your content correctly. What it means is that product image placements will more likely come up with related queries, thus bringing more organic traffic to your site.

Some Examples of Good Alt Text

Writing compelling alt text is a question of balance between clarity, conciseness, and use of keywords. Here are some top tips that I have found helpful :

  • Descriptive and Specific: Clearly describe what is in the picture, including important details.
  • Example: "A pair of running shoes for women in red color with writing on the side indicating that it belongs to a certain company, has a white outsole on a wooden board."
  • Use Relevant Keywords: This means the frequent application of these words, but not too frequently in a way that the material sounds like a parrot.

More Examples of Good Alt Text

If you need some good alt-text example, just look at them: 

  • Example 1: Oven tong; free from bamboo food preparation cutting board.
  • Keep it short: 125 characters or less.
  • Example 2: "Organic cotton baby blanket in pastel colors."
  • Do Not Keyword Stuff: Overloading keywords in the alt text is not recommended.
  • Example 3: "Cheap running shoes affordable sneakers buy running shoes" <=> "Affordable men's running shoes in black"
  • Induce Human Emotions: Include the product name and core features.
  • Example 4: "Water bottle stainless steel built-in filter." I ensure that the alt text in the images is user-optimized and optimized for search engines following these guidelines.

Common Mistakes in Writing Alt Text to Avoid

Avoiding common mistakes is as important as following best practices. Here are some pitfalls I've learned to avoid: 

  1. By Using Generic Descriptions: Phrases like "image123.jpg" or "photo of product" are neither helpful to users nor search engines. 
  2. Stuffing: To a point, it loses readability; even search engines penalize this. 
  3. Leaving Alt Text Blank: This is a missed opportunity for SEO and accessibility. 
  4. Repeating the Same Alt Text for Multiple Images: Different images should have different kinds of details relevant to that particular image. 
  5. Including Non-Descriptive Words: Words such as "image of" or "picture of" are non-descriptive and redundant. 

Avoiding such mistakes would have ensured that my product images were fully optimized and contributed to better SEO performance on the website.

#3 Image File Format and Compression

Image file formats and procedures for file compression have been an essential part of my SEO optimization work. So, let's understand how we need to find ways of optimizing product photos for SEO through a selection of reasonable image file formats and efficient compression methods.

Compare Image File Formats: JPG, PNG and WebP

Image file format can highly affect performance and SEO ranking. This article will enlighten you more about JPG, PNG, and WebP formats to make you more informed and wise in your decisions.

  • JPEG: Best for photographs and large images due to its compression capabilities, even while maintaining a very decent image quality. 
  • PNG: Best for images with transparency or fine detail, but file sizes are more significant.
  • WebP: It's coming to be very versatile, with better compression but without disturbing much of the image quality, especially when using it on the web.

How to Choose the Right File Format for Different Types of Images

Choosing the correct file format will not be just a one-off choice. Knowing the images' type and methods of using them will assist you in making an appropriate selection. Here's a brief guide:

  • The best potential bet to use for product photos with rich colors and details is JPG.
  • For product photos with transparent backgrounds or sharp lines, PNG is the way to go.
  • For the best of both worlds (smaller file size and better quality), you can consider WebP. 

It's also good to offer both WebP and a fallback format like JPG, as compatibility with WebP in browsers is still rising.

Techniques to Compress Images without Loss of Quality

Even with the right format, there is always room for improvement. Here are some ways and techniques to further compress your images by Adobe Photoshop without sacrificing quality:

  • ("Use File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy) to optimize images for the web.
  • Pick JPEG, PNG, or GIF and fine-tune the quality parameters to balance file size and image quality.
  • Adjust settings to optimize quality and transparency without unnecessarily increasing file size.

Remember:  Experiment with your settings for compression to get the best balance between quality and size.

#4 Image Dimensions and Quality

Now that you've selected the correct file format and compressed your product photos to a tee, let's shift gears and focus on the dimensions and quality of our images. These are two baby steps in the right direction for a fantastic user experience—and yes, search engines simply lap it up!

Importance of Using High-Quality Images

Search engines like Google favor websites with good-quality, relevant images; they create an engaging experience and try to reduce bounce rates. That means the following reasons make high-quality images necessary for the search engine optimization process:

  • Better User Experience: Sharp and clear images draw users' attention, which is a way of inviting them to stay longer on your site—in effect, reducing the bounce rate.
  • Increased click-through rates: High-quality images appeal to the users in search results, thereby increasing organic traffic toward your website.
  • Better Search Engine Rankings: Search engines factor user engagement metrics, including time spent on page and bounce rate, when ranking websites, and the quality of images can improve these metrics. 

This way, you will have your website ranked highly in SEO.

Ideal Image Sizes for Various Devices

Now, with the variety of devices available—from desktops to smartphones—it is important that images should be optimized in size dimensions for a smooth user experience on all these devices. Here are some general optimal image dimensions for devices:

  • Desktop: Target between 1024px and 2048px in width; this gives plenty of room to show detail on products without quality loss.
  • Tablet: Shoot for a width of around 768px to keep your images nice and sharp on tablets. 
  • Mobile: Mobile is the boss! Optimize your images to be at least 320px in width.

Here's how to resize an image without losing its quality

Resizing an image can be really tricky. You want to keep the clarity but make the file size manageable. Here's how: 

  • Use reputable image editing software: Adobe Photoshop or GIMP software gives good tools for resizing images while retaining quality. 
  • Resample Carefully: With any resizing, choose a resample option such as bicubic.

This will give the highest quality of resizing.

#5 Structured Data Markup

Let us assume you are in a fine dining restaurant, and the waiter comes and presents you with a well-cooked, appealing dish. Yeah, you know it’s delicious, but come on, there is always that one thing, that one piece of information that you want to know, isn’t there?  Structured data is your little menu card sitting next to all your product photos, handing search engines a crystal clear, excellent description of what they're looking at. This can substantially improve the chances of getting ranked in rich snippets, which by default are better than regular listings.

Explanation of the structured data and how it is helpful

I immediately noticed the power of structured data when I started optimizing the website. In other words, the main idea of structured data is to provide search engines with explicit information on what is contained within your website. This includes products, reviews, prices, and, most importantly, images. By using structured data, you will have a better idea of the content for the search engine, and that should improve your SEO. 

Pros of Structured Data:

Greater search visibility: Allows search engines to make your content more viewable to users.
Rich snippets: All these make you more likely to appear in rich snippets and, therefore, be more engaging for the user.
Improved user experience: Relevant information is provided in a meaningful and easily accessible format.

One recent example would be after I had structured data for my site's product pages implemented, the visibility and associated click rates went through the roof.

How to Implement Structured Data for Images

At first, it sounds like a bit of a fiddle to get structured data into images, but in fact, it is straightforward. Implementing Schema.org markups is the most widespread and effective way to do that. This language will let you define things like description and specifics regarding your image, including size and description. That's how I like to do it:

  • Choose appropriate schema type: Typically, product images would fall under the schema type for 'Product.'
  • Add properties as such: Image, Name, Description, URL of the webpage. Add the markup into your HTML. Make sure you adequately embedded the structured data into your product pages.
  • Structuring my product images with attributes like "high-quality product images," "SEO-friendly product photos," "optimized image markup," etc, becomes more robust with the addition of instances that increase the attraction for search engines. 

Examples of Rich Text Data Structure Product Images

Some of the sample ways in which you can structure your data markup for your product images include the following: leveraging the Schema.org markup that I have found to be very strong and effective in my own SEO actions: 

Example:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "https://schema.org/",
  "@type": "Product",
  "name": "Leather Sofa",
  "image": "https://example.com/photos/leather-sofa.jpg",
  "description": "A luxurious leather sofa available in various colors."
}
</script>

This example will explain how several product images, along with other related information, will be organized under content, which shall be very informative for search engine consumption. Do not forget to change the URLs and details to match your products.

#6 Lazy Loading for Faster Page Speed

Imagine scrolling through your phone, looking at pictures of your friends' vacation. Lazy loading will simply render the photos that are on your screen. This means that when you scroll down, the subsequent images will load up; you won't have to wait for everything to come up at once. Consequently, it offers faster loading of the pictures on your phone.

It's actually where the real magic of lazy loading on websites takes place. It first displays the most critical parts of the page, such as the details of the product, and then, right afterward, big things like pictures load as soon as needed by scrolling down. This way, the whole process of site loading is sped up!

What Lazy Loading Is and How It Relates to SEO

Lazy loading is an intelligent technique in which all images and other media content get loaded just as they enter the viewport, not all at once during the initial page load. This brings down the time of initial load and bandwidth usage, making the page faster and with a better user experience. Lazy loading enhances SEO by:

  • Rendering pages quickly is one of the first ranking factors for search engines.
  • It reduces bounce rate since most visitors will stick around on a faster loading site.
  • Improves mobile usability—a factor critical for mobile-first indexing by Google.

I saw an immediate impact: my e-commerce website started to have a lower bounce rate and higher user interactions. This user behavior determined the SEO performance.

How do we make use of lazy loading on an e-commerce website?

Lazy loading can be easily implemented into an e-commerce website using the right tools and a strategy set. Here's how:

  • Choose a framework: Choose a framework or a library of your website platform—be it WordPress, Magento, Shopify, and many more—that supports this kind of lazy loading.
  • Use Lazy Loading Attributes: HTML5 has new attributes on images and iframes. It includes the loading="lazy" attribute, which is very simple and effective for lazy loading.
  • JavaScript Libraries: The support for the significant libraries, Lozad.js and LazyLoad, enables greater control over advanced features.

Adding the attribute loading="lazy" to all product images on my WordPress site significantly impacted the loading speed.

Lazy Loading Tools and Plugins

Here are a few of my favorites—tools, and plugins that help make it easy to implement lazy loading: 

  • LazyLoad by WP Rocket: This is an easily configurable, very lightweight plugin for WordPress. It helps improve load time on the site.
  • a3 Lazy Load: This is yet another good WordPress plugin that supports various media, whether it be images, videos, or iframes.
  • Lazad.js: High-quality, lightweight library for lazy loading, in proper sense, framework and platform agnostic. 

On a more personal note, LazyLoad by WP Rocket has done wonders for my WordPress e-commerce site. It was easy to set up, and the results concerning page speed came in immediately and remarkably.

#7 Mobile Optimization

And since most users visit websites through mobile devices, this makes it all the more relevant for you to make your product pictures mobile-friendly and optimized for search. This will help not only in the retention of users but also in enhanced rankings in search engines.

Why Mobile-Friendly Images Are Essential

Make sure that images are mobile-responsive. As I've noticed, optimized images can make a huge difference in lowering your bounce rate and, hence, improving your engagement rate with users. Fast loading and attractive product images on mobile screens retain customers and lead to conversions.

  • Better User Experience: Premium, quick-loading images will help site visitors not leave out of frustration.
  • More interactive: images are compelling and inviting users to look at more products.
  • Enhanced SEO: Search engines favor mobile-friendly sites, which instantly makes the images on the site more SEO-friendly right off the bat.

Optimizing Images for Mobile

Some of the main ideas for optimizing images for mobile are ways to ensure that these methods will make images beautiful and fully useful on these small screens.

  • Responsive images: Fit the size of pictures with the srcset attribute according to the device's screen. The aim is to, in this way, give responsive images to mobile devices at the right size, which reduces loading times simultaneously.

How to Test Image Performance on Mobile (Google Mobile Friendly Test)

Image performance on a mobile device is a very critical thing to check. Thus, for this activity, I would prefer the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to get some assurance that my website and the images in it are really optimized for mobile.

  • Try It Out: Enter your website’s URL on the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. This tool navigates through your website after entering its URL and returns with an analysis of the level of ‘mobiles’ of your images. 
  • Analyze Test Results: Be cautious of issues such as slow loading or improper images that are scaled either larger or smaller for various devices. It will point out exactly where a change is required so that the required measures can be implemented. 
  • Take Action: Rework your images based on feedback. You may need to resize, compress, or change the image format to improve it.
  • Test again: Perform changes and test again as soon as feasible to ascertain whether the optimizations have designed the anticipated impact. 

After all these, while continually assessing performance, you are sure that your product photos are responsive to mobile users; that is, the overall user experience coupled with SEO value will have got a boost.

#8 Image Sitemaps

One of the more powerful tools in the SEO arsenal would be the image sitemap. Let's talk about what an image sitemap is all about and why this would be so very needed to help maximize the visibility of your product photos.

What is an image sitemap and why is it beneficial for SEO?

One of the most common discoveries through my SEO practice has been the importance of text content. At the same time, images are equally crucial for excellent user experience and boosting search engine rankings. In essence, an image sitemap is a roadmap for search engines and their crawlers to find and index images on a website. Key Points:

  • A sitemap with images helps give search engines a roadmap for discovering and indexing images.
  • They provide essential metadata, which helps search engines understand image context and relevance.
  • It makes images more visible in result listings.

Ways to make and submit an image sitemap

I've applied many image sitemaps to my SEO campaigns and, from them, have always found them quite successful for the cause. You can increase image exposure and gain more traffic naturally. Here is how to make and submit an image sitemap in a few simple steps:

  • Generate the Image URLs: Collect all image URLs on the website.
  • Sitemap Structure: Sort your URLs into a structure that suits the Sitemap Protocol.
  • Submit to Search Engines: Submit the image assets to search engines through their webmaster tools.

Image Sitemap Generator Tools: Yoast SEO, Screaming Frog

Of course, some made-to-order and not-so-general tools ease the process while ensuring its accuracy and completion. Two handy tools are Yoast SEO and Screaming Frog.

  • Yoast SEO: Easily creates an image sitemap for WordPress websites through a user-friendly interface. 
  • Screaming Frog: Offers an advanced feature for crawling and analyzing images to create a very big sitemap. 

One of the best ways is to use such tools to ensure you maximize and do a great job of optimizing the product images to guarantee complete search visibility of the product.

#9 Testing and Monitoring Image Performance

You have invested all your time and effort in the persuasive development of product descriptions, but do your product photos harm the SEO effectiveness? Well, fear not! Your performance can be optimized; traffic and sales will be boosted through innovative testing and monitoring your image performance. So, let's now find strategies for optimizing product photos for SEO.

Tools for testing image SEO performance

You must verify the performance of images using some of the tools that I always trust before you optimize the image. Some of my best:

  • For example, Google Analytics helps describe the role images play in website traffic and engagement.
  • Google Search Console: It reports how images perform within search results and offers recommendations for improvement.

Ways to monitor image load times and their impact on SEO

At least, I like to think that optimizing images for SEO is as crucial as choosing keywords and tags correctly. Here's how I check the loading times of images about SEO:

  • PageSpeed Insights: Measuring web performance and offering suggestions for loading the site as quickly as possible.
  • GTmetrix: It allows you to see how images affect page load times, hence helping with optimization.

Regularly updating and optimizing images based on performance data

It's an iterative process of optimization—meaning constantly revisiting and retouching your images with insight gained. Here's how I approach it:

  • A/B Testing: Use different variations of images to find the best-performing ones.
  • Keyword Optimization: Keep updating the caption of images and their title and alt text to cater to the keywords and search intent.

EndNote

With these steps, your product pictures will be attractive to every buyer and search engine optimized. There is no forgetting that high-quality and SEO-friendly product photographs can greatly enhance the website ranking in an image quest, eventually driving better natural traffic and sales.

Optimizing product photography continuously can give you the ability to produce a visually strong and SEO-friendly online experience, which serves to increase sales and boost the overall brand presence across the digital ecosystem.

Anyway, are you looking for a one-stop shop to level up your product photography and conquer image SEO? From Graphic Design Eye, get a full spectrum of graphic design services—from professional and well-done product photo editing, background removal, photo retouching, image resizing, and image optimization. Our experts can turn your product photos from just typically looking shots into potential eye-catchers so your potential clients will fall in love with them. Contact us today and give your product photos life.

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