Image Optimisation and SEO

If you're running an e-commerce website then Image Optimisation and SEO are essential tools of the trade. People look for images of products so that they can compare like for like. If you're images aren't showing up then you're leaving money on the table.

This is the first in a series of posts that will help you to optimise your images, help them be indexable and therefore discovered by people searching for those products.

We're going to cover naming, tagging and the size and type of images that will work best for e-commerce applications. In this post we'll cover File naming and the ALT tag.

File Naming

Straight out of the camera, an image will usually have some alphanumeric name that makes absolutely no sense to a human being e.g. DSC00098734.jpg

We need the filename to be descriptive. e.g. Mojito-tea.jpg

There are good practical reasons, not least that you'll be able to locate the image on your hard drive! As far as SEO is concerned, by doing this you're enabling the Search engine to discover keywords in the filename as well as the content.

Optimize Your Alt Tags

The Alt tag is a text alternative that was designed to be used by a browser when it can't render the image. It is also one of the best ways to ensure your images show up in Google searches.

What is important here is that the alt attribute adds SEO points to your website. Put simply, this means that by adding appropriate alt tags to the images on your website, you can help your website achieve better rankings in the search engines.

In HTML, the Alt attribute appears as part of the IMG definition

<img src="" alt="Mojito Tea with Orange">

You need to fill out each alt tag for every catalogue image on your site so that the search engines can index them.

How to Use the Alt tag

These are the best practises for using the Alt tag.

  • The tag should be descriptive, e.g. Mojito Tea with Orange
  • If the product has a model number use that in your alt tag. e.g. Canon 5D mk3
  • Keyword stuffing is now discouraged - you'll be penalised for doing it. e.g cheapest canon 5D mk3 cheap bargain Do not do this!
  • For decorative images, e.g.. Backgrounds, I wouldn't bother unless they are actually relevant to my business. Everything in your web site should be aimed at selling.

That concludes Image Optimisation and SEO Pt 1, in Pt 2 we'll look at the physical attributes of the image - file size, dimensions and the qualities affecting the speed at which an image loads.

Image Optimisation & SEO Pt 2 - Dimensions
Image Optimisation & SEO Pt 3 - Video