- Nico Bistolfi
How do you get the first place of Google search results?
We’ve been through the importance of having a fast website nowadays. How long needs a page load? For Google, the time their users need to wait to see the content has become one of the most crucial "rank on top" factors. Seconds and that’s it, your visitor may leave your page if he finds out that it takes ‘ages’ to load your content. Not that we say that patience isn’t a value to cherish... but we need to face that fact in order to boost our sites and get the best out of them.
However, it’s not the only reason why we should take this into account. Of course, user experience (UX) is more than essential but also because Google says so. If you’re immersed in this online world, you probably heard about SEO. SEO - which stands for Search Engine Optimization - was developed to improve online media. With the huge and fast growth of the internet, a lot of low quality content also grew. Among other reasons, they came up with this solution: a bunch of actions that help well-built sites to gain visibility and as a consequence, traffic. There are some non-image related factors, naturally, but images impact on site speed and this is a ranking factor.
My site is made up mostly of images, how can I speed it up?
If you’re an e-commerce owner, designer or photographer, you may be wondering: how can I have a fast site if it’s really heavy? Don’t worry. There’s a way to improve your images in order to boost your site and reflect it on your SEO ranking on Google top.
The fact is this: if you own a website with light image files, it will load faster, of course. And if it’s faster, you will gain visibility and traffic. Google is obsessed with speed and all about web performance.
We got some tips together that will definitely help you rank better on Google searches.
List of the 5 secrets to rank on top on Google search
1. Use ALT text
The Alt Text is the written version of an image. It’s used when an image isn’t available. Sometimes, some images can't be displayed, maybe because the visitor has turned off or blocked images on their computer or smartphone.
The Alt attribute or Alt Text has another very important function, that helps visitors who are visually impaired. There are screen readers that permit to hear what is written. When we describe images on the Alt Text, we make sure that no information gets lost.
For example, the ALT text for this image could be- Violet flower with water drops and green plants. -Macro photography
Basically, the alt text makes an image ‘readable’ for people with poor eyesight and helps search engines figure out the subject of an image so they can include them in searches. For commercial purposes, using Alt Text is a really good practice since it results in more traffic and therefore, it helps to build brand awareness.
2. Your images' file name DOESN'T matter!
Though some people may think file names are useful, our experience says that it isn't true at all. (We are preparing a case of study to show you this soon!)
We were used to paying attention to the file name of our images, but now we wondered if it actually benefits our rankings in any way. Believe us, the ALT text is more important, those are important, not just for SEO but for accessibility too. Make sure that your image fits with your content! Google is so smart that he looks if the image fits with what you are saying.
3. Proper Image Size
One of the most useful tips to really boost your site speed and rank on top in Google searches is to pay attention to your images. If they weigh too much, they will slow down your site.
You MUST optimize your images in order to get seen, especially when your site is full of them! Without a doubt, no one wants to upload poor quality images that may get pixelated in some devices. When an image is the best way to show your product or service, there’s no question about whether it’s necessary or not. The thing is to get the best of both worlds: high quality and sharpness and small sizes this possible? Yes! You’re not dreaming, you can accomplish that really easy. You just have to learn a few tips regarding formats and sizes. For now, we can tell you that in order to have this, we advise you to use WebP, the king of formats. With the ability to get both lossy and lossless compression, WebP was specially designed for this purpose: UX. You can learn more about WebP format.
Here, in this screenshot, we can appreciate the potential savings, for compressing our image. Yes! 94%, is pretty cool... And much more when we compare the original and the compressed qualities. This tool called Resize Images, one of my fav. to compress and resize images has the option to convert to WebP, too! And as we mentioned before, this is the format King if you have an ecommerce or a website with plenty of photographies!
So here you have photographers, your format dream come true. You can have high-quality product photography with the smallest file size! Image optimization is crucial when it comes to conversion rate, experience, and quality.
Remember, that if your images are pixelated or blurry, Google is not going to pick it up, to show it to the users as an image search. That's why is so important to show high-quality images, but not so heavy because the visitors will run away before they see it.
4. Content Delivery Network -CDN
Without getting too technical, if you’re not acquainted with the concept of a content delivery network - or CDN - is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and data centers. High availability and performance are the goals. The closer an end-user is to the content, the faster it will load. So CDN works by serving the content from the closest data center.
5. Create browser caching
In really really simple words, browser caching works by creating a copy of a website and storing it locally, so when you load it, the path is more ‘direct’. This avoids the need for downloading the same files over and over. You can truly speed up your website by enabling it. Depending on which server you’re using, you may have to need different plugins to activate it. W3 total cache will be appropriate when using WordPress, for instance.
Bonus Track 😉: Powerful Tools to resize images properly
There are many tools to resize, and it will depend on what you want to do, or which format do you have and want to convert. We are going to tell you a couple of powerful, free and online tools to try them and get what you want:
Iloveimg.com Pros: Nice tool! Simple to use. You can choose your images from Google Drive or Dropbox.
Resizeimages.com Pros: My favorite! Drag and drop. Free forever and if you are in a hurry they will send you all your compressed files on a zip via email. Cons: it hasn't many formats to convert *but Webp yes!
Tinyjpg.com Pros: Very good one! Cons: it has an image compress limit, then you need to pay.
resizeimage.net Pros: Simple to use. Fast and intuitive. Cons: it hasn't WebP format.
Photographers, designers, developers, marketers... Try and tell us what do you think or share with us which tool are you using!
To sum up...
- Use images that match your text and with what you are talking (Google is sooooo Smart)
- Make sure image dimensions match the image size as displayed
- Reduce file size for faster loading- Use one of the tools we write bellow to make sure that the dimensions are the correct, and you aren't losing quality!
- Don't forget the ALT text for more accessibility.
Share more tips with us, to rank on Google top.
Feel free to comment and contribute to this community!