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The Comprehensive Guide of Image Optimization for Online Stores

Let us be honest; while running an online marketplace, administrators tend to focus more on other forms of search engine optimization than image optimization. Moreover, many of them are aloof about the fact that images play a crucial role in SEO as well as conversion. The fact remains that non-optimized the images will cut short traffic from your online store and you will see a fall in conversion rate and sales.

Image optimization is directly linked with search engine optimization and user experience. In 2010, daily page views on Google images surpassed 1 billion. Not only that, reports have suggested that people prefer to buy products, which have visually optimized images. Therefore, for an online store, image optimization can become the deciding factor for success.

If you do it right, then results will be amazing and will boost the conversion rate of your store. Here are few tips to optimize the images on your online marketplace:

The Basics – Image Formats and Tools

Image Format:

JPG: Considered as one of the best image formats to show products in an eCommerce store, JPG images can undergo a considerable amount of compression to reduce the size of the image without compromising on quality.

PNG: Due to its support for lossless data compression, PNG is preferred by most graphic designers. It comes with both, 24-bit RGB or 32-bit RGBA colors, making it more superior to GIF format.

Tools: Depending on the type of image you want to edit, you can make the appropriate selection of image editor you wish to use. There are two types of solutions available – open source and proprietary. Let us look at each of them.


Adobe Photoshop: Suitable for digital photos, Adobe Photoshop is the first preference of web and graphics designers, who want to work with a commercial-grade raster graphics editor. Initially developed in 1990, Photoshop packs all the tools required to edit photos.

Adobe Illustrator: Initially launched in 1987, Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor, which is suitable for logo design, technical representations, flowcharts, and more. Nearly 29 years old, Illustrator is used by professionals worldwide and has outgrown its reputation for being the best vector graphics editor.

Open Source:

GIMP: GIMP is a free and open-source replacement for Adobe Photoshop. It is a raster graphics editor used for photo editing. It can be used for a variety of uses and comes with all the necessary tools to change the dimensions, size, and format of the image.

Inkscape: Being a vector graphics editor, Inkscape is a suitable alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It is much easier to use and has a comprehensive online guide. It is perfect to create logos, Infographics, and more. To top it off, it uses PNG format to store images, which can easily be exported to JPG.

Always prefer high-quality images

Images are an integral part of your online store. It will visible on your store, in your email newsletters as well as Google images search results. The quality of the image directly compliments the product and helps to increase the conversion rate.

Images optimized in the right way will also appear in image search result and will help in bringing constant visitors. High-quality images help in selling the product by making it appear visually enticing for the customer. Consider using high-quality images to achieve higher conversion rate.

Make SEO friendly images

SEO is deeply linked with the way Google crawls the internet. Based on the information you provide for each product image, Google will crawl and make it available to the relevant audience in web search and image search. Meta information and image file naming are two essential factors as explained in the example below.

Example: Any customer searching for a product will type that product’s name in a search engine like Google image search. Based on the file name and meta information of the image, the user will see it in search results and may click the image to end up directly on the product page of your store.

What, where, and why of SEO friendly images

There are a number of ways to improve the SEO of images for an online eCommerce store. The alt-tag and the meta information play a vital role to inform search engine crawler about the image. However, there are certain rules to follow for making optimal usage of alt-tag and meta information.

Usage: The alt-tag should have a length of 125 characters with text molded to its surrounding. Using keywords are bad for business and Google understands this. Try to write a description, which is relevant to the context.

Problems with large Images

Without images, eCommerce store cannot attract users to buy the products. However, the use of heavy images affects the page load speed and Google considers this factor while ranking the website in search results. Every time a visitor visits the website with lesser page load speed, he is bound to close the page and move to a different eCommerce store offering a better user experience. The Ideal image size for products should be between 50 – 60 KB size and it should display the product clearly. An image with size less than 50 KB will not be able to show the product clearly and may pixelate the image so; it is advised not to use such low-quality images.

Pay if you have to for original content

Google has a strong policy against plagiarism as it decreases the quality of the eCommerce store. The product images, as well as other images, should be fresh and of higher quality. As Google favors quality content, therefore, attributes of the image like Meta information should be well defined making it easy for the crawl to read it.
Here are some websites that sell original photographs for commercial use:

  • Fotolia
  • Istockphoto
  • Shutterstock
  • Gettyimages
  • Bigstockphoto

As discussed earlier, high-quality images directly influence the decision of a potential buyer. Besides complimenting the design of the store, images also boost sales and help in marketing. They can be optimized for better search ranking and can turn the user into a potential buyer by giving them a clear understanding of the product. It is important to make visually compelling images to help increase the conversion rate and to optimize images for search engines to rank better in search results.

Written By

Manish Bhalla is the Founder & CEO of FATbit Technologies, a web agency known for building cutting-edge ecommerce solutions for startups. Being active in the web industry for over a decade now, Manish also counsels businesses on choosing the right technology & applying right online marketing tactics as per their nature, size & industry. Through his articles, he shares insights that help startups formulate the right strategy as per their individual needs. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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