image optimization guide for ecommerce site

Image Optimization for Ecommerce: A Practical Guide

In the world of visually appealing websites and software applications, good-quality images play a huge role in creating positive impacts on buyers. Besides, images almost become mandatory for your product pages, since clear and visually attractive product images can convert your visitors into paying customers. In this article, we will discuss the different ways of optimizing images for your eCommerce site.

What is Image Optimization?

Image optimization is the process of reducing an image’s file size as much as possible so that the web page can load faster. Image optimization is basically an image resizing technique in SEO (search engine optimization) that aims to keep the image file sizes low without compromising on their quality. It also helps improve your website rankings on Google or other search engines.

Optimizing your images for SEO enables digital marketers and SEO specialists to deliver better user experiences by improving page load speeds and decreasing waiting times. Image optimization for eCommerce helps to boost the overall SEO of your web portal by displaying high-quality images within minimum file sizes. It also saves the storage space of your domain host, making room for more such images or other media files.

Image optimizations aim to deliver impactful banner or product images in the right file format, size, dimension, and resolution while minimizing the image size as much as feasible. Some of the effective image optimization techniques include image resizing, size compression, and caching.

How to Optimize Images for eCommerce?

Following are some of the most effective image optimization SEO approaches that can boost your page rankings.

Name of Image

We know it’s a bit time-consuming to make each of your website images with the right naming conventions, but taking it as a one-step-at-a-time really makes the task easier. Dedicate some time to rename each of your image files based on the relevant keywords to boost your site’s SEO health.

Avoid uploading the image with the default file names that your camera or other devices and tools have assigned. For example, if it’s the product image of a pair of red running shoes for women, then instead of uploading the file as “DCMIMAGE20.jpg”, rename it as “Nike-Running-Shoes-for-Women-Red.jpg”.

Optimize your Image Alt Attributes

Image alt attributes are important for screen readers and as substitutes for corrupted or broken image files, too. In other words, alt attributes are text alternatives to your images, and they are displayed when the browser fails to open a certain image due to poor network or other technical issues.

It’s recommended to avoid using your target keywords in your image alt tags unless the image description matches one of your keywords. However, you can use relevant keywords but make sure to use your keywords sparingly across the length and breadth of your website. That’s because overusing your keywords may lead to keyword cluttering, a black hat SEO technique that can hamper your site’s SEO health.

The best alt tags include –

  1. Describing your images in simple language
  2. Using the product’s model numbers or SKU IDs
  3. Not using alt tags for decorative images, which are not essential in understanding the purpose and content of a web page (as search engines may penalize your site for over-optimizing)
  4. Not overstuffing your alt attributes with keywords.

Choose your image dimensions wisely

While browsing products on Amazon or Shopify, you must have observed that merchants put up multiple product images clicked from different angles to provide a complete view of the item. This practice holds true for your website’s product pages too. Make sure to deliver the best product-viewing experience and add proper alt tags for each to enhance image SEO health.

And if you feel that your page load time is getting hampered after uploading multiple images (even after optimizing them), try to offer your visitors the option to have a larger view of the image in a separate page or a pop-up window.

Reduce the file size of your images

Many of you are wondering or have even searched for “how to optimize images for web without losing quality”. According to a report from Amazon, if web pages slow down even for a second, it may lose around $1.6 billion per year. Resizing your images as much as possible without losing their quality is a great technique of image optimization for eCommerce.

By reducing your image file sizes, you can boost your website’s load speed and reduce your bounce rates. Since fewer people will click away from your site, you can expect higher website traffic, user experiences, and conversions.

Choose the right file type for the image

Choosing the right file type or format is one of the vital image optimization techniques. The three common file formats you can choose to upload your images in include JPEG, PNG, and GIF. PNG images are gaining popularity due to their higher quality and support for more colors compared to JPEGs and GIFs. Besides, PNG files do not degrade with time after a number of re-saves, thus retaining image quality for longer periods.

  • Use CDNs

Merchants are advised to maintain caution while using CDNs (content delivery networks). Although Shopify merchants don’t really need to worry about this, other eCommerce retailers need to use CDNs with care. CDNs are popular tools for hosting one’s website images and other multimedia files. These networks can help to boost page load speeds while addressing your bandwidth concerns as well. However, it’s best to use it only when you are required to handle high business volumes per month.

  • Use Image Sitemaps

Image sitemaps, much like normal sitemaps for your website, can optimize your site for SEO by letting Google and other image search engines notice your images. Image sitemaps can come in handy if you are using several image formats, such as image pop-ups, JavaScript galleries, or other flashy images, to boost your visitors’ shopping experiences. By uploading image sitemaps, you are providing vital information to Google about your website’s images, thus ranking higher on the SERPs.

Final Words

In conclusion, optimizing your images can save your business from losing potential customers by improving page load speeds. Even if you allow your potential buyers to wait for a second more, get ready to see them go and let them land on your competitor’s website! So, it’s time to put effort into optimizing and resizing all your image files to reduce waiting times. Because you cannot afford to lose a good deal of business due to mere negligence, which can be avoided easily!


Q. 1. Does Shopify compress images automatically?

In your searches for “how to optimize images for Shopify”, you may have come across the information that this eCommerce platform compresses your images automatically. Yes, you heard that right! Shopify offers this facility to its sellers to help save them some time. Shopify compresses the images displayed on an online store to increase load times and improve user experiences.

However, to ensure the highest precision that can be achieved with a human touch, you can stop this automatic compression feature. However, ensure to do it manually every time you upload a picture, rather than skipping this step altogether. And if you are doing it manually, check for the right file name, format, and file size.

Q. 2. What is the best way to optimize images for the web?

Some of the effective ways to optimize your images for the web include –

  • Naming your images properly using relevant keywords, brand name, model name, and other product details.
  • Optimizing your image alt attributes carefully and writing them in plain language.
  • Uploading images in the right file format (JPEG, GIF, or PNG).
  • Reducing the file size of your images to improve page load speeds.
  • Downsizing and sharpening your images using an image editor, such as Adobe Photoshop.
  • Choosing the “Save for Web” option in Adobe Photoshop to automatically optimize your images for the web.
  • Choosing visually appealing product angles and the right image dimensions wisely.
  • Optimizing your image thumbnails, especially for category pages, to improve page load times.
  • Using image sitemaps to index your images and boost search engine rankings.
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