Optimize your images to load quickly and be found by search engines

Search engines not only crawl the text on your webpage, they also crawl your images. Optimizing your images doesn’t stop you from displaying beautiful photography. In fact, it better helps show off and display your images to shoppersSee more about SEO.

Reducing image sizes should be a priority for your store. HTTP Archive reports that images make up 46% of the average webpage’s overall size—meaning images are large and can make a page load slowly if not optimized. The good news is that since Shopify is hosted ecommerce software, you don’t need to worry about technical aspects of finding a CDN that is secure and readily loads your images, as that’s included in your plan. However, here are some simple tricks for reducing the file size of your images to help them get found and indexed easier by search engines:

  • Use images in JPG or PNG formats. Shopify automatically serves images in WebP, a format that provides superior compression for images on the web, with an average saving of over 30% in file size over traditional file formats like JPEG and PNG. Alongside this, when possible, use only JPEGs and PNGs for images when uploading them to your site, as they’re already the smallest image file formats. This can be done in most native image programs that come with your system. For example, on a Mac, you can use the Preview app to save images in different formats by clicking File > Export, then choosing either JPG or PNG from the dropdown menu.
    Note: A good rule of thumb is to use JPEGs for photography and PNGs for custom graphics or illustrations, etc., and never GIFs, unless it’s for a moving image.
  • Reduce the file size of your images. In short, the larger the image file size, the longer it can take a load a page. Reducing your image dimensions speeds up the loading of your images and the page. Resizing images can affect their quality. Be sure to use standard resolution, which is 72 pixels per square inch (PPI). If you’re new to this, we recommend you use DH SEO to get started.
  • Add images to your sitemap. It’s vital to have your images appear on search results, as many people are visual searchers, especially when it comes to products like apparel. Adding images to your sitemap makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index them. Shopify includes your primary product page image in the sitemap, but if you want to include all images on your products pages, I recommend installing DH SEO, an app that automatically builds and submits to Google Search Console an .xml Sitemap for all images associated with each product, blog article, and page in your Shopify store.
  • Optimize your alt attributes carefully. Alt attributes are the text alternative to images used when a browser can’t properly render them. They’re also used for web accessibility, meaning if a person with impaired vision is looking at your blog they will be read the alt text. Alt text is important for ecommerce stores and image SEO as it helps products show up in Google images. Our advice here is to describe in plain language what’s in the image to help people with imparied vision have an idea what the image displays. In turn, this can also help your images rank. Instead of “facial toner 250ml” try “Image of Pixi’s Glow tonic facial toner in 250ml, a highly concentrated, invigorating facial toner to deep clean your pores”.
  • Name your images in plain language. This is the file name of your image when it’s saved to your computer. When you upload it, its web address will be the same. Ideally, it should match the keyword on the page. For example, if our page is about habanero hot sauce, we want to save the image file name as “habanero-hot-sauce.jpg.” This means that alongside our product page appearing for queries “habanero hot sauce,” our product images hopefully also will appear under the images tab on search engines.See more about SEO.