Before we dive into how product images can be optimized, let’s first take a look at the purpose of good product images, how they are important in e-commerce, and how image optimization helps.
Even though e-commerce is storming the retail world and doesn’t look like it is going to lose momentum any time soon, you will still find that many people head off to retail stores to shop. The biggest challenge that the e-commerce industry faces is that customers don’t get the brick-and-mortar experience of sensory pleasure – holding, feeling, trying out, and looking at the product from different angles.
But the alternative comes in the form of product photographs that recapture the emotions associated with tactility, along with the value of the product and why it is the answer they seek. When the photos are planned, well-shot, taken in context, and used intentionally to convey all those qualities that make it exciting for shoppers to shop online, they showcase the product as best as it can be.
Sales spurred on by-product images work in two parts –
- Excellent product shots that showcase the product’s features and capture the spirit of the brand
- Image optimization that helps the image reaches the right audience
This is because good e-commerce product photos can communicate the experience of a retail store and influence the buyer’s decision. Just add a little SEO optimization to these splendid product photos, and they are ready to enamour the right people, and most importantly, increase sales conversions at a faster rate!
Optimizing your product images for organic searches
So to make product images work online, after following the first integral component – taking excellent context-based product shots – here’s how you optimize them to impact the speed and organic traffic:
- Optimize for speed: If something takes more than 3 seconds to load on their desktop or phone, you lose your customer and gain a higher bounce rate. Online customers haven’t got the patience to wait, especially since there are so many other options to jump to. High-quality photos capture definition beautifully, but being high resolution they slow down the speed of your site. If you use the right compression tools, you can reduce the image size whilst still maintaining its quality. Run all your images through a compressor to continue to enjoy their quality without hampering the site’s speed.
- Optimize file names & alt text: It’s easier to leave your zillion images named as “img_1, img_2, img_zillion,” but without a proper name Google will just scan the metadata called img_zillion and not find the relevance to a bracelet! Therefore, file names and alt text should be keyword optimized so that search engines can pull them relevantly.
- It’s a good idea to give the image the name of the product. For instance, a pair of cufflinks labeled “Sterling Silver Feather Kisses Cufflinks” should have the same file name as “Sterling Silver Feather Kisses Cufflinks.” This is simple and clearly conveys what the product is.
- Next edit the alternative (alt) text of every image you upload. This provides context for search engine crawlers and helps them index images properly. Avoid keyword-stuffing the alt text. Instead, describe the image. For instance, if your image is showing Venetian blinds in use, the alt text could read: woman drawing corded Tuscan bamboo Venetian blinds. That defines the image, the product, and the function.
- A/B test, and A/B test again: Test, test, and test again! You want to know what images work, what people glaze over, what creates desire, and what gets the best interaction.
- There are some standard factors to A/B tests. Test different options of the product photo itself (taken in different surroundings, indoors, outdoors, natural light, etc.). Test to see if you have too many or very few shots of the same product. Test the story of the photo – is it conveying the spirit and mission of the brand, is it inviting, and does it showcase the product favorably?
- Including user-generated content can help with image optimization. They provide social proof and show other customers that you are trustworthy. Customers are inclined to believe other customers over you. Including their testimonials, reviews, and especially their photos of the product being used by them in real-life situations can boost confidence and help increase sales significantly.
Studying live user behavior can show you how people interact with your images and where you’re going wrong.
So as an e-commerce merchant, remember where you have the disadvantage with brick-and-mortars. And use the opportunity of optimized product photos to compensate for this drawback! Then sit back and watch your excellent product photos influence the buying decision of customers!