“By 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.” Gartner
We are one month away to find out whether two years ago, leading research and advisory firm Gartner, was right with this statement.
No matter the result, SEO did see a drastic change in optimization purpose. Driven by trends like visual search and voice search, the industry’s scope has expanded and evolved into something more dynamic.
“Visual search has the potential to change the way we interact with the world around us.
Our culture is already dominated by the visual, so it seems natural that we would use an image to start a search.
After all, when we shop offline, we rarely start with text. Visual search brings that sense of visual discovery to the online world.” Clark Boyd
Optimization: to fully take advantage of today's AI engines, like those found in Google, Pinterest, Bing etc., you require advanced knowledge of image optimization and intelligence.
Before we go into the 5 pro techniques of image optimization, it is crucial to analyze your images and website together, to see where you are at today and what needs to be fixed!
Focusing on the SEO aspect of image analysis, you need to check how your images are affecting the site speed. Are they sized properly and responsive? Is there a CDN implemented?
Also, don't forget to check the type of images, as well as if they are copyright protected and legally transmitted overseas.
These are all basics. The advanced analysis includes the basics mentioned above and then finding a solution to make it better and see how you can use it.
Our performance report gives you insight into the current state of the images on your website, plus if and how they can be fixed, by using one of our media optimization and acceleration solutions: https://performance.cloudimage.com/
You have a before-and-after comparison once you have run the performance report, which gives you an overview of what your image SEO should address the most.
Once you have run the performance report, you are provided with a before-and-after image performance comparison, detailing which aspects of your image infrastructure can be improved and how to achieve this.
Through thorough analysis, you now can start the optimization process.
Advanced Image Optimization
In one of our previous articles, we covered the 12 most important things for effective optimization (for increasing traffic and boosting revenue).
Continuing on from that, here are 5 advanced SEO Image optimization techniques to get you ready for 2021:
- Multi-CDN architecture integration
- New-Gen image formatting
- Custom C NAME implementation
- Schema optimization
- Blurhash preview
Multi-CDN architecture integration
According to Limelight research, 78% of people will stop watching an online video after it buffers three times, and the majority of people will not wait more than 3 seconds for a website to load.
This is where a Content Delivery Network (CDN) comes into play.
The most common use case of a CDN is to cache content and deliver it to the end-user, reducing the page load time.
When a user accesses your website, instead of loading the content directly from your website server, the user gets the content from a CDN server closest to their location.
Geographically, the user and the CDN server that responds to the user's request are now just a few miles apart, which reduces the time taken to load the resource significantly.
Using multiple CDNs to deliver fast and beautiful content everywhere, provides an even greater level of availability and performance.
Multi-CDN setup, enables you to direct user requests to the most optimal CDN, according to your business needs.
It also minimises single points of failure, by providing alternate delivery options in the event of a CDN outage, which is not a case for a single point CDN.
Moreover, large-scale content delivery events (like Black Friday) may create choke points in individual CDN providers, or in certain locations.
This potential issue is avoided with a multi-CDN strategy, as the load is distributed amongst multiple CDNs.
Security-wise, having multiple CDN providers allows you minimize risk and bypass compromised CDNs altogether, in the event of a cyber attack.
This is a more advanced use of CDNs that is generally employed by larger companies.
Some of the cyber-safety features include:
- Blocking access on non-HTTP ports
- Bot Protection
- Web Application Firewall (WAF)
- DDoS protection etc.
In 2021, multi CDNs will become a must-have for all the advanced players in the digital arena.
New-Gen image formatting
JPEG and PNG are old news. The advanced SEO in 2021 marks the support extension of WebP and will see AVIF as new image format grow to reach new hights (or better said "lows") in image size.
You may have heard about this format but are you sure all of your online images are properly converted?
You can check that via this performance report tool!
What makes WebP an advanced format?
It is that its lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs. WebP lossy images are also 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images at an equivalent of the Structural SIMilarity (SSIM) quality index.
Lossless WebP supports transparency at a cost of just 22% additional bytes.
Next to this, according to developers.google, it is compatible with the vast amount of web browsers out there!
Custom CNAME implementation
Consistent branding is one of the reasons “Coca-Cola” is said to have become the second-most recognized term in the world, trailing only the word “Okay”.
This is why consumers often choose one company over another, even when those businesses are selling an identical product.
Domain names are part of this consistent branding.
A Canonical Name or CNAME record is a type of DNS record that maps an alias name to a true or canonical domain name.
Imagine the negative reaction people would have if Coca-Cola were to open a blog where you click on the picture and the URL suddenly changes to something totally different from their brand.
With WebP and Multi CDN on the way, make sure to choose a provider that can offer you a custom CNAME corresponding to your brand!
Next to the increased conversion, a branded CNAME enables brand consistency and higher recognition by your potential customers.
All of this brings you closer to the ultimate goal: revenue increase.
Schema markup is quickly becoming an SEO backbone, soon to dominate the SERP conversations just like backlinks and keywords did before.
Optimization of schema and rich results for images is a big but yet untapped potential for improvement many are not using.
If you include structured data on a particular page, Google Images can display images as rich results.
Rich image results are highlighted with a badge letting users know that your website contains relevant information—and as a result, can help you drive more targeted traffic to your website.
More traffic means more revenue.
The best format to implement Schema markup, according to World Wide Web, is JSON-LD.
JSON-LD is a lightweight Linked Data format to easily read and write structured data on the web, using open vocabularies like schema.org.
The advantages of using JSON-LD to write structured data, compared to other formats like microdata, are the following:
- It does not affect the performance of the page because it can be loaded asynchronously
- It is injected in the page without impacting on the existing HTML structure and tags
- It is easy to be reused by web developers as it follows the JSON syntax
- It leverages on linked data
You can verify the structured data via the Rich Results Test Tool through URL or code snippet.
Here is the example of code without and with JSON-LD data.
BlurHash takes an image and gives you a short string (only 20-30 characters!) that represents the placeholder for this image.
Your client then takes the string and decodes it into an image that is temporarily displayed, while the real image is loading over the network.
It is a great and advanced solution that provides a smooth and interesting experience for your users.
If your website relies heavily on images this technique can decrease your bounce rate drastically.
So far, BlurHash can be implemented with C, Swift, Kotlin, TypeScript, Python.
More about implementation and used cases here.
There you have it. 5 things to focus on in the next year.
All of 5 of them are interconnected and are bringing SEO efforts to another level.
With the implementation of all 5, SEO results should come faster, be more reliable and bring constant results.
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