Most conventional business websites have a variety of methods to try and improve their SEO. These can range from traditional blogs to multimedia content to landing pages to social media outreach. For e-commerce, things are a bit different. Generally, your average e-commerce store page is limited to descriptions and a set of accompanying images. However, a lot of e-commerce professionals aren’t fully utilizing the power of images when it comes to enhancing their page appeal and driving SEO. Here are some tips from the experts to take things to the next level.
How To Create Images You Need
Many forms of online content, like blogs or e-books, can get away with using stock images, but this is a luxury an e-commerce page isn’t afforded. After all, your page needs to be an accurate image of what your product entails. If you take a picture of your product in the wrong light, people may be upset the color looks different in-person than online. Take a picture at the wrong angle? It may look bigger or smaller than its true size. However, not everyone has the equipment and expertise to do this alone. Hassan Alnassir, founder and owner of Premium Joy, mentions that freelancers are a good way to find a balance.
“While working with the freelancer, I make sure the products are photographed on a pure white background, with a high resolution (min of 3000×3000 px). Each item has at least seven various photos taken as per my instructions.”
Ideally, you want to put up as many different images as you can of a given item to ensure a customer fully understands what they are purchasing before they commit. With this said, depending on your niche, you may be able to get by with a more accessible method. Joanne Simmons, owner at The Silver Sculptor, says that on some occasions, she will take photos with her iPhone: “I now have the iPhone 11 Prom Max, but for the longest time was using the iPhone 8 to take my product shots. I also use a Panasonic Lumix LX10 which is great for macro shots (perfect for small pieces of jewelry).”
Equally important as a good photographic capture is the ability to edit. Proper editing will remove grey areas and clear up backgrounds so the viewer can focus on the image without distraction. You can also edit in relevant information or other images for comparison. Alnassir favors the free GIMP option, while Simmons uses Photoshop and Snapseed for camera-taken photos and smartphone-taken photos.
Common Mistakes/SEO Work
So, with this in mind, where do a lot of companies go astray with their image efforts? Jacob Seiter, founder of My Best Wallets, reiterates the importance of lighting. As he puts it, if two photos were put side by side, with one having high light and other having dull light, the dull light looks less attractive.
“Many e-commerce professionals make this mistake. They must take care to keep consistent lighting in their images. It becomes challenging to manage consistent lighting in outside shots,” he adds. Other common issues include not having enough pictures to give a rounded image of the item in question or using duplicate file names. Google will penalize too many images with the same names.
On the topic of Google, perhaps the biggest mistake of all when it comes to e-commerce images is failing to optimize them properly. If you don’t invest in image SEO, you could have the highest-quality images in the world, and they would likely fail to rank in a lot of searches. One of the main things to do is make sure you decrease the file sizes to a web-friendly number, especially if you are using a professional camera. Too many large image files will cause your site to load slowly, which means penalties for your ranking.
Equally important is how you prepare the image file itself. Be sure to change the title to something that actually describes the image, with alt text added. This enables Google to fully crawl your website, and as an added bonus, can be a benefit to your visually impaired readers. Combine these with a full meta description, and even a site without a lot of text can rank for important keywords.
Images are a great combination of practical and behind-the-scenes benefits for e-commerce professionals that are still often missed. Spending a little extra for professional equipment or support is well worth the expense to get your business the traffic it needs to succeed.