Archiv für den Monat: Mai 2019

Image optimization for SEO: Everything you need to know for success

Google's chart on image dimensions and file sizes

As of January 2019, there are more than 1.94 billion websites. That’s a lot of competition. What’s one great way to stand out? Great images. In fact, vision dominates all other senses when it comes to interacting with and absorbing information.

Here are three quick facts to help you understand how critical images are for people (and for SEO):

  • 90% of all the data the brain transmits is visual.
  • The human brain processes one image in the same amount of time it would take to read 1000 words. (Yes, turns out the old adage is indeed rooted in scientific fact.)
  • The recall value of visual content even after three days is 65%, whereas the recall value for written text is merely 10%.

With the majority of search volume coming from phones — and coupled with the fact that people’s attention spans have reduced to eight seconds — it’s essential for websites to be able to deliver a quick, frictionless, and delightful user experience.

Image optimization serves as a major part of this puzzle.

What can image optimization do for my users (and for SEO)?

  1. By shaving seconds off your site speed, it can reduce bounce rate and improve site retention.
  2. It helps improve page loading speed, which is a major Google ranking factor.
  3. It can help improve your keyword prominence. Read more on that here.
  4. It helps in reverse image search, which can be a big value add especially if you’re a product-based business.
  5. Many devices and desktops use high-resolution screens, which increase the need for good quality images.

Basic image optimization tips

These are some tips that anyone can apply for any type of site (even WordPress), so you’re not solely at the mercy of your developers and designers.

1. Choosing the right type of image: Vector or raster?

  • Vector images are simple, created by using lines, points, and polygons. Vector images are best applicable for shapes, logos, icons, and flat images. They have as good as no pixelation when you zoom in, making them apt for high-resolution devices. Additionally, you can use the same image file on multiple platforms (as well as for responsive website design) without having to use multiple variations.
  • Raster images, on the other hand, are images that are made of rectangular grids, each packed with multiple color values (pixels). Raster images provide depth to the imagery you would want to convey, giving it an emotional and psychological appeal as these images look real. However, if not handled well, these can heavily hamper your site’s loading speed! Plus, you might have to save multiple file variations to ensure they’re compatible on different platforms and fit for responsive designs.

Here’s a table that Google shared to help understand the pixel-to-byte relation. In short, you’ll get an idea of how heavy one image can get based on its dimensions.

Source: Google

Google also mentioned that it takes four bytes of memory to deliver one pixel. Imagine if you had several images on a site with 800 X 800 pixels. our site would take at least something around 625 kBps. Or in simpler terms, imagine an elephant participating in a rabbit race.

Bottom line

I would suggest wisely using a mix of both. An ideal ratio could be 40% vector images and 60% raster images.

2. Picking the best image format – SVG, JPG, PNG, or GIF?

Best format for vector images:

SVG is the only, and the best, option for vector images. Due to its flat imagery, you also benefit from high quality that is easily scalable.

Best formats for raster images:

  • PNG: Produces high-quality images with heavy file sizes. It can be suggested only for times when you want to save every detail of the image.
  • JPG: Produces good quality images which aren’t heavy in terms of file size. However, these are lossy images, which means you’ll lose some minor image details permanently. JPG is undoubtedly the preferred image format, which gives you the convenience of hassle-free downloading and uploading of images. Because of this, they’re the most widely used — around 72.3% of websites use JPG image formats and most of the phones save images as “.JPG” files. They are especially suggested for ecommerce sites and social media.
  • Gif: If you’re looking for animation, GIF is an ideal choice as it supports 256 different colors chosen from the 24-bit RGB color space. As of now, just 26.6% of websites use GIF formats.

Here’s a chart that could help you take a call on which image format is best to use.

Chart on image formats and usage trends

Source: W3Techs

Note: The data in the above chart is of May 15, 2019

3. Resizing images

With a cloud full of devices it’s obvious why people get confused about ideal image sizes.

Note that image size and image file size are two different things. Here we’ll explain how you can get ideal image size (also called image dimensions).

As part of image dimensions, we’ll also discuss aspect ratios.

What’s an aspect ratio?

Aspect ratios tell the width and height of an image and are written in an “x:y” format.

Why is it important?

Remember the time when you tried scaling an image and literally blew it out of proportion? This is exactly what it saves you from. Referring to an image aspect ratio while cropping or resizing images helps you maintain the viability and beauty of the image’s dimensions.

You could refer to this image Shutterstock created to enlist some commonly used aspect ratios.

 Chart of best image aspect ratios

Source for the image and the table data: Shutterstock

Aspect ratio Typical dimensions (inches) Typical dimensions (pixels) Ideal for
1:1 8 x 8 1080 x 1080 Social media profile photos and mobile screens
3:2 6 x 4 1080 x 720 Photography and print
4:3 8 x 6 1024 x 768 pixels TVs, monitors, and digital cameras
16:9 1920 x 1080 and 1280 x 720 Presentations, monitors, and widescreen TVs

With reference to the table above, it’s best to focus on the 1:1 and 4:3 image ratio that are apt for social media, mobile screens, photography, and print.

You might have your own dimension templates based on the content management system (CMS) you’re using.

According to Squarespace, the most ideal size for image optimization on a CMS is 1500 and 2500 pixels.

Here’s a quick and simple answer to spot the most common image sizes for the web.

Chart on most ideal image optimization sizesSource: Shutterstock

Bottom line

From personal observation, I can suggest using 1080 X 1080 pixels and 1500 X 2500 pixels.

If you’re feeling too lazy to go through all these details, you could also try scaling the image from the corner arrow while you’ve pressed the “Shift” key. Works for some platforms.

4. Naming images – Best practices

Search engines have brains without eyes, so unless you name your images right, they won’t be able to “read” your images nor rank you accordingly. This is where your keywords come into play. As I’ve mentioned above, if you name your images well, you can improve your keyword density and chances of ranking.

Let’s explain this with an example:

  • How people commonly save images – “Haphazard/random numbers and alphabets”, “Flowers can dance”, and “What was I thinking”
  • How people should save images – “five-tips-for-image-optimization” and “the-ideal-method-for-naming-images-in-2019”

Name your images in all small letters with hyphens in between and leave no spaces. As you’ve seen, I’ve used the keyword “image optimization” in the “five-tips-for-image-optimization” example. You’ll be surprised with how much that helps in ranking.


You could also use the following to improve keyword usage in your site content:

  • Alt text (If your image is loading slowly, this text appears in place of the image so users can get an idea of what should be there.)
  • Captions (Text that gives a short description, helping users know more about the image.)

Plus, if you have an ecommerce site, you could even make good use of structured data to give the search engine more specific details about your products‘ color, type, size, and a lot more.

5. Compressing the byte size of the image files

Compressing a file is possibly the simplest yet the most crucial part of image optimization as it directly relates to the website’s loading time. Points one to four prepare you for this final stage of image optimization.

Two live examples of how much load time can cost your bottom line:

  • observed a one percent decrease in sales for every 100-ms increase in the page load time.
  • Google experienced a 20 percent drop in revenue for every 500-ms increase in the search results‘ display time.

What’s the ideal image file size?

A file size below 70 kb is what you should be targeting. In case of heavy files closer to 300 kb, the best you can achieve is a 100 kb file size. Doing so saves your images from taking extra milliseconds to load while it gives you lossy, compressed images that do not compromise the visual quality.

How can you decrease an image’s file size?

All you need to do is drop these files on a file compression site and you’re all set. These are some good, free image file compression online tools:

  • TinyPNG/TinyJPG – (Compresses .png and .jpg files – 135 kb reduced to 43.9 kb – Does up to 20 images at a time – Supports dropbox)
  • Image optimizer – (Compresses .png and .jpg files – 135 kb reduced to 49 kb – Only does 1 file at a time)
  • WeCompress – (Compresses .png, .jpg, and other files – 135 kb reduced to 48 kb – Only does 1 file at a time)
  • EzGif – (Compresses .gif and other files – 2MiB reduced to 1.77MiB – Only does 1 file at a time. It also lets you edit the gif before compressing it.)

Bonus tips

  • Use web fonts in place of images with text on them as they look better, do not need to be scaled with the image, take less space, and save loading time.
  • Use 72dpi resolution for your images.

Closing notes

You could be using all these image optimization tips and still get stuck with a site that loads in 13 seconds or even worse. This is when you might want to ask yourself:

  • Do I need all these images?
  • Which images are redundant?
  • What’s the best place to put images on the site?

Website content, both visual and written, has an intertwined relationship that stimulates emotions and inspires people to further engage with your product or service. People (or at least I) judge a business through its website so feel free to tell us, which was the last impressive website you visited? Or what have you done for image optimization?

The post Image optimization for SEO: Everything you need to know for success appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


Hosen Hell

Mehr Bilder…

Altstadt. Altbier. Die Toten Hosen. Düsseldorf. Klare Sache, könnte man meinen. Doch nun kommt die Band mit ihrem eigenem Bier: Hosen Hell.

Da es das beste Altbier aus Düsseldorf schon gibt, schied diese Brauvariante leider aus. Lange wurde darüber nachgedacht, wie man dafür eine passende Lösung finden könnte und so wurde sich entschieden, es einfach mit einer anderen – allerdings nicht weniger klassischen – Brauform als Alt zu probieren: Die Idee für das Hosen Hell war geboren!

Sebastian Müller


A guide to implementing Google’s “How-to” schema

search console performance report screenshot

Google is always looking for the best ways to provide the most useful results to users. It’s what has allowed Google to dominate the search engine market for so long and, it has kept the SEO industry evolving.

In the beginning, there were quick answer boxes (remember those?) and, most recently, the introduction of “How-to” snippets.

“How-to” snippets aim to provide step-by-step instructions directly in the SERPs for instruction-based queries. There are two types of “How-to” snippets that you can find in the wild.

  • A standard, accordion list view of instructions.
  • A carousel of images showing each individual step.

This type of schema is mobile specific. And that’s important because it means absorbing huge amounts of SERP real estate. It has also been confirmed by Glenn Gabe, that you can capture both a featured snippet and the “How-to” carousel/list view.

This left very little space for your competitors but also, forced websites to now think more logically about how they structure their content.

Accordion vs carousel

The immediate question is “which type of How-to snippet is best for my audience?” You guessed right, it depends.

Take, for example, a crafting site audience. Visual and creative people. In this instance, you may consider using image rich snippets.

It’s like anything else in SEO, test it and tweak based on your results.

Here’s how it looks

Source: Google Search developer tools

Pretty eye-catching, isn’t it?

And then the accordion view (the standard “How-to” rich result).

accordion how to snippet example

Source: Google Search developer tools

My immediate preferred option is the accordion. For a number of reasons:

  • It’s easier to markup.
  • Each list item can have a few lines of text to explain the step.
  • It’s familiar. People recognize featured snippets and the standard “How-to” result, isn’t disruptive to that experience.

The only major difference which may influence user behavior after the click is the ability to anchor link to each step. The standard markup doesn’t allow for this to happen, however, the image carousel does.

Interesting to see how that changes user engagement in the future.

Understanding “How-to” schema objects

Your best source of information is Google’s search developer tools.

However, we often find that it can become complicated for those less-techy SEOs, which could dissuade implementation and testing.

We don’t want that. Which is why we’ve broken down each element of the schema and explained what it means.

how to schema objects example


This solely defines which type of schema you’re using on the page. In this instance, we’re going to use the type “HowTo”.


You can think of this as the title of your snippet. In basic SEO terms, it’s the equivalent to the page title attribute of a normal webpage.


Here is your chance to describe what you’re breaking down into steps. Keep this short, precise, and interesting enough to still encourage the click.


The “HowToStep” is where we tell Google we’re about to outline a numbered step to appear in the SERPs. Google counts the instances of the “HowToStep” to understand how many steps are there in total.


This sits underneath the “HowToStep”, “HowToDirection”, or “HowToTip”. This is your basic explanation of one of the three aforementioned “HowTo” elements.


This is where it can get tricky. Using the “HowToDirection” allows you to bullet point your text, rather than use a single paragraph. In our view, “HowToStep” is the easiest element to implement.


The best approach here is to add anchored links to each step of your “How-to” snippets. It’s only used for image-rich results. So, if you’re using the accordion, just add the main page URL to this element.

Image Object

This can be used to define the main image of your snippet. It can also be used to populate the carousel steps found in image-rich “How-to” schema.

Total Time (ISO 8601 format)

This is a critical element. The time defines, to your user in the SERPs, how long something will take to complete. If you’re not familiar with the ISO 8601 format, it’s worth visiting this Wiki page.

Creating your own “How-to” schema

We, as SEOs, are always looking for simple ways to complete complex tasks. Adding this markup to your pages should be no different.

We recommend letting Google do the hard work for you. You shouldn’t have to be a full-fledged web developer to start working with Schema markup.

Use the code generated in Google’s example to then tweak as you see fit.

creating-how-to-schema using Google generated code

Example image used for educational purposes, Ryan Roberts, Zazzle Media

You can easily change all elements of valid How-to Schema, generated by Google itself.

Some of the HowTo markups may not be relevant for what you’re trying to do, so, just begin removing sections which are relevant.

“How-to” schema example

Let’s say I own and I have an article about how to do crunches.

I’d take the code generated above, and tweak where I see necessary. Here’s how that might look:

how to schema code example

Example image used for educational purposes, Ryan Roberts, Zazzle Media

And, to preview how this looks in the SERPs, you just select ‘preview search result‘ in your code generator and it’ll give you two options to choose from.

  • Result type one (image carousel)
  • Result type two (standard list application)

In this instance, I’ve marked up my page to display a standard list.

how to schema preview search result example

Example image used for educational purposes, Ryan Roberts, Zazzle Media

Common markup errors

Unfortunately, Schema is a fickle character and will very quickly point out mistakes that you’ve made.

The most common errors normally come from missing required properties (known as class type) or syntax errors (uncategorized errors).

1. Parsing error: Missing “,” or “]” in an array declaration

common markup errors example missing , or ] in array declaration


This usually means you haven’t closed an open bracket somewhere in your code. Unfortunately, you have to dig into the code itself to find it. Thankfully, Google highlights the line in which the error appears on the Schema generator.

2. Parsing error: Missing “,” or “}”


Very similar to the syntax error above, this error means you have not successfully closed your {, or you have forgotten to add a comma before the start of your next opening {.

3. Incorrect value type

common markup errors incorrect value type


This type of error means you’ve omitted or mistyped the value of your “How-to” step. In this scenario, it could be:

  • HowToStep
  • HowToDirection
  • HowToTip

Note: A simple spelling mistake could throw your whole script out of sync.

Make Google crawl your URL

You can jump the queue and request that Google crawls your URL sooner to make sure it gets around to your content and (hopefully) finds your new “How-to” markup.

An easy way to do this is with the URL Inspection Tool (similar to “Fetch as Google”).

url inspection tool example

Source: Google Search Console for

From our initial testing, we’ve found that indexing happens pretty much immediately; irrelevant of the size of your site.

So, if you’re impatient and eager to see if your hard work has paid off, this is a great way to validate that Google has identified the changes to your URL.

Track your performance in the Google Search Console

After successfully implementing your Howto markup, it’s important that you track content performance.

Are clicks increasing/decreasing? Are impressions going up/down?

You can assess this within the Search Console’s performance report

url inspection tool example

Source: Google Search Console for

The likelihood is you’ll be a very early adopter of this markup, which will make it a quick way to eat up large amounts of SERP real estate.

However, it’s always important to monitor whether or not this markup is a real benefit to your site. This markup aims to enhance your content, not pay detriment to it.

In conclusion

“How-to” schema should begin making its way onto sites much more in the near future as clients (and SEOs) start to see the immense benefit of absorbing as much SERP real estate as possible. Despite the negative connotation of a zero-click search.

We’d love to hear about any tests and progress you’ve made, please feel free to leave any comments below to let us know!

Ryan Roberts is an SEO Lead at Zazzle Media.

The post A guide to implementing Google’s “How-to” schema appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


Maintaining Your Focus: What B2B Marketers Can Learn From My Home Improvement Snafu

B2B marketing lessons from home improvement (1)

B2B marketing lessons from home improvement (1)The sweet smell of fresh cedar is wafting in the breeze around my homestead this week—along with hint of marketing inspiration. Let me explain …

Best-Laid Plans

To take advantage of a long holiday weekend and a string of dry-weather days, my darling husband and I embarked on a “small” home improvement project: Sanding and staining our recently built 16-by-16 deck—plus an intricate one-story staircase.

She was such a beauty following her construction last fall.

But as is tradition, a delightfully heinous Minnesota winter set in. When spring arrived, she looked weary and weathered.

For months, we prepared to offer ourselves up to the cause once warmer weather came. And with the help of how-to YouTube videos and a lot of strategic Googling, our confidence and can-do attitudes were on the rise.

When that fateful weekend arrived, we weren’t so naïve to think this project would be easy—it would take time, attention to detail, teamwork, and a bit of strategy to do it right. We didn’t fancy ourselves skilled craftsmen, rather capable apprentices who knew how to wield a sander and paint brush. We were ready.

But in accordance with the prophecy of best-laid plans, things quickly went awry. From seemingly unavoidable inefficiencies to tool malfunctions to weather miscalculations, what started as a one-day-tops project has officially spiraled into a multiple weekend ordeal. We were worn down and frustrated, not knowing exactly what to do at times.

Do you see what I’m getting at, B2B marketers?

Facing Failure

The frustration and disappointment that comes with falling down on what you thought was a well-planned or strategically innovative initiative is something every B2B marketer has had to face.

Maybe you’ve gotten buy-in on an influencer marketing initiative and determined a few weeks in that you don’t have the bandwidth, niche expertise, tools, or timeline to execute effectively. Perhaps you’ve invested a sizeable portion of your budget in a marketing automation tool only to discover you lack the integrations, process documentation, or internal resources to get it fully off the ground. Or more simply, a tried-and-true tactic isn’t driving the results it used to—and you may not even know why.

Regardless of the situation, the anxiety and emotion you feel can make it incredibly difficult to gain the perspective you need to quickly pivot your approach. So, how do you accept what’s happened and move ahead with ambition and confidence?

Finding Focus

When small or seemingly insurmountable challenges arise, success is directly tied to our ability to keep our eye on the prize: The goals or outcomes we hope to achieve. With our objectives in focus, we can rely on our smarts and experience (and perhaps even a little insight and help from a agency trusted partner) to guide the most effective tactics that come next.

Frankly, after just one hour of sanding, we knew it was going to get ugly if we didn’t adapt to the reality of the situation. That said, it took us a full three hours to fully accept our fate, and refine our approach and reset our expectations. Through repeated equipment failures, four extra trips to two different hardware stores, and now being the proud owners of four sanders of varying sizes, the sanding is complete and the staining is planned for the next string of sunny days.

Here she is after 20 hours of sanding—a near spitting image of her original glory last fall:

So, remember this B2B marketers: You have a lot on your plate and things don’t always go as planned.

From creating relevant, engaging content on unsexy subject matter to contending with increasing competition, buyer distrust, and long sales cycles, B2B marketing is no cake walk—it’s an endless work in progress. However, with a steadfast focus on your end-goal, there’s no such thing as failure, just another opportunity to get it right.

[bctt tweet=“With a steadfast focus on your end-goal, there’s no such thing as failure, just another opportunity to get it right. @CaitlinMBurgess #B2BMarketing“ username=“toprank“]

Looking for more crafty inspiration? Check out our post on three “real-life” tools that need to be staples in your B2B content marketing toolbox.

The post Maintaining Your Focus: What B2B Marketers Can Learn From My Home Improvement Snafu appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.