According to one study, real estate listings with more than 20 photos and videos sell 32% faster than those with fewer. Images are crucial to getting your listings noticed. But adding 20+ high-quality, enormous images to each page of your site will slow your PageSpeed (and cause your SEO to take a hit). Since 13% of visitors will bounce if a page takes 3 seconds or longer to load (and the percentages go up sharply from there!), you want to keep your pages fast. This is particularly true since over 55% of your buyers will view real estate images on smartphones using mobile networks prone to latency.
Using some handy solutions and following housekeeping rules, you can continue adding beautiful images to your listings. These solutions keep your site attractive, fast, and ranking well on search engines!
Use Keywords in Image Titles, Tags, & Names
First, we’ll address the part of the images that the visitor doesn’t necessarily notice: alt-tags, filenames, and titles. Search engines use these to categorize and rank your photos for search relevance and impact SEO.
Alt-tags: Some people skip this step when adding images, but you should always use keyword-rich alt-tags – think location, property style, and words like “new” or “historic.” Alt-tags were originally created for visually impaired site visitors, but search engines now use them in their ranking algorithm. Keep in mind, however, that this is not a place for a sales pitch – the alt-tag should always functionally describe the image.
Titles: This is a great place for keywords like those discussed above. This should be shorter and more concise than the alt-tag. Depending on your site template, this is sometimes visible to the visitor.
Filenames: This is where most people neglect to use their keywords and end up with something like “img233592.jpg.” This tells the search engine (and the visitor!) nothing about the image. Using keywords here helps with SEO and also provides better UX for your site user.
Achieve Faster, High-Quality Images
So now you have a well-categorized image that is still huge and slowing your site down! Now what?
You can optimize your images for use on your real estate site with varying degrees of success or effort.
The first is a compression tool that takes one image, compresses it, and returns a second image with a smaller file size. If you only have one or two images, then this may be the way to go. But hold on, this is real estate. You have hundreds of photos on dozens of listings, changing constantly. Running each of those images through a stand-alone tool is just not feasible. Additionally – these tools compress with one basic algorithm, meaning everything is compressed at the same rate, and you end up with one file size for your image. That means the page might load quickly on a desktop but not fast enough on an iPhone on a wireless network.
A second approach is using responsive image syntax, which serves different images to different devices to increase PageSpeed. This may sound better, but in reality this method requires a fair amount of back-end coding work. In addition, this code is not necessarily something you want to edit each time a listing changes or is updated (unless you have a web developer on staff). It also works from a limited selection of images – usually three – to “fit” the hundreds of device options currently in use. Again, not great UX, and the payload is often still too large, meaning your page is still too slow.
The Advantages of an Image CDN
The third and most effective approach is to use an image CDN. An image CDN like ImageEngine builds upon the idea of a traditional CDN that has a global network of servers that serve images from a location closest to the site visitor – which reduces page load time. ImageEngine adds another layer with a 3-step process that ends in perfectly optimized images for every device and lightning-fast PageSpeed.
First, it uses the device resolution, obtained by its device-aware edge servers, to change the size of the image. The second step compresses the image using an image optimizing artificial intelligence tool. This removes extra data that does not impact the image’s visual quality on the requesting device. It knows just how far to compress based on the device intelligence from edge servers. Third, it selects the most efficient file format supported by the device, browser, and its operating system version. This optimized image is then stored in the edge cache for future use. When ImageEngine needs to create a new optimized image, the processing time is incredibly fast. Since the cache hit rate is 98%, the server response time is quicker than other CDN or image management options.
Using a device-aware image CDN, there’s never a worry about images being compressed too much, leaving visitors with poor quality, pixelated photos. With ImageEngine, image quality is balanced with file size in a complex process based on precise input about the user’s device and browser. ImageEngine’s unique feature is device detection (based on WURFL technology), which provides information about the screen size, file format support, device pixel ratio, and much more for each device requesting an image. Because of WURFL device detection, we can feed extremely accurate inputs into the image optimization process, which provides better images to more devices than any other image CDN. ImageEngine automatically selects and uses the most effective next-gen image formats like WebP, JPEG2000, or AVIF.
And all of this happens automatically – with little to no startup coding. All that needs to happen is ImageEngine needs to be provided with the location of the original, high-quality images, and you can be up and running in minutes. This is perfect for a busy real estate broker or listing agency. No maintenance and new images are optimized and served into the page seamlessly, so you don’t have a headache with each new listing.
As you can see, there’s no reason your real estate site must slowly limp along or suffer from poor SEO. Following the simple categorizing tips and utilizing an image CDN like ImageEngine can ensure your page is understood correctly and ranked by search engines. And most importantly, users will see fast, beautiful, optimized versions of your images no matter their device.
Ready to get started optimizing your images for a speedy website full of gorgeous photos of your properties? Just click here to claim your free trial and get the ‘SOLD’ signs ready!