Complete Guide to Image SEO for Shopify Stores (2024)

Want to get your products discovered faster? It’s time to optimize your Shopify store images to get discovered on the search engine.

July 28, 2023 | 7 MINUTES

Attention Shopify store owners! Are you ready to give your online business a powerful boost? Look no further, because we have the ultimate guide to unlock the full potential of image SEO for Shopify.

In this blog, we will delve deep into the realm of image SEO specifically tailored for Shopify stores.

From optimizing file sizes to creating separate sitemaps, we've got you covered.

Get ready to take your store's search engine rankings to new heights and captivate customers with visually stunning content.

What is Image SEO?

Image SEO, or image search engine optimization, refers to the practice of optimizing better quality images on a website to make them more visible and discoverable in search engine results.

Optimizing images using relevant keywords, descriptive file names, and appropriate tags and alt text can help search engines understand what the image is about and how it relates to the content on a webpage. This improves the chances of the image appearing in relevant search engine results, driving more traffic to the website and improving its overall search engine ranking.

Additionally, optimizing images can make web pages more accessible and user-friendly for people with disabilities who use assistive technologies like screen readers.

Why is Image SEO for Shopify Important?

Image SEO is essential for several reasons -

  • Enhanced User Experience: Optimized images improve the user experience on your Shopify store. By ensuring that images load quickly and have descriptive alt text, you provide a seamless browsing experience for visitors. This leads to increased engagement, longer page durations, and a higher likelihood of conversions.
  • Improved Search Engine Rankings: Properly optimized images can positively impact your store's search engine rankings. Search engines consider various factors when determining rankings, including image relevancy, alt text, file names, and page load speed. When you optimize your images, you increase the chances of appearing higher in search engine results, driving more organic traffic to your Shopify store.
  • Increased Visibility in Image Searches: Optimizing your Shopify store's images helps them appear in image search results. Images that are relevant to user queries and have appropriate metadata (such as alt text) have a higher chance of being discovered by users searching for related visual content. This can significantly increase your store's visibility and attract new potential customers.
  • Better Social Media Sharing: Optimized images are more attractive and shareable on social media platforms. When users share your visually appealing and well-optimized product images, it can generate more engagement and drive traffic back to your Shopify store. This can result in more brand exposure, potential customer acquisition, and ultimately, increased sales.
  • Accessible Website for All Users: Image SEO helps make your Shopify store more accessible to users with disabilities. By providing descriptive alt text, visually impaired individuals using screen readers can understand the content and context of the images. Accessibility is not only an ethical concern but can also be beneficial for your store's reputation and customer loyalty.
  • Differentiation from Competitors: Implementing image SEO practices sets your Shopify store apart from competitors who may neglect this aspect. By optimizing SEO images in Shopify, you showcase your products in the best possible light, making them more appealing to potential customers. This differentiation can lead to competitive advantage and increased conversion rates.

How to Prepare Images for Shopify Image SEO?

Similar to how you need to strategize for Shopify SEO, you need to approach optimizing images methodically too. Here’s what you need to do to get things started for image SEO:

1. Choose the right file name

Are you currently using generic image file names like IMG_345763873172.JPEG for your Shopify store's images? If so, you need to adopt proper image titles to optimize your Shopify store effectively.

Why is this important? Well, Google considers image titles when determining the keywords that your page should rank for in search results. By optimizing your image titles, you can enhance your chances of ranking higher and attracting more organic traffic to your store.

Choosing the right file name is a critical step in preparing images for Shopify Image SEO. Here are some key points to consider when selecting file names for your product images:

  • Incorporate relevant keywords into your file name, but avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Ensure that your file names are easy to read and understand. Use hyphens or underscores to separate words and make the file name more readable for both search engines and human users. Avoid using special characters, symbols, or spaces that can cause issues with file compatibility or make the URL and image link difficult to share or access.
  • Maintain consistency in your file naming conventions across your Shopify store. This helps search engines understand the relationship between images and their associated products or categories. Consistency also aids in organizing your image files and makes it easier for you to manage and update them as needed.
  • Each image should have a unique file name to avoid confusion and potential duplication issues.

2. Choose the right image format

Choosing the right image format can affect not only the appearance of the image but also the speed of your website and its search engine optimization. The most commonly used image formats are JPEG, PNG, and GIF, and each has its own unique benefits and uses.

  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is best suited for images that include many different colors or gradients. They are compressed copies of the original which may result in some information loss. However, the compression algorithm used keeps the image size relatively small, meaning it is ideal for large images, including product photos.
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is preferred for e-commerce stores as it is one of the highest-resolution image formats available. It is also perfect for images where transparency is required, such as logos or graphics. Unlike JPEG, PNG is lossless, which means the image quality won't degrade when compressed.
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is most suitable for animated images since it supports up to 256 colors. In e-commerce, GIFs can be used to create more engaging product images or display a 360-degree view of an item. However, while GIF images can add a dynamic element to your Shopify store, they tend to have lower quality compared to other image formats. We suggest avoiding GIFs unless they are necessary because this can impact the visuals and the overall user experience on your website.

Before choosing an image format, consider the intended use of the image, including its resolution and the colors involved. Once you have determined the purpose, choose an appropriate image format that aligns with your goals. By choosing the right image format, you can enhance the quality of your images, improve the speed of your website, and drive more traffic to your online store.

3. Reduce the image file size

Reducing the image file size is critical to improve the speed of your website and ensure that it loads quickly for your visitors. Large image files can significantly slow down your website, causing potential customers to leave before the page fully loads. To prepare images for Shopify Image SEO, it's crucial to optimize your images by compressing their file size without losing quality.

For optimal performance, aim for a file size below 70 kb. If you have larger files, around 300 kb, the best you can achieve is a file size of around 100 kb.

Manual image size optimization

If you prefer a hands-on approach, you can manually reduce image file sizes using programs like Photoshop. This involves adjusting image dimensions or reducing the number of pixels. Additionally, there are tools available to help refine the image quality and prevent pixelation. For more details and guidance on reducing image size in Photoshop, you can refer to their official documentation here.

Automatic image size optimization

To streamline the process, consider using image compression tools developed specifically for Shopify. These tools adhere to Shopify's best practices for image quality and file type. By installing a chosen compression tool, it will automatically optimize your images before uploading them to your Shopify page.

You can use a powerful and user-friendly app like SEOKart, the all-in-one Shopify SEO app. Check it out here.

4. Write alt attributes

The importance of writing ALT text for Shopify image SEO cannot be overstated. It serves as a textual description of an image, allowing search engines to understand the content of the image and index it appropriately. ALT text also plays a vital role in providing accessibility to visually impaired users who rely on screen readers.

To write effective ALT text, follow these essential tips:

  • Use descriptive keywords that accurately describe the image.
  • Keep your ALT text concise while still providing valuable information. Aim for a brief but meaningful description that captures the essence of the image.
  • While it's essential to include relevant keywords, be mindful of not overdoing it. Keyword stuffing is frowned upon by search engines and can result in penalties.
  • Provide specific details in your ALT text instead of using generic phrases. For example, instead of using "red dress" as ALT text, you can use "vibrant red summer dress for women."
  • Take into account the context in which the image appears on your Shopify store. If the image is part of a product listing, include models or SKUs.

5. Use responsive images

No matter what products or services your store offers, a significant portion of your potential customers are likely to browse your website using mobile devices. Given Google's mobile-first approach to search indexing, it's essential to provide a seamless user experience across all devices, including smartphones and tablets. To achieve this, serving responsive images has become an indispensable part of Shopify image SEO.

Fortunately, ensuring your images automatically adjust to the size of the screen is relatively easy. By using a modern and responsive Shopify theme, you can rely on it to take care of the job for you. These themes come equipped with built-in features that dynamically generate blocks of HTML, instructing browsers to load specific image sizes based on the user's device. This optimization greatly improves page loading speed, user experience, and overall image SEO, ultimately helping your store rank better in search engine results.

Pro tip: Create image sitemaps

If your website features many carousels, image pop-ups, or galleries, it's important to address the issue of Google potentially missing these images. While these elements greatly enhance the customer experience, they may not be effectively crawled and indexed by search engines like Google.

To overcome this challenge, creating a separate sitemap specifically dedicated to your images is a highly effective solution. Sitemaps provide search engines with a comprehensive overview of the content on your site, ensuring that every part of your website is crawled and indexed. By creating a separate sitemap specifically for your images, you maximize their visibility and ensure that they contribute to your overall SEO efforts.

To accomplish this, refer to Google's guide on creating a specialized sitemap for your images.

This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to create an optimized sitemap that specifically highlights and prioritizes your images. It's crucial that you include descriptive tags in the HTML of your images to provide search engines with the necessary context and information.

By following this approach, you can ensure that your images are not overlooked by search engines and that they play an active role in improving your site's visibility and SEO performance.

Bonus: Optimize your Shopify store page speed

Talking about image SEO without touching upon page speed optimization feels incomplete. When you optimize your images for the search engine, you also help with optimizing your page speed, which further impacts the experience you offer to online shoppers.

But that’s not all!

With Google confirming that page speed optimization is a ranking factor, focusing on image SEO becomes all the more important - especially if you’re targeting a mobile-first target audience.

At SEOKart, we have experienced and measured the impact of image SEO and page speed optimization on how much traffic a Shopify store is able to drive in organically. And that’s why we want to help you succeed.

While our Shopify SEO app takes care of optimizing your images, we additionally offer Shopify page speed optimization services. Our Shopify experts work on your store one-on-one to ensure all your site elements are up to the benchmark set by the search engines.

Reach out to us to know more.

Wrapping up!

In conclusion, while many people tend to focus on optimizing the text content on their website pages, they often overlook the importance of image SEO.

By following the tips and techniques outlined in this complete guide, you can take advantage of the untapped opportunities that optimized images can offer for e-commerce businesses.

From enhancing visibility in search engine results to improving the user experience and driving organic traffic, image SEO is a vital strategy for success on Shopify. So, start optimizing your Shopify store's images today and see the benefits for yourself.

For help with all your SEO needs, including image optimization, be sure to check out SEOKart.

Unleash your store's full potential with SEOKart; the only Shopify SEO app you need to tap into the opportunity to rank your images and drive more organic traffic to your store.

Install SEOKart to get started.


What is the best image size for SEO?

For optimal performance, aim for a file size below 70 kb. If you have larger files, around 300 kb, the best you can achieve is a file size of around 100 kb.

Does Shopify optimize images?

No, you need a powerful and user-friendly app like SEOKart, the all-in-one Shopify SEO app. Check it out here.