7 Easy-to-Follow Steps to Optimize Your Shopify Product Images

Rob Elgar - Writer for Egnition
By Rob Elgar
Head and shoulders photo of Michelle Meyer
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Updated July 24, 2023.

A man seated at his desk with his face in his palm, with a laptop and camera in front of him.

Images are essential to an online store, but when they aren't correctly optimized, they can negatively impact your Shopify store by slowing down your website speed. The world is a visual place, and without high-quality product images that don't affect your site speed, you will find it nearly impossible to make sales, regardless of whether your customer is viewing your store via mobile or desktop.

To optimize your product images in Shopify, you will need to go through a multi-step process involving various elements and changes.

1. Prioritize Product Photography

Unique content is easier to create and is favored by search engines such as Google, so it's important to take as many high-quality product images as possible.

When taking pictures of your products, consider your camera angle, background, and lighting.

Finally, consider the dimensions of the image. Images with larger dimensions take longer to load and slow down your site. Visitors will be viewing your store on different-sized screens, so ensure that your product images are responsive.

2. Use the Correct File Type

The file type of your images will have an impact on your store's performance and appearance. By using the correct image file type, you can:

  • Ensure your images hold all their intended color and detail.
  • Ensure your images aren't stretched or pixilated.
  • Reduce webpage load speed.

Two of the most commonly used image file formats are JPEG and PNG.

  1. JPEG: This is easily the most used image format, as it has the smallest file size and best picture quality. JPEGs also hold their quality and detail better when compressed.
  2. PNG: PNGs can also be used for store images, although their file size is larger, and they lose quality when compressed. PNGs are great for transparent backgrounds or small images with great detail.

3. Name Images Appropriately

Every image that you take with your camera will have a default name provided for it. Although it's possible to upload the image as is, to boost your SEO, you'll want to give your image file an appropriate name.

Your image name should be keyword-rich and descriptive. Take the following product as an example:

Product name example

Your camera may produce a default generic name such as "DCMIMAGE10.jpg"; however, this is far from ideal.

Instead, consider renaming the file to something SEO-friendly and descriptive, such as "2022-Crocodile-Leather-Men-Shoe.jpeg".

4. Resize & Compress Images

As Google uses page load speed as a ranking factor—and most visitors won't wait more than a few seconds for a page to load—it's essential to keep your images as small as possible.

Shopify automatically compresses images, but it's good practice to compress them beforehand. There are two ways you can do this:

  • Manual Compression: It's possible to reduce the image data using image editing software such as Photoshop. However, this takes both time and know-how.
  • Automatic Compression: There's an abundance of image compression software on the web that can be used for free. It's best to use an app that has been developed for Shopify to ensure the best results.

» Not sure how to resize an image? Easily resize an image for your Shopify store

5. Write Descriptive Alt Attributes

Alt attributes are used to describe an image when it hasn't loaded or if the page is being visited by the visually impaired. Google also uses alt attributes to understand what an image is about.

Alt Title

Also known as the title text, an image's alt title is the text that a user sees after hovering over the image. This is mainly used to describe something that's unclear in an image.

Alt Text

Alt text is used to describe an image to those who can't see it and to search engines. Your image alt text should therefore be descriptive yet brief (approximately 125 characters), include keywords, but not be keyword-stuffed.

» How do you add alt text to images? Follow these steps

6. Create Image Sitemaps

Web crawlers can't crawl images that aren't called out in the source code. This means that without image sitemaps, search engines won't discover your pictures.

To add a sitemap, simply insert the following into your robots.txt file:


Alternatively, submit it to the Google Search Console.

7. Test Your Images

It's important to find a balance between the elements on a webpage. Optimizing extensively for page speed could hurt conversions. Alternatively, creating a page with only visual appeal could leave you lost in the search results. Consider what your goals are, and continue to test for improvements in the following:

  • SERP results
  • Conversions
  • Page load speed

Ready to Optimize?

It's an extensive process to optimize Shopify store images and can be extremely time-consuming. Using an app to streamline the process is the suggested route.

There are various Shopify apps that address each step, but an app such as the All-In-One-Image Master from Egnition will cover almost all of the above steps—from compressing and optimizing, editing, removing backgrounds, resizing, and creating automatic alt texts to approving previews. Save yourself time and effort with this all-in-one solution.

All-In-One Image Master

» Learn more about this third-party app in the following All-In-One Image Master review

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