SEO for Animated GIFs – Practical Ecommerce


An animated GIF is a graphic with several images that loop one after the other, creating movement. The format is popular for social media memes, but GIFs also appear on shopping web pages to provide instructions or showcase a product.

Why animated GIFs?

  • Animated GIFs provide unique content to a page, useful for search engine optimization.
  • Animated GIFs quickly convey simple information and engage users with instructions or explanations that might otherwise bore them. For example, on Shopify Animated GIFs can show different angles of a product, including a 360 degree view.
  • Clicking (or tapping) on ​​a GIF sends a user to a linked page, like in a sales funnel. Clicking on a video only pauses it.
  • Creating animated GIFs is easy with a number of free online tools, such as EZGif. It can convert any video, with settings to select frames, loop them and adjust their speed.

The image on the left is an animated GIF. It appears on Memobottle, a reusable bottle seller powered by Shopify.

SEO for animated GIFs

Optimizing an animated GIF for organic search rankings is more or less the same as an image. Google can understand the meaning of many images. But adding text is still useful for sending relevant signals.

  • Start with an image file. Include alt text and an image title, as search engine crawlers read both fields. Choose keywords carefully.
  • An image title isn’t required but doesn’t hurt, and titles display on mouseover (as tooltip text) in most desktop browsers. So a headline could be a call to action, such as “Learn more about this product.”
  • Include an image caption, as it provides human-readable text.

The biggest hurdle with animated GIFs is large file sizes, which slows down a page. Compressor is a free tool to minify GIF files, making them much smaller.

However, only use one animated GIF per page, even if it is compressed. Also keep in mind that there is no way to pause or play a GIF, which makes it difficult for visually impaired users on screen readers. Therefore, accompany an instructional GIF with a video for this reason.

to sum up

Advantages of use.

  • Animated GIF. A quick way to provide instructions and present a product.
  • Static picture. Visualize lots of data, eye-catching and easy to read.
  • Video. Useful for longer tutorials and how-tos.

Benefits of SEO.

  • Animated GIF. Adds relevant content to a page and engages users.
  • Static image. Adds relevant content to a page and engages users.
  • Video. Engages users.

Usability barriers.

  • Animated GIF. Inaccessible to the visually impaired and other users. Difficult for some to follow.
  • Static image. Inaccessible to visually impaired users without alt text.
  • Video. Inaccessible to visually impaired users unless commented.

SEO barriers.

  • Animated GIF. Can slow down a page unless the GIF is compressed.
  • Static image. Can slow down a page unless the image is compressed.
  • Video. Embedded third-party videos can slow down a page.

SEO tactics.

  • Animated GIF. Use descriptive alt text with keywords. Compress the GIF to load it faster.
  • Static image. Use descriptive alt text and filenames – with keywords. Compress the image to load it faster.
  • Video. Use lazy loading for embedded videos for faster page loads.

In short, animated GIFs allow you to diversify your content, provided you don’t overdo it.


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