Google loves websites that load fast. So much so, in fact, that it developed a free tool for website owners which not only tests how quickly your website loads, but also tells you the things Google thinks is slowing it down. High up on that list of things that slow down websites are images. This makes SEO for images a key priority for Auckland businesses.
In particular, it’s important you reduce the file size of your images to make them load as quickly as possible. An SEO consultant in Auckland can help you with this, plus there are plugins you can use. It’s important, however, to understand the fundamentals.
Use the Right Image Format
Let’s start with the image format you choose. The most common are JPEG, PNG, and GIF:
- GIF – use this for animated images
- PNG – use this image format if you need the image to have a high resolution. Usually, however, this is not required as web-quality images are sufficient
- JPEG – in most situations, JPEG is the best format of image to use
Resize Your Image
The next step is to resize your image as most photos you take on a camera or with a phone have a resolution that is much higher than you need for a website. An image taken on your phone, for example, could have a resolution of 4032×3024 pixels. With this resolution, the file could be over 5MB.
What does 4032×3024 pixels mean, though? In simple terms, it means it is possible to display this image in full on a screen that measures 4,032 pixels across and 3,024 pixels down.
This is far bigger than a normal computer screen, however, and it’s considerably bigger than the physical size a phone can display. The display on most laptop screens, as an example, is more in the region of 1,024 or 1,200 pixels across.
Therefore, when you put an image that is this sort of size on your website, your site must dynamically resize the image, so it fits on the user’s screen. However, the full-size image (i.e. all 5+ MB) must still download to the user’s browser. In other words, they must download the big file but only see it in a lower resolution.
Also Read: How Social Media Helps SEO
Reducing the physical size of your image will have no impact on how it looks on the screens of those visiting your website. It will, however, further reduce the file size which will make the image download faster. In the example above, you can reduce the resolution to something like 1000×750 pixels which will probably reduce the file size to less than 1MB.
Optimise Image Quality
The final step is to optimise – or reduce – the quality of the image. You can normally do this without impacting the way the image displays on your website.
For example, you can achieve this by reducing the number of pixels in the image. So, instead of having 100 percent of the pixels, you could reduce this to 80 percent without any noticeable impact on the way the image displays on your website.
The Importance of SEO for Images
The above steps are an often-overlooked part of SEO, but they are crucial to page load speed. This means they are crucial to your overall SEO efforts too.