All good content on websites across the internet include images to bring a visual aspect to the reader. It also makes the page more visually appealing. The irony is the way you use the images can actually hurt your website's performance both in speed and SEO rankings. Let's explore why.
Google has brought a lot of emphasis to how important it is for your website to load quickly, especially considering roughly 80% of users are accessing websites through their phones or mobile devices.
This means your website should be lightweight and ideally load fully in under 2 seconds. Otherwise you will be penalized and your ranking in search results will suffer.
Unsure of your website speed? Here are a couple of resources to use for a full breakdown of your site's load performance.
Google Page Speed Insights gives an excellent breakdown on what is impacting your load speed. It gives you a rating for how fast your site loads on mobile devices and on desktops.
The mobile speed score is more important to focus on because your Google rankings will suffer if your website is not optimized for mobile devices in both responsiveness and speed.
GT Metrix is another great resource that not only tells you what is impacting your speed but it also gives optimization suggestions to resolve the areas that are hurting your website performance.
The only downside is GT Metrix doesn't tell you how your website performs on mobile devices. However, if you create a free account, it allows you to monitor your website speed as time passes so you know if you need to make changes to improve performance.
There are a lot of different factors that can impact the speed of your website, however, one of the easiest factors to control are the images you use.
A lot of people make the mistake of using very large images that are super high quality because they look great on the page or provide context to the section of the article. The issue is an image this large in size adds a lot of weight to the network which slows down the load time of the page, especially if you have several images on the page.
There are a lot of free image compressor tools online you can use to quickly reduce the size of your pictures without compromising quality.
Here is a description directly from their website: TinyPNG uses smart lossy compression techniques to reduce the file size of your WEBP, JPEG and PNG files. By selectively decreasing the number of colors in the image, fewer bytes are required to store the data. The effect is nearly invisible but it makes a very large difference in file size!
Check them out at https://tinypng.com/
Here is a description directly from their website: Get the smallest image file size without compromising quality or changing your workflow. You can upload Hi-Res photos faster, save tons of hard drive space, improve customer viewing experience and make your website faster.
Check them out at: https://www.jpegmini.com/
This app is my personal favorite as it allows you to quickly upload images and resize as needed. Even without changing the image dimensions, squoosh instantly reduces the size of the image without compromising quality. Squoosh also allows you to easily save the format of your image as a PNG or JPEG.
Check them out at: https://squoosh.app
When optimizing for SEO, people often overlook image file names as a candidate for keywords. When Google crawls your website it will also pick up on image file names which you can work to your advantage in ranking for targeted keywords.
Alt text is a type of markup that describes the appearance and function of an Image in an HTML page. There are two main reasons why alt text is an important factor to your on-page SEO.
Alt text is a tenet of web design that aims to describe images that are difficult to see due to screen readers or browsers. It is also used to enable users with visual impairment to appreciate the content of your site.
Although it may make your site more user-friendly, it can also contribute to image SEO. Aside from improving the user experience, implementing alt text also helps improve the search engine rankings of your site.
Since image recognition technology has improved significantly, it's still not possible for search crawlers to see the full text of a website page. If they get it wrong, they might end up missing out on potential rankings.
When optimizing your website or when you are adding new images to your website, be sure to take the steps listed in the post to ensure positive results. Send us a message if you need help with SEO or web design.
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