Image Optimization for Website Performance

With the increasing growth of people's access to the internet through handheld devices, it's no secret that they want their content to be easy to find and fast loading. To meet the needs of your online consumers you will want to improve load time and SEO with image optimization.

Here are three common image optimization questions clients ask us:

  • Does image optimization impact our website’s overall site speed performance?

Yes, 100%.

  • Why would we optimize images on our website?

To improve site performance in relation to SEO best practices and browser loading time.

  • How do we optimize images on our website for optimal performance?

By implementing image optimization recommendations provided by Google.

The purpose of image optimization is to lower the bytes the browser has to download to render content for the user. The fewer bytes, the faster the browser can render content to the user, which results in faster load times. To learn more about how it works Google provides documentation through its popular PageSpeed Insights tool detailing image optimization. Another useful tool we like to use for testing mobile page speed is Testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com.

Here’s an overview of what you will want to know regarding image optimization.

Image Compression:

Image compression can be tricky because users want the best of both worlds fast loading content and also high-quality imagery. The goal is to find that medium where images are optimized to increase browser load time, while also providing image quality supports a good user experience.

Large file photos with high resolution will always render slow load times. For some portfolio or image-based sites, load time may not be a point of contention and therefore slower load times is a non-issue.

However, if load time is an important factor in the overall performance of your website you will want to keep your image size below 70kb. For users accessing your website from a handheld device, the need for file sizes above 70kb is not necessary. The faster the browser can load your web pages, the better the user experience will for consumers accessing your site content.  

Image File — JPEG, GIF, PNG:

JPEG, GIF, and PNG are the most common image file types used on the web. What you want to consider when selecting a file type is what file format will provide the fastest load time. GIF and PNG file types are typically larger files, meaning that the reduction on their size while keeping the quality intact is nearly unobtainable. Google recommends to always convert GIF to PNG unless the original is animated or tiny (less than a few hundred bytes). JPEG file type will render the best quality after image reduction. Each file type has its place in the world wide web and the reason for file type selection is purely dependent upon the digital requirement.

With regard to SEO best practices adding descriptive, keyword-rich file names to your images is also a crucial step for image optimization. Search engines not only crawl the text on your webpage, but they also search for keywords within your image file names.

Here are key components of image optimization for SEO best practices.

Image alt tags and alt description:

Both are handy in support of your SEO. You will want tags that directly link and describe what is in the photo. For example, you would use keywords like “succulent” “clay” “handmade” “pot” for an image of your handmade clay pots for succulents. Now the description is what would appear if you were to hover over the image as well as the text that would show on the off chance that site was having an inability to load the images. You’ll want your description to be more detailed than your tag, Example: Terracotta clay pot with traditional Aztec designs made for small succulent plants.

Image searching:

When you are formatting your images, you’ll want to give your photo a descriptive title, so go ahead and delete that stock generated file name and create something clear and concise – add keywords relevant to the context of the photo. The purpose is to increase SEO visibility of your content through image-based searches.

Image optimization will improve user experience, load time and overall SEO performance. From the generation of tags and descriptions to the reduction of file size and strategic photo placement, these are quick and easy developments that will help improve site performance.

If you want to know more about image optimization our SEO services please send us an email at this address: winhearts@harlointeractive.com

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