One of the factors that Google uses when it determines it search engine rankings is the time taken for a page to load.
Nowadays when content is king and the user experience and engagement is all-important to reduce bounce rate and increase the length of time your visitors remain on your site (both important factors used by Google’s ranking engine), it is tempting to add lots of images to your pages.
This is all well and good but of course the more images you add the bigger your page gets and the slower it loads. It is therefore vitally important that you optimize your images.
There are a number of factors to take into consideration:
Firstly, make sure your images aren’t larger than they need to be. There’s no point having an extremely large image and then resizing it on your page using HTML’s width and height attributes as this doesn’t change the actual file size. Instead use an image editing tool to resize it and create a smaller version. You don’t have to buy any expensive image editing software – you can even use Microsoft Paint for this.
Secondly, you can reduce the quality of your image. This sounds quite drastic but most jpeg images can have their quality reduced by up to 40 percent without there being any noticeable difference in image clarity. You have to strike a balance here – the more you reduce the quality, the smaller the file size. But you don’t want to reduce the quality so much that it affects the user experience.
Here at Blackburn Art Space we kill two birds with one stone and use this WebResizer to both reduce image size (by using the cropping tool) and also reduce the file size (by reducing the image quality).
Aside from the image size and quality factors, there are a couple more considerations from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective when it comes to optimizing images:
Name your image files meaningfully and include keywords in the file names.
Also add keywords to your ALT tags, but don’t overdo this and keyword-stuff them. The ALT tag should still make contextual sense. Also, don’t put keywords in the ALT tags of purely decorational images.