How Image Compression Affects Your SEO
Image compression has become a critical web design factor in the last few years due to the speed at which a page loads, whether it's on a desktop or mobile device. It really became a factor for mobile devices, like tablets and smart phones because load times for web sites become important - nobody likes to stare at a device waiting for content to show up.
We'll talk a little bit about what image compression is, why it's so darned important, and how you can do your own image compression for the pictures on your site.
What Is Image Compression?
Glad you want to know! It's a technical process to reduce an image file so that it takes up less space. This is also done in a way to not degrade the quality of the image when you're viewing it.
Of all the elements on a web page, guess which one is the slowest to load? Yep, images. You want to include relevant ones that support your content for a lot of reasons, so don't sit there and say to yourself fine, I won't use any. That's not helpful for your target audience.
We want to compress images because when they're made, they also come with a lot of redundant data that you and I don't see, and really don't care about, other than it causes our pages to load sloooooow.
How Can I Tell If My Image Compression Is OK?
There are few places on the 'net where you can see for yourself if your pages load slow. First, if you've verified your site in Google Search Console, they'll be more than happy to tell you how fast or slow your pages load.
Down the left hand side, click on Other Resources --->PageSpeed Insights
It'll automatically begin running an analysis of the home page, but you can test any old page you like. Here are partial results for suggested images that could be compressed, and by how much.
So, as you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to save space and reduce page speed load times by compressing images.
If you haven't added and verified your site in Google Search Console, never fear! Google has another service (free!) that you can also use. It looks like this:
Finally, the good folks at Pingdom have a free test service where you not only get the results for determining if your pics need image compression or not, but a whole bunch more comprehensive tests that thoroughly wring out page speed issues across your entire domain.
OK, How Does Image Compression Affect My SEO?
If you haven't already figured this out, it boils down to the page speed load times. Google is moving towards primarily indexing mobile sites over desktop, and the search engine has made it clear that we webmasters need to get up off our butts and work with our web dev people to make sites as fast as possible. One way to review all image sizes, and mark those for compression to speed up site and page load times to make the end user happier.
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Until we meet again, stay safely between the ditches!
All the best to you,
Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Screenshots courtesy of the author