How Images Can Really Kilo-Bite: SEO and Image File Sizes

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Everybody loves visually stunning graphics and photos on their websites. But did you know that underneath the shiny veneer of these beautiful graphics and photos lay the dreaded kilobyte? Yes, that’s right folks. Every photo and graphic you use on your website can affect the ranking of your site. This dreaded kilobyte I was speaking of is basically the file size of your image. The higher the file-size, the longer your page will take to load. The longer your page takes to load, the lower it could rank in search engines.

Luckily, there are several ways we can reduce the file size of your photos and graphics and how to double check them to see how fast your page is loading. A quick way to see if you have large image files bogging down your site is to use Google’s Page Speed Insights. It will give you a detailed overview of your site load time and if an image or photo’s file size is too large. From here, you can pinpoint which images need to be optimized.

The first thing to figure out is what dimensions you want the image to be. You want this to be accurate to fit the column or div in which the image will be held in. Having the dimensions larger will ultimately make the file size larger than it needs to be, slowing down the page load time. Having the dimensions smaller than what you need will result in pixelation and degrade the image quality.

The second thing to consider is the compression and file type of your image. Typically you’ll want to use jpg and png, the latter being used if transparency is present. You can adjust the compression of your image in popular graphics programs such as Photoshop, or even use an online compressor such as https://compressor.io. You’ll have to pay attention though, as you compress the image more, the quality will decrease, that’s why it’s ideal to find a happy medium between quality and compression.

Once you have optimized your images, run Page Speed Insights again and you’ll notice that your web page got a healthy bump in page speed ranking. In conclusion, it’s best to optimize these images before they are even put into the initial build of the site. And remember that the file size (kilobytes) can really take a bite out of your page speed and ultimately drop the ranking of your site.