I spend a lot of time auditing websites that have not been performing as expected on search engines and a common issue I come across in almost every audit is image optimisation or lack of it really. I also get asked this question a lot by web designers and web owners alike “why is optimising images for web important”?
There are several reasons why and some can get quite technical but to highlight a key few:
Optimised Images Are Better for Your Visitors
We’ve all been on that website of white screen doom, where the image slowly (painfully) reveals itself after taking 12 seconds to load. If you waited those 12 seconds, then you’re in the minority! It’s a well-known fact that people will not wait for websites to load, if your website takes any more than 5 seconds then you could be losing vast amounts of traffic.
In an ideal world, you should be aiming for 2 second load time.
Carrying out tasks like reducing your image file size, changing the image dpi from 300dpi to 72dpi or 91dpi and potentially using a content delivery network (CDN) as a service could dramatically improve your user experience and your bottom line.
Optimised Images Are Better for Search Engines
Image recognition from the likes of Google is coming on leaps and bounds but you still need to tell search engines what your image is by using the ‘alt tag’ placed alongside your image location code (URL).
For example, if we have an image of a dog then we will need to add the tag alt=" picture of a dog" to the image in order to let Google know that this is a picture of a dog. This helps search engines build a better picture of what your page is about not only from the text but from the images too – Good SEO!
Optimised Images are Better for You
I mentioned the bottom line previously, but I really want to emphasise how important this can be to your bottom line. For example, imagine that you attract 1000 visitors to your website a day and you make a sale or obtain a lead for every 100 visitors to your website which is worth £100.
Now imagine that your website takes over 5 seconds to load so out of those 1000 only 10% stay – the rest leave quickly. Only 100 people patiently await your site to load and so you only get 1 sale/lead and £100 revenue. Now let’s say you optimise images and your site loads in 3 seconds and 80% stay. That’s 8 sales/ leads and revenue of £800!
So that’s it from me, next time you’re wondering why is Optimising images for web important? Think about the times you have gone to a slow loading website and what your action was?
It is also important to understand that it is not just images that affect site load time (although they are normally the main culprit) your website code may have something to do with it too. If you are concerned or just curious about how fast your site loads and how it can be improved I would recommend having a website audit.