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6 Image Optimization Tips From Google

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6 Image Optimization Tips From Google

In a new video from Google, Developer Advocate Alan Kent shares six tips for optimizing images for ecommerce websites.

While the video is specifically aimed at ecommerce sites, the advice is applicable to any website that serves a large number of images.

Clocking in at over 14-minutes, Google’s video is a lot to digest if you’re busy working on websites.

Here’s a more palatable recap you can consume in under five minutes.

These are Google’s tips for making images load faster and more efficiently.

1. Eliminate Image Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS refers to instances where content on the page visually moves, or shifts, from one place to another as it’s loading.

While this problem isn’t exclusively caused by images, they can contribute to the problem if used incorrectly.

In most cases, CLS is easy to spot by looking for movement on a page during loading, but there are several tools to measure it.

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For more on CLS, how to measure it, and how to fix it, see our comprehensive guide:

2. Correctly Size Your Images

Pick the right width and height for your images, as larger files take longer to download.

Sizing images correctly can be complicated due to the ranges of screen sizes and resolutions that visit your site.

If the browser crops the image on its own, the download size ends up being longer than needed, which only drags things down.

One easy way to detect incorrectly sized images is by using the properly sized images section under Opportunities in the PageSpeed Insights report.

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Once you’ve identified images that are larger than necessary, you can fix the problem with solutions such as responsive images.

3. Use The Best Image File Format

Think about the file format of your images, such as whether to use PNG, JPEG, or webP files.

The file format affects the file size, so choosing right one requires careful consideration.

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There are pros and cons to weigh out for each format. For example, JPEG and webP tend to have lower file sizes, though the smaller size is achieved at the expense of image quality.

However, a degradation of image quality may not be noticeable by shoppers, and the speed benefit could be substantial.

To detect if your site can benefit from using a different image format, look in the serve images in next-gen formats section of the PageSpeed Insights report. This report lists images that can be converted to a more efficient file format.

4. Compress Images Appropriately

Use the right quality factor for your images to encode them efficiently while retaining the desired image quality.

The Encode Images Efficiently section of the PageSpeed Insights report can be used to identify images that are good candidates for compression optimization. The report also shows potential file size savings.

To find a quality factor you’re satisfied with, use your choice of image conversion tool on several images using different quality values and compare the before and after.

Google recommends the site Squoosh.app as an easy way of comparing images with and without compression.

5. Cache Images In The Browser

Tell the browser how long it can safely cache images.

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When you return an image you can return an HTTP response header with caching guidance, such as how long it is recommended for a browser to cache an image for.

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Again, you can use the PageSpeed Insights report to detect if the HTTP response cache headers have been set properly on your site.

The serve static assets with an efficient cache policy section identifies images that may benefit from caching improvements.

To fix issues on your site, see if you have platform or web server settings you can change to adjust the cache lifetime for images on your site.

If you don’t change images frequently, then you can set a long cache lifetime.

6. Correctly Sequence Your Image Downloads

As a more advanced tip, Google recommends correctly sequencing the order webpage resources are downloaded.

The following download order is advised:

  • Hero images at the top of the page
  • Other images above the fold
  • Images just below the fold

The rest of the images on a webpage can be lazy loaded.

To detect if your site is loading images efficiently you can refer to the PageSpeed Insights report. In the defer offscreen images section of the report you’ll see a list of images that could be loaded after other images.

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For more detail on any of the above tips, see the full video from Google below:


Featured Image: Tada Images/Shutterstock

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SEO

How Data Is Reshaping The SEO & Digital Marketer’s Landscape

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How Data Is Reshaping The SEO & Digital Marketer's Landscape

There is a new data revolution happening, and it’s sweeping across the industry so quickly that many SEO and digital marketers are struggling to make sense of the insights and intelligence at their disposal.

To utilize this opportunity, marketers need to evolve their mindsets and use technology to analyze multiple data formats and understand the new opportunities it can bring.

SEO marketers of today and digital marketers of tomorrow will need to extract, structure quickly, and manipulate data to drive the most critical business outcomes.

Data has always been mission-critical to digital decision-making.

The Economist, back in 2017, declared it the world’s most valuable resource.

Fast forward to today and the future, and we can see that the exponential growth of data fuelling this revolution is staggering.

According to the IDC, the amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount of data made since the advent of digital storage.

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Think about that for a second!

Flash drives, for example, were introduced in 2000.

This means that in the next five years, marketers will have to analyze and make sense of 2x the data created in the last 22 years!

The Data Revolution Means More Sources & Complexity For SEO

The data revolution has gone on for some time now, and it’s changed our concept of what counts as “data,” rightfully so.

In the past, we thought only numbers mattered.

But, in this new digital world where everything is converted into ones and zeros, data is broader and contains text, audio, and visual information – all bits waiting to be processed!

  • Machine-based and human-generated data are growing at a rate of 10x faster than conventional business data.
  • Machine-created data is increasing exponentially at a 50x the growth rate. This data revolution is primarily marketing-driven and consumer-oriented who are “always on.”
  • In just the last 18 months, the volume of site processing data we have been generating at BrightEdge has increased by 11x!
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As a result of these increasingly demanding trends, SEO and digital marketers need to adapt and become more like data analysts and scientists in approaching the extraction of structured data insights and business intelligence – without adding more manual work.

Fortunately, SEO is well-positioned to take advantage of this new data revolution.

  • Increasing your keyword universe – More keywords mean more data points to look at with reporting and fuelling insights. While focusing on conversion rate metrics is very important, it wouldn’t be possible without opening the scope of your audience and getting more people in the door. SEO has drifted away from writing for a primary dedicated keyword and is now way more advanced with advancements in search engines like Google’s understanding of intent of searches through RankBrain and BERT.
  • Increasing your search footprint – will also help you discover unexplored of informing your future content strategy or ideate new keyword ideas. However, sometimes you might miss the boat, like the transition of Content Management Systems slowly turning into “Experience Platforms” as they offer more functionality to meet the needs of today’s webmaster or marketer.

Read More On SEJ

Data Is The Currency Of An Accelerated SEO & Digital Age

By 2025, Worldwide data will reach 175 zettabytes.

But unfortunately, the human brain can’t process, structure, and analyze all that data.

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So technology engines have to help, and digital marketers should be the driver.

There is a massive opportunity for companies that can utilize data to create more engaging experiences.

A recent study showed that 95% of business leaders recognize this as their biggest growth lever over the next three years, which means there’s plenty at stake here!

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Robust data analysis ensures decisions are evidence-based and have more accountability.

Drawing on existing and new data sources to fully integrate business acumen and analytical skills into decision making, sourcing, managing, and analyzing large amounts of unstructured data will ensure continued use and success.

SEO began with data and has evolved.

From the introduction of real-time SEO in 2019 and Page Experience Updates in 2021, SEO’s future lies again with data and the creation of intelligent systems. Here marketers can leverage combined data sources that structures data for them.

As a result, they can achieve business objectives and stay ahead during all data and digital transformation stages.

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Technology & AI Are Helping SEO Evolve

Advancements in technology and, in particular, AI and Natural Language Processing has meant that SEO and digital marketers can become data analysts without having to become an actual data scientist.

This is key to unlocking structured insights from your company’s big data to make more precise predictions about what is coming next based on existing information.

Digital marketers can evolve, understand key trends, and learn in new areas such as:

  • Predictive modeling of future trends and forecasting based on multiple types of data.
  • Real-time identification of opportunities and intelligence.
  • Digital research at scale with both historical and real-time data.
  • Leveraging automated visualizations for various stakeholders.
  • Improved data security and compliance.
  • Market and business intelligence at a macro level.
  • Consumer behavior at the most granular level.

SEO and digital marketers can learn critical skills such as statistics, data analysis, data visualization, and strategy.

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AI, NLP, and machine learning are helping them do this without needing expertise in computer programming and software applications.

What digital marketers must do is combine their communication skills and analytics skills with stakeholders who cannot think outside of the advertising box.

Read More On SEJ

Data Analysis & Intelligence As Competitive Advantage

The application of technology will be the driving force behind the next generation of data analysis technology.

Therefore, SEO and digital marketers of today should learn how to better utilize insights from data analysis.

It’s becoming more apparent that the marketing platforms of tomorrow will require the capabilities of data analysis and science infrastructure at their core.

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The future of marketing will blend technological know-how, business sense, and an understanding of data analysis.

The next generation of SEO will touch all components of marketing, from video, email, and voice, to digital performance of content.

SEO and data science will converge into one evolved discipline that drives omnichannel acquisition and democratizes data.

Marketers who embrace this new era of SEO will be well-positioned to succeed in the years to come.

Data is reconfirming its role as the new competitive advantage, and as SEO and digital marketers, you must evolve if you want to be part of the future.

More resources:


Featured Image: ra2 studio/Shutterstock

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