I’ve had a lot of questions recently on this from my blog friends and thought it was about time that I put together a post on the ways which images can help your site perform it’s best on Google. I get quite a few views on my blog via Google Images, but not only that but your images can also help the way that your page gets ranked in Google.
There are lots of things which effect image size in the first place, I won’t go into too much detail with this, but more colours in an image are more likely to increase the size of your image, the code of your image is saving more colour information in the file, where as a solid block of colour in a background is likely to mean that the file starts life a lot smaller because it’s not having to write a change in colour more frequently. (That university degree wasn’t useless after all!).
There’s three simple steps you should do every time you upload images to a post.
This one should go without saying, but it’s all to often that I see bloggers not doing this, I don’t often tell people about this because if they’d have spent 2 minutes having a read for themselves, and trying to understand things then they would have realised that they should be doing this.
Always rename your images before you consider uploading them, having an image named IMG6018.jpg is not going to let Google know that this image relates to a particular topic very well, this will not only help your image be picked up in Google Image Search Results, but it will also add to the overall chances of your the post you’ve spent time writing ranking better as well.
So as a couple of examples if I was reviewing a MAC Lipstick I would consider the following options and tend to try and use a combination of them all across the post:
If I was reviewing a foundation I might go even further with keywords, being more niche rather than more general can sometimes be a help, you may end up competing with less posts and images in results:
If you blog on your phone, take pictures on your phone you’ll be missing the opportunity to rename those images before they go up and highly recommend you use a computer to do this.
Take the image above, I shot it as a JPG and it started life on my camera with a file size of 6.4mb with dimensions of 4608 × 3456, that’s way too big for most instances on the web, and I tend to resize mine down to 1200 x 900 (personal preference for me is a 4:3 ratio, but what ever you prefer is fine), this is slightly bigger than what my blog displays it as, but good size if I ever want to grab it for Instagram. Instantly resizing to a better dimension is going to save you some serious mb. I tend to use Photoshop and/or Lightroom to edit my photos, both of these automatically squish out some of the unneeded information and make your images a lot smaller when I resize.
That 6.4mb image is now 95.1kb – that’s 1.48% of the original file size.
A huge impact on Google’s results going forward is page speed, it’s going to be increasingly important to make sure you’re getting your site to load as quickly as you possibly can. Google now take a mobile first approach to it’s rankings – meaning whilst your site may load fantastically quick with a wifi connection, if your site is slow and clunky with a 3G/4G connection that’s likely to make a big difference to what you see. Resizing images is the easiest way to improve that.
One final step is I run it through an image optimiser. Image Optimisers squish all that extra information out that is definitely 100% not needed and you shouldn’t notice a dip in quality. Because I’ve already resized it I might only save another 5-15% on the file size but every bit you squish out the better, especially if you have 10 photos in a post, I can often end up saving the space of a whole image in total.
The image above was then compressed using ImageOptim for MAC, if you’ve got 20 images you just drag and drop them into the program it whizzes through and compresses them all with no effort (There are tools for Windows as well as ones you can upload via websites, but that tends to be on a one by one basis).
After I’ve compressed the MAC lipstick image for the final time, it doesn’t save me a lot in this case, but it took my file size down by 3.3% meaning in total I was at 90.1kb and 1.4% of the files original file size. If you don’t resize your images you’re likely to see a big saving by compressing as an example I ran through the original large version of that image and it saved me 1.3mb.
If I don’t have to do any Photoshop editing and just need to use Lightroom it tends to have a lot more file “weight” that can be saved from it, I have a review of the Urban Decay Shapeshifter Palette that went up yesterday and this was the savings made after they’d been colour corrected and cropped in Lightroom. It might seem sensible if you’re using many programs to do it between each step, but there’s little point always do this as your last step pre-upload.
Whilst this seems like a lot of effort, I promise that it’s worth the extra few minutes. It takes me usually around an hour per post on average to edit, name, resize & compress my images however 95% of that time is the editing. The naming, resizing and compressing takes minutes and is a simple trick which is worth the effort.
I hope that helps give you some tips! If there’s any more blog tips you’re interested in, please let me know. I’ve previously done a ‘How I Take My Blog Photos‘ post which may be helpful, and I’ve been thinking of doing a post on Adobe Lightroom and why I think it’s the best tool for editing blog photos, let me know if you’re interested in that post.