With the entry of Core Web Vitals as an SEO positioning factor for the summer of 2021, users and webmasters are concerned about the loading speed of their web pages. In this sense, one of the most common problems affecting page load times, and also the easiest to solve, is the weight of images.
Images are usually the main performance problem of web pages, so they can be improved so that they do not affect loading times or SEO.
To find out if there are problems with loading images, it is possible to use PageSpeed Insights, where all the problems of loading and speed of the pages will appear. If problems are found with images there are several quick and easy solutions, for example, activate the delayed loading of images, retouch the image so that it has the correct size and specify the content manager what size it should have, something that can be solved from the manager itself (especially if it is WordPress) or by installing plugins.
On the other hand, the most common practice is to use image processing programs or compressors such as TinyPNG, which reduce the “weight” of the images. However, many times images suffer a loss of quality and look pixelated or too small in size.
This can end up being a problem for the SEO of the page, since it would affect the indexation of the image in Google Images. In this sense, you should be careful and never lower the quality of the image below 75%. In case the image is very heavy, the ideal would be to look for another one that can be compressed without losing quality.
Another slightly more complicated solution is to use more modern image and video formats, such as “responsive images”, which automatically adapt to the size of the screen.
Some users who have never worried about the weight of images may suddenly do so by changing the images of their content to smaller images or images that have been treated to make them lighter. This causes the image to not have the same URL, either because the file name or its ending has been changed, so if a user reaches it through Google Images, 404 errors could appear. In this sense, if the image is changed, a redirect will have to be performed, in the same way as when the URL of an entry is changed.
In some cases, it may not be necessary to make major changes to the images. Especially if the website receives little traffic from Google Images. To find out how much traffic you are getting from this channel, you can go to Google Search Console and in the “Performance” report create a filter for “search type: images”. If the search volume is very low, it will not be necessary to redirect the image URL.
For those users who want more information, below is a thread created by John Mueller, Google’s SEO expert, in which he expands on the SEO management of images:
PSA: If you change your image URLs, and you care about Image Search, remember to redirect them. While tweaking my site, I noticed PSI suggesting to change some of my image formats, and realized it's worth mentioning this again. pic.twitter.com/gDHAqJB6eC
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) May 1, 2021