Knowledge Base

/

Core Web Vitals

/

How to Optimize Images for Page Speed?

Website Image Optimization: Best Practices for Page Speed

By
James Gibbons
Optimizing Images for Page Speed

Have you ever wondered why your website doesn't perform as expected despite having excellent content & design? You may not realize it, but the culprit could lie in an often overlooked aspect of website development - your images.

Yes, you read that right. Images play a crucial role in page loading speed. If not optimized properly, they can cause your website to load slowly, significantly impacting user experience & ranking.

In this blog, we will discuss how to optimize images for page speed & ensure your website loads faster, providing a seamless user experience. Let's unravel the mysteries behind image optimization & unlock the full potential of your online presence.

What is Image Optimization?

Image optimization is the process of delivering high-quality images in the right format, size, resolution, and dimension while reducing their file size as much as possible without compromising on the visual quality. This process is highly crucial in web publishing.

A key part of website image optimization involves ensuring images don't slow down your site's page load time.

Images can have a significant impact on your website’s speed. Larger image files slow down your site, leading to a poorer user experience and decreased search engine rankings.

Hence, to optimize images for the web, it is necessary to reduce the file size of the images without hindering their quality. This could mean using different file formats for different types of images, for instance, JPEGs for photographic images and PNG for logos and other iconography.

Learn more about image optimization here.

Understanding Page Speed

Page speed is the measure of how quickly the content on your web pages loads. It's the amount of time it takes for the browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server.

It’s a critical factor for website performance, significantly influencing user satisfaction, engagement, and conversion rates. A delay of even a few seconds can lead to frustration & abandonment.

A one-second delay can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions.

This not only results in lost opportunities but also impacts your SERP rankings. Google considers page speed when determining your website position, so slower page speeds can lower your ranking, making your site less visible to potential visitors.

Page speed can be measured using tools like Quattr, Google's PageSpeed Insights, or Lighthouse. These tools provide a score ranging from 0 to 100 & suggest areas of improvement for your website's load time.

A score of 90 or above is considered fast, while a score of 50 to 90 is average, and below 50 is slow.

Learn more about website speed optimization here.

Factors Impacting Page Speed

Various factors impact your page speed. These include:

1. Heavy, unoptimized images

2. Too many redirects

3. Server response time

4. Uncompressed content

5. Excessive HTTP requests

6. Bulky code

Among these, images are usually one of the major culprits for slowing down your web page loading. Large, high-resolution images seem visually appealing but can significantly increase the page load time.

In the next section, let us understand how images are related to page speed.

Images & Page Speed: How are They Correlated?

You might be wondering how images can affect the speed of a webpage. The answer lies deep in the process of webpage loading. When you visit a webpage, the browser has to download all the resources on that page, including images.

Large, high-resolution images require more data to download, slowing the loading. This effect is even more pronounced on mobile devices, which generally have slower internet speeds than desktops.

Think of it this way - a webpage is like a truck carrying a load. The heavier the load (in this case, the larger the image files), the slower the truck (webpage) moves. It's as simple as that.

The more images on a page, the longer it takes to load fully. It is because each image requires an HTTP request to load, and the larger the image's file size, the longer it takes for the request to complete.

Several key factors lead to image-related page speed issues.

1. The format of the images (JPEG, PNG, or GIF)

2. Lack of image compression

3. Performance of the server

4. Using too many images

Benefits of Optimizing Images for Web

1. Improved User Experience: Fast-loading visuals enhance the user experience, keeping visitors engaged. This is fundamental because search algorithms prioritize user-friendly sites, directly boosting SEO rankings.

2. Higher PageSpeed Insights Score: Google's PageSpeed Insights considers image load speed a critical factor. By optimizing images for faster load times, your website gets a higher score, leading to improved SERP rankings.

3. Decreased Bounce Rate: Slow-loading images can increase bounce rates as users often leave pages that don't load quickly. A lower bounce rate signals quality content to search engines, thus enhancing ranking, which increases the chances of conversion.

4. Enhanced Mobile Optimization: Fast-loading images greatly contributes to mobile optimization, an important aspect considering Google's shift to mobile-first indexing. This boosts the visibility & ranking of your website, especially for mobile searches.

How Does Google Interpret Slow Loading Images

From Google's perspective, both images & page speed are critical components of a good user experience. Google considers page speed a crucial factor for good user experience and doesn't directly penalize your site for being slow.

As mentioned earlier, the higher the number of images, the more time it takes for your website to load.

When your website is slow to load, it causes frustration among users.

It can lead users to leave your site, increasing your bounce rate. Google interprets this behavior as a sign that your site is not providing valuable content or a good user experience, consequently lowering your rank in SERP.

The process of image optimization for page speed should be an essential part of your SEO strategy. By optimizing your images, you not only create a better user experience but also increase your website's ranking potential, as page speed is a significant ranking factor used by search engines like Google. Thus, optimizing images for speed should be a priority for every webmaster.

Tools to Identify Image-Related Issues on Your Website

Two types of tools can help you identify image-related issues on your website - free and paid.

Free tools can offer you an initial understanding of your website performance. They let you detect & suggest resolution of image-related issues to enhance your website’s usability. But these tools become difficult to use when you are an enterprise or have hundreds/thousands of pages; in that case, paid tools might be the way to go.

Free Tools for Website Image Optimization

Google PageSpeed Insights

This popular tool analyzes your website & offers suggestions for speed improvement, including specific recommendations for optimizing images. It's user-friendly & provides actionable insights, but it can be overwhelming for larger websites with many pages.

Google Lighthouse

Lighthouse dives deeper than PageSpeed Insights, offering a comprehensive audit of your site's performance, including image optimization. It provides detailed reports with specific metrics & suggestions for improvement, but it can be technically complex for beginners.

Paid Tools for Website Image Optimization

Quattr

Quattr is an SEO platform that can assist in identifying & rectifying image-related issues. Tools such as Lighthouse & PageSpeed Insights offer valuable insights into the issues affecting your web pages. But Quattr goes further by enabling you to prioritize optimization tasks based on their impact.

Quattr conducts a thorough simultaneous analysis of all your web pages, facilitating the identification of the most affected pages. It empowers you to strategically allocate your optimization efforts to maximize efficiency & enhance overall performance.

Screaming Frog

The Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool comprehensively audits your website, including image-related issues affecting your load speed. It identifies large, slow-loading images & provides a solution by allowing you to bulk export all images, making it easier to rectify these issues.

Remember, the best tool for you depends on your needs & budget. Free tools like PageSpeed Insights & Lighthouse are great starting points, but a paid tool like Quattr can be a game-changer for in-depth analysis & prioritization.

How to Optimize Images for the Web & Page Speed

Best Practices to Optimize Images for Page Speed
Best Practices to Optimize Images for Page Speed

1. Image Compression and Format

Image compression is a critical aspect of optimizing page speed. It involves reducing the file size of images without compromising their quality. You can employ tools like ImageOptim or TinyPNG that use advanced algorithms to compress images efficiently to achieve this.

Furthermore, consider choosing the appropriate file format – JPEG for photographs and PNG for images with transparency. It will significantly reduce the time it takes for your webpage to load, improving the overall user experience.

2. Use Responsive Image Sizing

Tailoring image dimensions to the specific requirements of each device & screen resolution is crucial for optimal page speed. Use responsive image attributes in HTML (such as "srcset") to deliver different image sizes based on the user's device.

It ensures that smaller screens receive smaller images, reducing unnecessary data transfer, accelerating page load times, and positively impacting the site's visibility.

3. Lazy Loading for Improved Performance

Lazy loading is a technique that delays the loading of images until the user scrolls down to the section of the page where the image is located. Utilize the "loading" attribute in the HTML image tag or incorporate JavaScript libraries like LazyLoad.js.

By loading images only when necessary, you reduce initial page load times & improve the overall performance of your website.

4. Efficient Image Delivery Through Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

A content delivery network (CDN) is a network of servers located in different parts of the world. CDNs distribute your images across multiple servers worldwide, allowing users to access them from the server closest to their location. It minimizes latency & accelerates image loading times.

It can lead to better engagement metrics, such as lower bounce rates & increased time on-site, which can positively impact SEO rankings.

5. Image Caching for Persistent Performance

Implementing image caching involves storing copies of images on the user's device after the initial visit. It reduces the load on your server to download the images again upon user's subsequent visits.

Utilize HTTP caching headers to specify how long browsers should cache images. It results in faster loading times for returning visitors, enhancing the overall efficiency & performance of your website.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Optimizing Images For Page Speed

1. Using high-resolution images without resizing or compressing can lead to long page load times.

2. Not giving alt tags to your images negatively impacts both SEO & accessibility. These should be descriptive and contain relevant keywords.

3. Not limiting the number of images on a page to ensure speedy load times.

4. Neglecting to optimize images for mobile devices can decrease user experience and slow loading times. Always compress and resize images for mobile use.

Scale Website Image Optimization for Page Speed with Quattr

In conclusion, optimizing images is crucial for enhancing page speed & user experience. Unoptimized images can negatively impact your website's loading speed, thereby harming its performance & user experience.

By effectively compressing, resizing, and choosing the right image format, you can significantly reduce the load time of your web pages. However, manually optimizing every image on your website can be time-consuming and challenging. That's where Quattr comes in.

Quattr can perform a comprehensive analysis of all your web pages at once. It doesn't just pinpoint issues but also identifies which pages are most impacted by these problems.

This valuable information lets you prioritize your tasks & sequentially deal with the issues that have the highest effect on your page speed.

Enhance Page Speed by Optimizing Images at Scale Using Quattr

Test Drive Quattr

Website Image Optimization for Page Speed FAQs

How often should I check for image-related issues on my website?

Regular website monitoring for image-related issues should be performed at least once a month. However, if you frequently update your site or use a lot of dynamic content, it's best to check weekly. It ensures optimal loading speed and user experience and avoids SEO penalties due to broken or improperly formatted images.

Is there a difference between optimizing images for desktop browsing & mobile?

Yes, there's a significant difference. Optimization for mobile browsing requires images to be smaller for faster load times and lesser data consumption. In contrast, desktop browsing can accommodate larger, high-resolution images, focusing more on visual detail & impact.

How can I optimize images for different browsers like Chrome and Safari?

Maximize image compatibility using universally supported formats like JPEG, PNG, and GIF. For Chrome, consider WebP format for higher compression & quality, while for Safari, use JPEG 2000. Utilize CSS's 'object-fit' property for responsive images.

What is the optimal image resolution for page speed?

Generally, a resolution of 72 pixels per inch (PPI) works well for web images, while a resolution of 144 PPI is recommended for retina displays. However, balancing image quality with file size is essential to ensure faster loading times.

About The Author

James Gibbons

James Gibbons is the Senior Customer Success Manager at Quattr. He has 10 years of experience in SEO and has worked with multiple agencies, brands, and B2B companies. He has helped clients scale organic and paid search presence to find hidden growth opportunities. James writes about all aspects of SEO: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.

About Quattr

Quattr is an innovative and fast-growing venture-backed company based in Palo Alto, California USA. We are a Delaware corporation that has raised over $7M in venture capital. Quattr's AI-first platform evaluates like search engines to find opportunities across content, experience, and discoverability. A team of growth concierge analyze your data and recommends the top improvements to make for faster organic traffic growth. Growth-driven brands trust Quattr and are seeing sustained traffic growth.

Try Content AI Free Tools for SEO and Marketing

AI Content Optimization Tools

Image Alt Text Generator

Generate accurate, easy-to-understand, and SEO-friendly image alt text for users & search engine bots.

AI SEO Tools

SEO-Friendly URL Generator

Generate SEO-friendly URLs that are readable by both users and search engine bots.

AI Content Optimization Tools

Anchor Text Generator

Discover the correct anchor text that conveys the precise meaning of the linked page.

Ready to see how Quattr
can help your brand?

Try our growth engine for free with a test drive.

Our AI SEO platform will analyze your website and provide you with insights on the top opportunities for your site across content, experience, and discoverability metrics that are actionable and personalized to your brand.