The thing I enjoy the most about being an online business owner is this: Nobody can take away what I have built with SBI! - John Shank, SBI! member since 2003

Are Your Images Up To Speed?

Written By: Cath Andrews in How Solopreneurs Build Their Business | August 4, 2017

Pagespeed as an important ranking factor is an urban myth. Just because 10,000 bloggers squawk about how critical it is (if you want high rankings), it ain’t necessarily so!

So no need to get into a flap…

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What Google actually said, back in 2010, was that fewer than 1% of search queries would be affected by how fast a page was (“pagespeed”). That 1% figure means that average pagespeed is fine… that a page has to be mighty slow before you have to worry.

It was silly to mention this in 2010. Why not factor pagespeed into the algo in 2000, when bandwidth was much slower?  

Since then, mobile usage has exploded. And mobile bandwidth, although improving, is still slow compared to WiFi at home.

So Google has noted that pagespeed is a factor on mobile search. And they expect to increase its importance. Nevertheless, it’s still of minor importance compared to the relevance and quality of the content.

We expect that to remain true.

A Better Reason to Increase Pagespeed

Aside from pagespeed directly affecting search results, slow speed can affect user experience…

If a page on your site is slow, users could abandon it before it loads, especially on non-WiFi mobile. A magnificent image is useless if folks won’t wait for it to load!

Result? Lower “time on site” and “number of pages visited.” Those are not only factors at Google… they’re important for your business, period.

Compressing your image files while hardly affecting quality is the best way to give your visitors a speedy experience. And it takes you mere seconds!

Here’s How to Optimize Images

1) Head to TinyPNG, a free service that compresses .png and .jpg files…

https://tinypng.com

2) Drag your images into the box…

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3) Wait for the panda to do its stuff, then download each individual file, or the compressed folder containing all the files…

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The space you save (64% in the screenshot above) is not insignificant. And to the human eye, there’s no telling the images apart. Judge for yourself…

The “before” image is on the left. The compressed image is on the right. Can you tell them apart?

birds

Thought not!

Bonus hack: If you use WordPress, you have an automated option, the WP Smush image optimization plugin. Simply upload your images and WP Smush does all the file reduction work for you!

Bottom Line Takeaway?

Don’t stress about pagespeed as a Google ranking factor. It’s not nearly as important as it’s cracked up to be. That said…

We’ve gone through ups-and-downs regarding speed. In the early years, pagespeed mattered. As bandwidth accelerated, it became less important. Now that mobile is widespread, speed matters again. But now it’s mobile bandwidth that’s accelerating!

Eventually, the Internet will be super-fast everywhere. Then our advice will be “forget about image size — do what you like!”

Until then, do nail down the basics — not least, shrinking needlessly bulky images.

Cath Andrews

Cath Andrews

Cath is Head of SiteSell's Content Team, where she writes on a wide variety of topics for new and experienced Solopreneurs. She lives between her homes in Italy and Scotland, and in her spare time writes prolifically for her two SBI! websites.
Cath Andrews

Latest posts by Cath Andrews (see all)

  • Are there tips for how much to compress through Photoshop? I’m often uncertain what size photos I should use and how to compress it best so it’s light but doesn’t lose quality. thanks! 🙂

    • Margit Streifeneder

      Great question, Erin. I am wondering that myself. I use IrfanView to resize and compress my images.

      First, I reduce the size of a larger image to a width of 500 pixel (with my 3 column template it makes no sense to have wider images).

      Then, I use IrfanView’s plugin to “Save for Web” which compresses the image file. Depending on the original file size, I compress to 80 or 90% of the original size, which usually bring total file size down to 100kb or less.

    • Hi Erin, in photoshop I use 60-70% quality, which I find to be the best compromise between file size and image quality.

  • Scott Ouska

    Hi Cath…

    I have up to 14 or so images on many of my pages. I feel the pages load quickly. I re-size them to 640×480 using Picasa photo editor.

    What is the difference between compressing using tinypng.com and re-sizing using my image editor?

    Thanks.

    Scott & Nimble.

    • Hi Scott,

      Using tinypng (or any other compression service) doesn’t reduce the width / length size of your images but squishes the byte size. So for example, I can (and do) keep my images at 700px wide but minimize the overall size in bytes. The total image size can then be reduced substantially without losing quality.

      Using a tester like Google’s will tell you whether your images could benefit from compression. This is a link – enter a page and look under the “Optimize Images” section: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

      Hope that helps.

      Cath.

      • Scott Ouska

        Thanks Cath…

        I did a bunch of research since I contacted you.

        I understand that by compressing you actually reduce the weight of the image.

        Jacki from drought-smart-plants.com told me in the SBI Forums that she likes her images about 600 pixels wide for the 2 column template.

        I have a 2 column responsive template and been running ’em about 640×440 with real good clarity and page loading speed. She said her images are about 100 kb after compressing. I haven’t been compressing mine but they are about 120-130 kb. Thanks for that link… can’t wait to try it.!

        Scott & Nimble… dogvittles.com

        • My pleasure, Scott (and Nimble!).

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