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It’s inevitable. You are trying to improve your organic search results and all of a sudden, you come across the advice to compress your images. How are you supposed to do image compression for SEO? Does that mean reducing your pixels? What does it mean to do image compression? That’s why I decided to create this comprehensive guide to image compression and how to do it right.

How to Compress a Single Image

The best way to make sure your website is optimized for SEO is to make sure that every image on your website is sized adequately. Here are a couple of ways to make sure your image is the right size for your website:

  • Keep the image size somewhere between 720 and 1080 pixels per inch.
  • Make sure the image is in the right aspect ratio (1:1 for square and 16:9 for desktop)
  • Use JPG, JPEG, or WebP
  • Avoid hefty image formats like PNG

Remember, these are important points for general-purpose images. Some images, like icons or a background image, might need to use PNG or a resolution higher than 1080. Make sure to use your best judgment when optimizing your images.

When to Use PNG on a Website?

The only time you should use PNG is when you need a transparent background. PNG images are much higher in pixel size so if you can use JPG or JPEG instead, this is always a better idea.

What is the best tool for converting PNG to JPG?

My favorite tool to use for image conversion if I am doing it one at a time, is Convertio. Convertio is a free browser-based tool that is very easy to use for converting any image or even file type.

To convert an image, just upload it, which file you want to convert it to and click convert. It may take a minute depending on your internet speeds, but once it’s done you just click download and it will save a new version of that converted photo to your computer.

Why Image Compression is Important for SEO

There are a lot of reasons why image compression is important to SEO but the biggest one is that it improves how long it takes for your website to load.

How Image Compression Impacts Page Speed

In short, compressed images are smaller images. Smaller images take less time to download. The less time it takes to download an image, the higher the chance a person will stay on your website!

Image Compression and Google’s Core Web Vitals

Google’s Core Web Vitals include metrics like Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and First Input Delay (FID). These metrics measure loading performance, visual stability, and interactivity. Image optimization, including compression, directly impacts these metrics, contributing to a better overall user experience and potentially improving your SEO.

How to Compress Multiple Images at Once?

There are essentially two ways to do bulk image compression for SEO. You can use a bulk compression tool which will help reduce file sizes and convert image types before you upload them to your website. This is the best practice.

You can also use a plugin on your CMS if image compression is not available before uploading. For example, the hosting partner I use on all my websites includes optimized image compression and WebP file adjustments. This is what makes my websites nice and fast on both mobile and desktop.

Best tool for bulk conversion of PNJ to JPG

I build websites for a living and one thing I commonly need to do is change a bunch of images a client sends me to either WebP or JPG. Sometimes I need to do this for hundreds of files and using Convertio for each of these images would take up a lot of my time… and my time is valuable….

So instead, when I need to convert a lot of images from PNG to JPG, I use a tool called XNConvert.

How to do bulk image conversion using XnConvert

XnConvert is free for personal use and is an amazing tool. You simply select the files or folders you want to convert, choose how you would like to resize them, where they should output to, and what type to output as. Then just watch as this tool will bulk compress and reformat every image in that folder. Depending on your computer and file size this can take some time but usually, my folders are complete within about 5 minutes.

Can You Run Image Compression for SEO on Images You've Already Uploaded to Your Website?

The short answer is Yes but the long answer is “kinda.”

In Web Design, the best time to compress your images on your website is before you upload them. If you use WordPress or Shopify for example, uploading big images to your website can really tank your website speed, even if you use a compression or SEO app/plugin.

However, that doesn’t mean you are in trouble if you already have a ton of images added to your website and need to start doing some compression. There are some great tools and resources available that can help you.

Answering Frequently Asked Questions about Image Compression

What does Image Compression Mean?

“Image Compression” simply refers to the process of reducing the size of images. This can be done by reducing the file size, transitioning the image to a smaller file format, or on some CMSs like WordPress, using an image compression plugin.

What is an Example of Image Compression?

Without getting into details about how digital images work, image compression may work by simply cropping an image down to its necessary size, switching from PNG to JPG, or by using tools like Convertio or XnConvert to reduce the size of the image file by a percentage.

Answering Frequently Asked Questions about WordPress Image Compression

Does WordPress compress images automatically?

Technically yes. WordPress does compress images to about 82% of their original quality when you upload them to your WordPress Website

Should You Use an Image Compression Plugin?

Using an Image compression plugin or app can be helpful in the short term, but frustrating in the long term. Most image compression plugins will only do a portion of the work for free and then require you to pay for additional images.

How to Image Compression Plugins Work on WordPress?

WordPress image compression plugins generally work by reducing the file size of images uploaded to your WordPress site without significantly compromising their quality. These plugins are designed to optimize images for web use, improving page load times and overall website performance. Though they will usually have a few differences, there are a few specific things that most image compression plugins will do.

  1. Scanning Your Files: Most plugins will start by scanning all your media files. Depending on the plugin, they might look for the largest file size or run the scan alphabetically.
  2. Setting Configuration: All plugins will have settings they ask you to adjust. These will usually determine the degree and frequency by which images are compressed. example: Scanning every day with a 50% compression. 
  3. Automatic VS Bulk Optimization: Depending on your plugin or app, images will be scanned and either automatically get compressed or will prompt you to optimize in batches.
  4. Lossless vs. Lossy Compression: Most plugins provide options for both lossless and lossy compression. Lossless compression reduces file size without any loss of image quality, while lossy compression sacrifices a bit of quality for more significant file size reduction. Users can choose the compression level based on their preferences and the importance of image quality

It’s important to note that while image compression plugins can significantly reduce file sizes, there may be a trade-off in terms of image quality, especially with aggressive compression settings. It’s recommended to test different configurations and find a balance that suits your website’s performance requirements and visual standards.

Thanks for reading to the end of this post. If you find the information I provide to be helpful, you may want to consider working with me as your web designer or marketing consultant.

My expertise is in WordPress, and Shopify Marketing Optimized Web Design that leads perfectly into SEO, Social Media, and PPC Marketing campaigns. If you are interested in working with me, please fill out the request form below!

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