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Search engine optimisation and large images

We were asked whether a site with large images would be adversely affected in Google and other search engines and thought we’s share our view. Take it away Phil.

Large images do take time to download.

However CURRENTLY this doesn’t effect seo in any way.

The only effects an image can have on the seo value of a page is the TAG content. This is also true of flash.*

The file name url ie, my-big-image.jpg contains words that can be indexed - you can see this literally in the Google image results. Good practice is to name images as a description of the pic with regard to the content but not too detailed (think flickr tags) ie. a picture of a man wearing a red t-shirt drinking tea whilst in Paris should be named ‘man-drinking-tea-paris.jpg’ on a web site about tea whilst on a website about t-shirts ‘man-t-shirt-red’ then back this up with the alt tag and you have maximised your image tag seo.

SHORTLY though you’ll fall foul of the page speed penalty -see here for details and solutions http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/docs/overview.html. Please note we test drove the mod_pagespeed the other day and we’d recommend cropping and trimming my images for the near future.

  * Google can and does scan files such as images and flash but this is mainly to detect malware. There is also talk of them being able to draw text from flash files - if true, the text content of these files would affect seo, although I don’t run tests against this - flash to me is a non-web language (which sounds high and mighty but look I’ve already got enough languages to deal with and which clever bxxxxx at Google worked out how to index javascript?!

 

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