How long does it take for your website to load? If it’s more than four seconds, you’re losing visitors — and conversions. The biggest contributing factor to page speed is image format. As you are no doubt familiar, image types like JPEGs and PNGs have long been the standard for digital images, but there is a new player on the scene, the WebP image format. If you want your site to load faster, rank better on SEO, and look good while doing it, you might want to explore if switching to WebP is the next right step in website optimization.
What is a WebP Image?
Launched by Google in 2011, WebP (Web Picture) is a lossy and lossless image format that significantly reduces an image’s file size—without losing quality. As a refresher, with lossy image compression, some data is lost permanently, while lossless compression keeps data intact. Over the years, WebP has ballooned in popularity, with a 97% market share among web browsers (Webflow, 2022). To better understand this trend, it helps to touch on JPEG and PNG file types.
What’s the Difference between WebP, JPEG & PNG?
The answer lies in the numbers. Google reports that WebP is 23-24% smaller than JPG files, and 26% smaller than PNG files (Webflow, 2022). Smaller images mean faster loading times. However, that’s not the only benefit of WebP images, there are implications across marketing departments.
Let's explore how they can help your entire team:
How WebP Supports Design
Unlike JPGs, WebP images support transparency. This allows you to see the background behind a shape, plus create depth and contrast by layering page elements, for an overall modern look. Another perk of WebP: Images can be animated (think: GIFs). Your traditional JPG can’t do that.
How WebP Supports SEO
Google’s algorithm considers page experience, including page speed, when ranking your website. A faster site, via WebP images, can boost your SEO standing. WebP also supports image metadata, like the capture time and location of a photo. You can add tags to images with metadata to help the bots identify images — for an SEO lift.
How WebP Supports WebOps
Storage space can get expensive, especially when your website is bogged down by images. Are you thinking what we’re thinking? Exactly. Since WebP image files are smaller in size than traditional JPGs and PNGs, you can use this next-gen image format to save on storage space — and costs.
Getting Started with WebP
Wondering how to implement WebP? There are a few ways. You can use a CMS that supports the file format, and then create or convert WebP images. Another option: Create WebP files natively using a graphics program like Photoshop. If you go this route, you’ll want to make sure the program supports WebP. Or, if you have an in-house dev team, they can download WebP packages directly from Google and start working with the code. It is important to note that this is an emerging technology and many websites do not support uploading WebP images quite yet. Before making the switch make sure to consult with your DevOps team to ensure your website can support this image format.
Red Door: Your Strategic Partner
If you’d like a hand in optimizing your website, we can help. Together, our Creative Services, SEO and WebOps teams will work with you to create a winning strategy. Contact us today.