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Do you know using the right image file types can help optimize your website for both speed in loading and search engine optimization? How do you know if you’re using the right types of image files across your website? Below, we’ll explain the differences between the three major image file types and when it’s best to use which. Your web design company should be familiar with all of these, and help you choose images for your website.

Baltimore County, image file types, Harford County, web design company, Know Your Image File TypesJPEG

Main features:

  • 16 bit data format
  • Can display millions of colors
  • Common, and compatible across most platforms and displays
  • Uses a compression algorithm to sacrifice some image data to reduce file size

JPEG’s use of compression is great for most webpages because it reduces page load time – which is a search engine ranking factor. Use JPEG files for real-life photos of people or products (digital cameras save their images as JPEGs by default), as well as images that contain lots of color and light/dark shading.



Main features:

  • Uses 256 indexed colors
  • Can utilize progressive loading (a low-quality version is loaded first, then more details are filled in)
  • Can be animated

Since GIFs use a limited color range, their file sizes are generally small and don’t require compression. However, this means they are not the optimal choice for displaying details. Use GIFs for simple images with few colors, small icons, and of course, animation.



Main features:

  • Capable of displaying more than 16 million different colors
  • Supports transparency settings
  • Uses what is called lossless compression, which means no data is lost when saving
  • Two types: PNG 8 is similar to GIF, and even smaller file size than GIF. PNG 24 is similar to JPEG, but lossless compression means larger files than JPEG

Because they display so much detail and use lossless compression, PNG 24 files tend to be large. They are best used for logos that use transparency and fading effects, or for other complex images. Just be aware that the larger file will take longer to load.


Once you’ve decided which image file types to use for the various parts of your website design, you can improve their SEO performance by optimizing the metadata for the images. For better results, create an image sitemap to help search engines index the images on your website. This is especially important if you have an e-commerce website where you have pictures of your product. Make sure your web developer is optimizing your photos.


If you’re in the market for a new website, or your current website design needs some updates, call Coastal Web Services at 410-420-9390. We’re a Harford County website design company specializing in website design and search engine optimization.

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