Google Image Rank reprecussions when switching from JPG to WEBP

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Jay Smith

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Jul 18, 2022, 9:10:09 PMJul 18
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Hi. I run a (WordPress/Woocommerce) ecommerce site who's (JPG) product images currently rank really well atop Google Image search. And this image ranking brings us a lot of traffic and sales.

That being said, our website runs slow and we are exploring ways to improve performance to help SEO, most notably shifting from JPG first images to WEBP first.

Would a shift from JPG to WEBP risk our google image search rankings? And if so, are there any steps we can take to negate our images disappearing from the top of google image search?

Please advise. Thanks in advance!

James Zern

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Jul 19, 2022, 1:10:14 AMJul 19
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Hi Jay,

On Mon, Jul 18, 2022 at 6:10 PM Jay Smith <ja...@ascraftedproducts.com> wrote:
Hi. I run a (WordPress/Woocommerce) ecommerce site who's (JPG) product images currently rank really well atop Google Image search. And this image ranking brings us a lot of traffic and sales.

That being said, our website runs slow and we are exploring ways to improve performance to help SEO, most notably shifting from JPG first images to WEBP first.

That's great. There has been some work in Wordpress to move in this direction too.
 

Would a shift from JPG to WEBP risk our google image search rankings? And if so, are there any steps we can take to negate our images disappearing from the top of google image search?

I don't have direct knowledge of the ranking process, but WebP is part of the best practices described in the image search documentation [1][2].

 

Please advise. Thanks in advance!

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Jay Smith

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Jul 19, 2022, 8:13:59 PMJul 19
to WebP Discussion, James Zern
Thank you James. I have learned of this WordPress plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/webp-converter-for-media/) that can mass convert our JPGs to WEBP and serve the WEBP. They say:

- they do not redirect in default mode so the image URL will stay the same. Only the mime type is different.
- Our image optimizer does not modify your original images in any way. This means security for you and your files.
- When the browser loads an image, our plugin checks if it supports the WebP format. If so, the image in WebP format is loaded.
- The plugin does not make redirects in default mode, so the URL is always the same. Only the MIME type of the image changes to image/webp.


With all that said, if we used this plugin, does it seem likely that our JPGs will continue to rank high in Google Images? Appreciate any advice. Thanks!

James Zern

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Jul 19, 2022, 8:40:49 PMJul 19
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On Tue, Jul 19, 2022 at 5:14 PM Jay Smith <ja...@ascraftedproducts.com> wrote:
Thank you James. I have learned of this WordPress plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/webp-converter-for-media/) that can mass convert our JPGs to WEBP and serve the WEBP. They say:

- they do not redirect in default mode so the image URL will stay the same. Only the mime type is different.
- Our image optimizer does not modify your original images in any way. This means security for you and your files.
- When the browser loads an image, our plugin checks if it supports the WebP format. If so, the image in WebP format is loaded.
- The plugin does not make redirects in default mode, so the URL is always the same. Only the MIME type of the image changes to image/webp.


With all that said, if we used this plugin, does it seem likely that our JPGs will continue to rank high in Google Images? Appreciate any advice. Thanks!

I don't have a great answer except to say that indexing webp files is supported, as my earlier links note. I forwarded this thread to a member of the WordPress team. If they have further detail I think they'll respond here.
For suggestions for webp plugins you may want to move this thread to WordPress itself, https://wordpress.com/support/.

James Zern

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Jul 21, 2022, 8:28:54 PMJul 21
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On Tue, Jul 19, 2022 at 5:40 PM James Zern <jz...@google.com> wrote:


On Tue, Jul 19, 2022 at 5:14 PM Jay Smith <ja...@ascraftedproducts.com> wrote:
Thank you James. I have learned of this WordPress plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/webp-converter-for-media/) that can mass convert our JPGs to WEBP and serve the WEBP. They say:

- they do not redirect in default mode so the image URL will stay the same. Only the mime type is different.
- Our image optimizer does not modify your original images in any way. This means security for you and your files.
- When the browser loads an image, our plugin checks if it supports the WebP format. If so, the image in WebP format is loaded.
- The plugin does not make redirects in default mode, so the URL is always the same. Only the MIME type of the image changes to image/webp.


With all that said, if we used this plugin, does it seem likely that our JPGs will continue to rank high in Google Images? Appreciate any advice. Thanks!

I don't have a great answer except to say that indexing webp files is supported, as my earlier links note. I forwarded this thread to a member of the WordPress team. If they have further detail I think they'll respond here.
For suggestions for webp plugins you may want to move this thread to WordPress itself, https://wordpress.com/support/.

Following up on this, keeping the URL stable will prevent the need to reindex the site. The image bytes are less relevant. Changing the URL would have an impact, at least temporarily, as the site will need to be crawled again. I believe this information is contained on the SEO pages I linked, but I don't have a direct reference.

Jay Smith

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Jul 25, 2022, 5:30:43 PMJul 25
to WebP Discussion, James Zern
Ok. Thank you very much for assisting James!
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