If all the letters of the alphabet were to disappear by magic, we are sure that we would be perfectly capable of communicating through emojis and GIFs. What’s more, how have we been able to survive without your invaluable communication help until so recently? 😉
Jokes aside, the use of GIFs has increased notably in recent years, especially thanks to their easy access from platforms and digital devices. But in addition to how fun and helpful they are to express themselves, did you know that they also favor SEO positioning in search engines? We’ll tell you then.
What is a GIF?
Ingenious, witty, funny … GIFs have become common resources in the communications we carry out daily through social media and messaging applications. It seems that there is always a suitable GIF for every occasion and its use is as widespread as it is positive for the SEO positioning of websites.
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format or graphics interchange format. In other words, a GIF is a graphic file format that allows the movement of one or more frames for 3-5 seconds, repeating themselves infinitely.
In more concrete terms, a GIF is a file that supports 8 bits per pixel and that allows images with up to 256 colors to be displayed simultaneously. This peculiarity explains why it has become such a widely used format: the same is used to display infographics, drawings or illustrations as photographs or animations, all with an acceptable image quality.
Her little big story
As we also tell you when we talk about chatbots, GIFs are not as new and current a format as it seems. The first dates from June 15, 1987.
At that time, the Internet was taking its first steps, as were the first network provider companies, such as CompuServe. Steve Wilhite worked at this company , who is credited with creating the first GIF “accidentally” when he tried to solve the problem of sending images on the Internet without slowing them down excessively.
The first of all seems like a metaphor for what this format would be: a plane that never stopped taking off.
In a short time, webmasters began to incorporate them into their web pages, very primitive pages and without the possibility of interaction that we now know, hence they used them mainly for decorative purposes. It’s the era of some of the most mythical GIFs of all time like Peanut Butter or the baby Cha-Cha-Cha.
However, the main properties that were praised for this format (color, short and loop) were in turn those that made it “relegated” to a lesser use, as a simple ornament in a humorous key. Even the arrival of web 2.0 did not help to trace its use, increasingly limited to the detriment of Flash animations that seemed destined to succeed forever.
It was then that social media arrived and with them the relaunch of the GIF format, especially thanks to Vine, the short video app that in 2013 captured all the attention and that, together with the arrival of high internet connection speeds, they gave GIFs back their lost glory.
It’s amazing that despite the processing power and bandwidth that exists, GIFs do not decline. There is something simple and hypnotic in those short looped animations that fascinate everyone, apart from the fact that they can be accessed from any device and that social media have included them in their supports so that users can even insert them in the comments of the posts. It’s the era of GIFs.
How do they influence SEO positioning?
Well, first of all we have to take into account that Google scans GIFs in the same way that it scans any image or photograph, that is, giving them a position within Google Images based on certain variables.
This means that we can optimize GIFs so that their use, in addition to being illustrative, contributes to improving the SEO positioning of the place where they are included. How? Well, as we would do with any image used on a website or blog:
1. Indicate an ALT attribute, that descriptive text that helps Google robots to understand what is or what is in an image, since they only perceive its binary composition.
2. Rename the GIF file according to your positioning interests and do it with a name that is as descriptive as possible for its content.
3. Optimize their size, which although this is precisely one of the great advantages of these files, should not be neglected so that they do not interfere with the loading speed.
4. Include them in the image sitemap so that they can be indexed and thus improve the positioning in search engines.
We can conclude then that GIFs, like images, can be very positive for SEO positioning as long as they are well used and configured. But be careful! In the same way that they can help improve SEO, they can harm it if, on the contrary, they are not well named or if their weight slows down the loading times of the website.