In a recent conversation on the r/BigSEO subreddit, users expressed confusion about Google’s approach to indexing WebP images. Google Search Advocate John Mueller joined the discussion to clarify the appearance of WebP images in the “Crawled – currently not indexed” section of Google Search Console reports.
Addressing Reddit Users’ Questions A Reddit user questioned the presence of numerous “Crawled – currently not indexed” entries for WebP images in their Google Search Console reports. Mueller explained that WebP images are not indexed as HTML pages since they are image files rather than webpages.
Another participant asked whether other image formats (such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF) could also appear in the report and why they would be included if they can’t be indexed as HTML. They also inquired if CSS and JS files could appear in the report. Mueller responded that this typically occurs when a link resembles a webpage URL or has an ambiguous extension (for example, .php or none). He also noted that this occurrence is not exclusive to WebP images.
Key Takeaways from Mueller’s Reddit Discussion Mueller’s input on Reddit offers important insights for website owners and SEO specialists:
- WebP images and other image formats are not indexed as HTML pages.
- Image files may be displayed in the “Crawled – currently not indexed” report if the link looks like a webpage URL or the extension is unclear.
An Overview of WebP WebP is an image format introduced by Google in 2010. It has become popular for its performance benefits in web development and SEO. The format delivers superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web, resulting in faster load times.
Benefits of using WebP images include:
- Reduced file sizes compared to other formats, such as JPEG and PNG.
- Versatile image rendering, supporting lossy and lossless compression, transparency (similar to PNGs), and animation (similar to GIFs).
- Enhanced website performance, which can have a positive impact on SEO, as Google’s search algorithms favor fast-loading sites.
Challenges Associated with WebP There are some obstacles to consider when using WebP:
- Browser compatibility: Not all browsers support WebP, making fallbacks necessary for those that don’t.
- Image quality: WebP’s lossy compression can sometimes lead to noticeable reductions in image quality.
- Conversion and storage: Managing website images can become complex when converting and storing both original and WebP versions.
Optimizing WebP Images for SEO To fully harness the SEO potential of WebP images:
- Prioritize faster website speeds, which can potentially boost SEO rankings.
- Utilize the <picture> element in HTML to serve different images to various devices, offering WebP images to compatible browsers and using JPEG or PNG as fallbacks for others.
- Strike the right balance between file size and quality, ensuring images look sharp while loading quickly.
While WebP is not a one-size-fits-all solution for improving loading times, it can help optimize your site when implemented correctly.