Why You Should Use SVG Images on Your Website (And How It’ll Help Your SEO)
So you’ve probably noticed a huge trend in web design is to have custom illustrations and branded graphics. If you haven’t, don’t worry; just check out this post!
Branded and custom visuals can be incredibly valuable by helping you communicate your brand, create a more visual experience, and give your company a unique look.
That being said, blurry and pixelated visuals or visuals that take forever to load can be your worst nightmare—or, at least, a designer’s worst nightmare. Not to worry! With some small adjustments, you’ll be able to achieve a beautiful user experience in no time. All you have to do is save those great logos and custom visuals in an SVG format.
What is this SVG you speak of?
Developed in the 1990s, the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format is an XML-based vector image format for 2D graphics. Check out this post for more facts and figures about the SVG format.
Now, even if you techies out there might know exactly what we are talking about, here’s what that means: The SVG format uses text to describe how a graphic element or a vector image will look.
Yep, you read that right! A bunch of text is making those cool visuals on the web and in print. A text-based format for an image sounds a bit counterintuitive, right? Here’s why it matters.
The traditional format used for web images is JPEG. JPEGs work best for real-life images like photographs. However, if you save your custom visuals as JPEG they will be rasterized, meaning that pixels are assigned to a grid.
Once rasterized, you cannot edit or resize the original content. Because the SVG format relies on text, they have no predetermined size or grid. SVG relies on vectors, or lines and shapes instead of pixels. No more worrying about fuzzy, blurry, or pixelated visuals.
SVG’s name gives it away: these files were made to be scalable. Scalability allows images and graphics to appear clearly at any size. For the web, this means your visuals will be crisp across all different screen sizes and resolutions.
Without a size or grid to worry about, SVG files are much smaller, which can improve faster website loading time. As for print, you can send your visuals off to the printer without having to worry about a blurry poster or banner.
Editability & optimization
SVGs have the added benefit of easy editability. While rasterized images like JPEGs can be very difficult, if not impossible, to edit, SVG files can be edited using a text editor or, of course, using a vector graphics editing tool like Adobe Illustrator.
Simply saving those great visuals in an SVG format will help them look clean and beautiful on every screen and at every size. SVG files tend to be much smaller than other formats, such as JPEG and GIF. You can even optimize your SVG files further by simplifying your vectors and compressing the file. Smaller files mean faster loading times and better optimization for your one-of-a-kind website pages.
SVG images can improve your site’s search engine optimization in more ways than user experience. Another added benefit of SVG being a text-based format is that search engines can read, crawl, and index your images.
With other images, search engines need titles and descriptions in order to read your images, which means that search engines can’t crawl the actual contents of your image. If you love your titles and tags, you can still include keywords and descriptors in an SVG text to help search engines read and crawl your visuals even better.
How to get SVG images
To convert your pre-existing files to SVG format, open up your source file in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop and export a new version of the file as an SVG. If that entire sentence seems way too daunting, you can find easy file converters online that will convert your files for you. Yes, it’s really that simple!
Andrew Skalitzky hails from New Jersey and is a current senior at Northwestern University. His favorite snacks include Chicago-style popcorn and Mike & Ike’s (a.k.a. the most underrated candy). When he was little, he dreamed of becoming a vacuum salesman.