When we talk about websites, we also refer directly to SEO strategies, which manage to highlight all the defects that the latter may contain and which complicate their entire optimization. Among the first irregularities that SEO tools identify, there are certainly images, their format and their weight.

This happens because images are among the first digital contents of a website to provide a first and strong impact to those who look at them. At the same time they affect the speed and fluidity of the website, as well as the loading time. So formats such as JPEG, PNG or GIF, although they enjoy excellent quality, are not properly optimized for web pages, where the insertion of lighter images is favored. In short, an image that from a technical and SEO point of view is imperfect , is penalizing for the optimization of the entire web page and, consequently, loses visitors. How, then, to overcome this problem that very often photos generate? The answer is easier than it may seem: just take advantage of the WebP format . If you are wondering what it is and why it is so important, then maybe you should keep reading.

WebP format: a big helper for image optimization

The WebP format is a modern image format made by Google , the world's best-known search engine. This new standard guarantees lossless compressed photos. In fact, this is one of the biggest problems with images. It is a format that makes images 26% lighter than a classic PNG, and 34% compared to a JPEG format. Although they are much less heavy, the difference between WebP and JPEG or PNG is non-existent .

The WebP format was developed in 2010 by Google with the aim of encouraging copywriters and web masters to better optimize websites, including sites representing businesses and companies, or blogs and online magazines. The main purpose was, and still is, to provide users with a much better browsing experience. In this way, already eleven years ago, the loading times were limited considerably, while the sites began to boast of a certain speed. This innovative format is supported by: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera and more, as long as they are based on Chromium. Therefore, in browsers less known to the public, it will be more complicated to use the WebP.

Why use the WebP

It goes without saying that using Google's WebP format produces highly beneficial effects for your website. First of all, the use of a WebP format, being it light, ensures an excellent user experience, as the site will load faster. Furthermore, as is well known, Google rewards every optimized element of a website.

All the more so if you use the format it created. Consequently, there will also be an improvement in the positioning of the web page, a factor that determines a certain flow of visitors. Finally, it allows you to save web space thanks to its dimensions, which are very small compared to other formats. Thus the website will be optimized in every aspect, it will be fast in its loading and will be rewarded by Google, which will increase its position in its SERPs. A series of advantages that cannot and absolutely must not be given up. True, there are still some limitations, but they can be easily outweighed by the benefits. In fact, the generic quality of the images is certainly not the best, but this was already known. In addition to this, please note that this format is not available in lesser known browsers.

In general, it can be officially confirmed that the image format, developed by Google, generates a long list of beneficial effects for your website. The limits are very few and in any case, there are no major negative results. Therefore it is advisable to convert every image on the website into the WebP format. How to do? We will explain it to you immediately.

How to set the WebP format

Entering this format is really simple. Just proceed exactly as with all other types of formats, provided, of course, your browser supports it. Otherwise there is another solution, which is also simple: convert the image. There are many tools on the internet for converting images into WebP format and most of them are totally free. If, on the other hand, you are using Word Press, you need to enable this function through special plugins, as it is blocked by the CMS. There are several plugins. The best at the moment turns out to be Shortpixel. However, using this format is simple and effective.

Using WebP with PrestaShop

Prestashop does not have native support for the WebP format, but we can integrate it in the following ways:

  • Google PageSpeed : The WebP format can also be set up as a conversion of GIF, PNG and JPEG formats directly from the server via the Google PageSpeed module using this module provides many benefits to non-optimized ecommerce, but costs in terms of TTFB . Another disadvantage is the management of the image cache after editing them. This methodology is compatible with any ecommerce and CMS platform. For Server and Hosting with Plesk control panel the installation of the module is very simple just install the extension: Google PageSpeed Insights .
  • Through a CDN service that offers the conversion of images to WepP - for example Cloudflare Pro - these services, however, have a high cost, obviously offer much more than just conversion, such as greater protection from bots and attacks and are very suitable for ecommerce that they sell all over the world, not just in Europe. CDNs allow you to bring a lot of content closer to the user, reducing latency including TTFB for those who visit us from overseas or from the East. The configuration of CDNs in PrestaShop is very simple, before the advent of HTTP / 2 it was also used to speed up loading through a particular configuration of the VHOST. As with the Google PageSpeed module, the flaw is the external management of the cache when making changes to see immediately.
  • Through specific modules for PrestaShop , as for WordPress there are several modules to implement WebP images in PrestaShop, a very complete module is JPresta Speed Pak by Jpresta.com (available on PrestaShop Addons), this module allows you to extend the PrestaShop Smarty Cache, optimize the database, as well as convert images to WebP format. If our need is only to use the WebP format, I recommend the Google WebP module from PrestaCamps. All available in the Prestashop marketplace.

Never again without WebP

The Google WebP format , necessary for the images present within a website, is now a must for its own optimization. It will be a real chain reaction: optimized website means better user experience, which consequently implies a general improvement of Google, which will reward your website with better positioning. What more could you want? Either way, visitors to the webpage will really appreciate that it's fast, doesn't crash and has very limited reload times. Remember that the quality of the images changes very little, so the differences will be minimal and no one will notice the changes from a format like JPEG or PNG. The whole website will be lightened. Digital images have a great influence on all the contents of a web page. If these are optimized correctly, the rest of the website will be. Better convert photos to WebP right away !

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Author: Loris Modena


For Ind Loris Modena , owner of Arte e Informatica , he began working in the IT sector in 1989 as a system engineer in charge of the maintenance and installation of IT systems. He started programming for the web in 1997 dealing with CGI programming in PERL and then moving on to programming in PHP and JavaScript. In this period he approaches the Open source world and the management of Linux servers.

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