Graphic Interchange Format, commonly known as GIF, is regarded as a new trend that hit social media recently. But the truth is, GIF has been there in the digital world since 1987, introduced by Steve Wilhite. GIFs are image files that support both animated and static images that are popularly used in memes today. They are a very useful marketing tool that helps customers see things work in a better way. They are more interesting than images and add more energy to your content thus making it unique. So, if you wish to amp your digital marketing skills, partner with a reliable New York SEO Company that can utilize animated GIF in the best way possible to boost your digital marketing campaign.
What Is GIF?
GIF is referred to as “a lossless format for image files that supports both animated and static images,” as a Google search reveals. Steve Wilhite built GIF to save memory when displaying images and this can be enhanced by adding more colors and maintaining a compressed format which could still be loaded by those utilizing slow modems. Later using time delay, web developers and designers were able to create animations.
Unisys Corp, the company that owned the GIF algorithm, started charging royalties for GIFs in 1995 – and the patent didn’t run out until 2003. Google images came around in 2000 and Google added shareable GIF to search results in 2019.
How to Make Your Own GIFs
- GIF Maker App: There are many apps available today that allow you to create a GIF using your smartphones. You can upload the images and use the GIF maker app to create a customized GIF. It also allows you to add filters, backgrounds, text, images and so on to make it more engaging.
- Create GIF from Video: There are many video-to GIF converters available via website or smartphone app that lets you convert your video into GIF format.
If you do not want to make GIFs then you can find a number of GIF on GIPHY, Google Image Search, Tumblr and Imgur.
How Google Crawls GIFs and Why It Is Important for SEO
Google crawls GIFs just as it crawls images, but with a greater focus to search for and share them through Google Images. However, Google Image optimization techniques are in process to get GIF crawled, parsed and indexed.
Like images, GIFs are also important for SEO and help attract target audience and keep them engaged. Well-branded and shareable GIFs survive for a long period and are greatly used for breaking up long articles to better understand the content. As long as GIFs are used correctly, they can yield good results. But depending too much on GIFs instead of text content can weigh down your website, making it slower to load. This can further lead to a high bounce rate, which is bad for your SEO.
Tips to Optimize GIFs
Make sure to have good and unique GIF with its file name and alt text for both people and search engine robots to find it. For GIFs to be indexed in Google Images, optimized GIF placement is vital i.e. near relevant text and at the top of the page. A fast, responsive and good URL structure is a must for your GIFs. A GIF must have a proper, well-written alt text, descriptive file name, relevant image context, image caption and associate links. Along with it, following Google’s best practice guidelines for images is also encouraged. Users look for limited alt description and Google depends on file names and surrounding page context elements to know what a GIF is about. So, making all these elements good, and having an alt text that flows with the content will optimize your GIF and make it stand out in GIF pack. But when you use your GIF, make sure to keep up the page’s speed and there are two ways to speed up your GIF.
- Lossy compression: Lossy compression is the process of compressing the file and making your GIFs move faster in such a way that people don’t notice. This is the worst way of keeping your GIF, and it also compromises the quality of your GIF but it speeds up your web page.
- Lossless compression: This is also a compression process but not as speedy that file that have been lossy optimized and it doesn’t change the pixels, colour or information.
Some other ways to minimize the image size on your website are:
- GZIP compressions: This is a technique for compressing or deflating images by up to 70% without compromising image quality.
- Image optimization: This refers to the process of using programs like Photoshop and web programs like Smush to minimize the size of the image. It reduces the image size along with its quality.
Best Tools for GIF Optimization ( add tool logos)
- Shrink O’Matic: It is a drag-and-drop GIF processing tool that lets you choose images’ output size, rotation, name and location, image format, add watermark, choose image ratio and other options and it can process multiple GIF images in batch mode.
- ImageOptim: It is a drag-and-drop tool that can compress any GIF image without compromising its original quality, up to 60-80% of the original size. The program eliminates overstuffed metadata and invisible junk off the images, and also removes unwanted color profiles.
- FileOptimizer: FileOptimizer is an advanced GIF file optimization tool that maintains the behavior of the output image and shrinks the size of the files with multiple recompression and optimization techniques. It has a simple interface that can be easily used by intermediates and experienced people. It is capable of compressing most popular file formats, including audio, videos and documents and JPG, PNG, SWF, TIFF, BMP, ICO.
- FILEminimizer Pictures: It compresses GIF images by up to 98% with its native file optimization technology. It has 4 different compression levels and you can even compress multiple GIF files at a time. This software also allows you upload images to Facebook directly and supports other formats such as JPG, TIFF, PNG, EMF and it works on Windows.
GIF has the potential to build customer engagement and improve traffic to your website. They are an excellent tool that digital marketers can use to promote their products and services. You can also use this to thank your customers, share new stories that entice your customers, for customer service or even to animate your data. So, if you wish to include GIF in your content to attract a larger target audience group, then hire the services of a New York SEO Company that can provide customized solutions.