Is It Okay To Use The Exact Same Background Image On All Of Your Web Pages?
Here we are at episode 50! A small but significant milestone for the Local SEO Tactics shows so we want to first thank you for the support and feedback on this journey! In today’s episode, we feature our first call-in question. Evelyn, asks if it is okay to use the same background image on all pages of your website? We cover this, and some related scenarios, to talk about the SEO impact as well as the user experience for choosing to do this!
- Does it hurt SEO to use the same background image
- Make sure the background image does not slow your page load times
- It is better to use original photos over stock photos
- You can use a slider instead of a background image if it makes sense on your page
- Sometimes a background image does not reformat to a responsive page properly
- Use a slider with image effects like Ken Burns effect to create movement and animation
Here is the transcription from Episode 50 Using The Same Background Image On Every Page Of Your Website;
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where we help you with tips and tricks to get your business found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan. Here again with Bob Brennan.
Bob Brennan: Howdy.
Jesse Dolan: And this is, well, it’s kind of a cool episode. This is number 50 out of soon to be a million.
Bob Brennan: Sure.
Jesse Dolan: Started this journey on the podcast here, what? Probably almost two years ago, doing the Pat Flynn power podcasting, talking about that before.
Bob Brennan: Shout out to Pat Flynn.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. If anybody’s wanting to do a podcast, best money we ever spent trying to jump into it, not knowing what you’re talking about or how to even approach it would have been a nightmare. Probably would have spent two or three times as much time and energy trying to figure this out. But anyways, fast forward. Here we are, episode number 50, been doing them one a week when we’ve been doing them. We had probably about a 10-month hiatus there in the middle but back at it and thank you guys for your support. We’ve been getting lots of good feedback. We’re going to hear a talk today about our first on-air question that we’re going to air, something we launched a few weeks back to get feedback from you guys and get you on the show. Get your real questions out there for everybody. And so yeah, just kind of a cool mark episode, number 50 and we’re going to keep going forward on it in the coming weeks in future episodes. Even more, we should say. We’re going to start to release more than one a week.
Hopefully start maybe two or three. I don’t know what I can promise. We’ll see rhyme and reason, what we can do, but we’re going to up the frequency, trying to keep the episodes short in that 15, 20-minute mark and get more content out there for you guys. There’s just more stuff coming in so we’ve got to get more stuff going out to keep up with it here.
So for this week, we’re going to kick it off with, like I said, our first question. We’ll get to that in just a second, but I would first remind everybody what the heck I’m talking about here. We’re giving you the opportunity to submit your question for us to cover on the show. If you want to just put it in as text form, great. What we would really like is for you to leave an audio message. And if you go out to localseotactics.com/questions or just go out to localseotactics.com, bottom left corner, you’ll see a link for submit a question. And in there it’s pretty clear directions. You type in your question, hit the button, it’ll give you the phone number to call, call the phone number, record your audio and you’ll be famous shortly thereafter. And if we do use your question on the show, we’re going to send you a free t-shirt.
So let’s get to the first one that we had this week. And this’ll be the crux of the entire episode. We’re going to take, Evelyn submitted the question here, we’ll play it, we’re going to take that question, answer it and then kind of break it out in a few different ways. Some questions she didn’t necessarily ask but kind of branching off on the topics. So hopefully you guys enjoy. So let’s get into it. We’ll play the audio here from Evelyn and we’ll jump right back here. Here we go.
Evelyn: Hi, this is Evelyn. You guys are awesome. I wanted to know if you think that having a background image on a website that is continuous on every page is considered SEO friendly or is that a big SEO no no?
Jesse Dolan: All right. So number one, thanks Evelyn for submitting your question. We’ve got some more queued up. Hers came in last week at the time of this recording and I thought it would just be a great first one to talk about. So we’ll just kind of start right off the bat, just to frame up what she said, is putting a background image on your page and using that on every page. So there’s a couple of things that I want to dissect and her question is very specific, so I’m going to answer it specific and that we can get into some different examples here. So from the get-go, is it a SEO no no to use the same background image on the page, on every page? Generally speaking, no, just as a blanket statement. I mean you’re not going to get penalized for doing that, but there’s definitely some SEO best practices where I think you can do that may be in a little better way.
But Evelyn, you’re not going to get in trouble or you’re not going to get pushed down the rankings just on the fact that you have the same background image on every page. But like I said, let’s unpack that and dissect that a little bit closer because the devil’s in the details here, right? So number one, the size of that image would be something I would question. So if you were to say, I have this image, it’s kind of sizable and it makes my page load slow, is that a bad idea to have that on every page? Well then obviously, yes. How do you know if your background image is slowing your page down? There’s lots of online testing tools for speed. Some are good, some are bad, a good tried and true is the webpagespeedtest.org. We talk about that every time we mentioned speed testing on the show here. Go out to that and it’s going to show you the exact order and how long it takes different elements on your website to load.
It does it in three passes. So it kind of gives you all the data and so first part of the question there is if your image you’re using in the background is a fast image or a smaller image, something that doesn’t slow your website down, then go ahead and use it across the board.
Now another part of that is, is it a stock photo or is it an original photo? In recent episodes we’ve talked and other SEO chatter out there as Google’s getting very good at identifying stock images versus your own unique images. It’s not bad to use a stock image. But the point is Google can see the difference, right? So if Bob and I are competing, we have the all things being equal. If he’s using original artwork and original photos on his website and I’m not, Google’s going to see that difference and possibly give Bob better ranking. Excuse me. Just showing that has more credibility or more authority as a website. So that’d be one thing. Make sure it’s a fast image, a good loading image. And then if it can be a unique image, even more, so where it’s safer to use that.
Now another one would be is this isn’t so much from an SEO standpoint as it is directly about user experience, which can translate to SEO. Because if you’re getting a lot of pogo-sticking, people jumping back out, not giving you good click-throughs and good traffic on your site, that can translate to kind of poor SEO, if you will. And what I mean by that is if it’s relevant to the page, if you’re having one background image on every page, when you’re talking like auto repair, right? As an example, a lot if you’re landing on a page for radiator repair but you’re showing somebody doing an oil change or working on a semi-truck or something, whatever, not related. That’s not really, really a good fit.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. So there’s conversion images, right? So it’s like anything else. If somebody lands on your page, you’re putting that image up there to convert is the idea.
Jesse Dolan: Absolutely.
Bob Brennan: A couple of quick questions. One, moving images.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Bob Brennan: And then how do you, and we kind of went through this earlier today, depending on what’s being searched and how it’s being searched. In other words, if it’s architect, more than likely it’s going to be searched from a desktop because it’s somebody that’s going to sit down either in an office environment or even at home that really wants to visually study their body of work on their site. But if it’s a simple service and it’s more than likely going, higher percentage is going to be mobile, you want to optimize your image for that. I don’t know if you can kind of run into that a little.
Jesse Dolan: Oh yeah. No, that’s an excellent point. I think there’s kind of two halves of that. One on mobile is the speed becomes even more important there again, right?
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: If that image is really slow to load or adds a good chunk of size of your website, look at it on mobile, what does that look like? Right? As far as the percentage of the screen or how is it visually looking? If I’m desktop it looks really pretty and it looks really good, but on mobile, it really doesn’t add as much or it’s cropped or who knows what, then definitely consider should I have this be an actual background image or does it need to be maybe a solid color image or something else. Because it might not even have the same value to you on there. So 100% speed and usability on mobile. And with that kind of adding on, I guess kind of a third thing for mobile is maybe the image looks good, maybe it loads fast so check on those. But how does it resize and be responsive on mobile?
Depending on what your settings are, what your theme is on WordPress or whatever you’re using, sometimes the image isn’t mobile responsive in the background. And Evelyn is saying when I use a background image. That’s different than just like inserting an image on your page. That background image literally kind of goes back, it’s behind the text and everything else. Depending on your theme, that may not completely resize in your browser like an image on the page would. So you’re going to want to check that out because maybe you’re showcasing your storefront or your business signage in the background, whatever it is. On mobile, if that resizes and it’s not responsive, maybe you’re seeing like a big zoomed, pixilated …
Bob Brennan: Yeah, just like one corner of the building and it looks kind of weird. Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: Right. So definitely again therefrom a usability standpoint, not from a straight SEO, Google ranking factor deal, but more from a usability and then thus overall optimization. That’s definitely something to be aware of there.
Now back to moving images though, there’s a couple of different ways to do moving images. One can be like a GIF or a.GIF type file size or file format. I’m sorry. Those lead to higher file sizes though, so definitely stay away from something like that and some themes you can input like an embedded YouTube video as your background. That can look really, really cool and depending on, again the theme and the plugin that you might be using and everything else, that can probably pose a speed issue. That’s really when we talk about this, that’s the main thing I would be concerned about is the speed of this background, image loading or background video loading, whatever kind of option it is that you go with there.
And for those, if you’ve really got to have it on there, maybe something to consider is maybe it’s not a background image, maybe it has something that’s more on the front or a slider. How can I still display this information but it’s not a background image on the page because again that takes on a whole different kind of context versus a embedded slider or something else.
Bob Brennan: And we’ve had good luck. We’ve had good luck with slider images, right?
Jesse Dolan: Yep.
Bob Brennan: And they don’t really slow the speeds down. And it’s a tricky balance in terms of images, in background images, in terms of conversion because you sacrifice one for the other. So somehow you have to find that balance to get your message across for people to say hey [inaudible 00:10:53], I’m going to call these people or I’m going to send an email to them or whatever the case is.
Jesse Dolan: And depending on where you’re using it on your website, again, using something like a slider, I mean we actually do that. If you go to a localseotactics.com that image you see up at the top, that is a slider and it’s a plugin that’s on the WordPress website and the slider has some animation. It’s called the Ken Burns effect. People in photography, especially, are going to kind of know what that means. But basically that’s what allows it to kind of have that zooming in effect that it does on the slider. That’s not a movie, that’s not kind of loading a different image. So that actually saves a lot of time for loading because it loads that one image and then it just has this visual effect where it kind of slides in on it or zooms in on it. And you can do different types of effects on it too, but that’s a good way to get that image in there. Kind of act as a background image because when you’re making a slider you can lay text over it.
Now if you needed that “background-image” to be in the middle of your page or further down the page, then possibly depending on your setup you can insert that slider down there. Again, a little bit off technically on what Evelyn’s asking because this isn’t like a full-page background. But just different ways to maybe accomplish the same thing with speed in mind and an SEO friendliness in mind, but definitely a slider.
And when you’re using a slider, kind of a couple of points to wrap this topic up, you can use this visual effect that we’re talking about kind of in lieu of a video or in lieu of animation. You can have the image itself, just having the effect and then also you can use it as the background image. You can lay text, you can shoot, you can lay other images over the top of this if you wanted to as well. So just kind of from a practice standpoint, I lean towards sliders for all the things you’re asking about, all the things I just stated over a background image and I tend to not use background images on sites as much as possible. Opting again for sliders or like solid blocks of color for the background instead of an image. We will use like a background image sometimes in a footer area, maybe if you don’t want like a full-on slider, you just want a little, not a graphic like you’d think of a picture, but maybe it’s more of a like an artwork type of a background or a collage.
But not an entire page generally as a rule. So hopefully Evelyn, that answers your question directly and maybe even gives you some ideas on how to go some different directions. But just to reiterate, from a pure SEO standpoint, you’re not going to be penalized from having that same one. It’s not like duplicate content or anything like that. Especially being that it’s a background image. If your question was reframed up saying if I use the same image embedded into page, included in the page content, that’d be a little different because you’re just using the same image over and over. But when it’s a background image, it kind of has a little asterisk here for some other rules. So I hope that helps. Did you have anything else you wanted to add partner?
Bob Brennan: I just want to add, if that doesn’t answer your questions or you have even more questions, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be more than happy to answer them as best we can.
Jesse Dolan: Heck yeah. Evelyn, if you do call in again and leave a new version, you’re still only getting one t-shirt though. We’re not going to hand out t-shirts for every time you’re on.
Bob Brennan: And do we know Evelyn’s size said all?
Jesse Dolan: No, details we’re going to have to work out. I didn’t get that from her.
Bob Brennan: Let us know your size so we get you the right shirt.
Jesse Dolan: And where to ship the darn thing even to you. So just for everybody else, again, submit your questions. We’d love to have them. Great talking points. We can come up with things that we know people are mentioning out there, people are asking us and industry kind of things that are happening, but to hear it in your own words, to play it on the show and then dissect it is something I’m pretty excited about and it kind of brings a different wrinkle to it. So hopefully you guys like that. If you want to be a part of it, localseotactics.com/questions and submit yours. The other shameless plug we’ve got to give is like always the free instant SEO audit on the website.
Bob Brennan: Yes. Good value.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, absolutely. And quite frankly if you wanted to test something like this too, throw some different images on there, background images, sliders, kind of do a quick before and after. If you want to kind of vet that out for different solutions we’re talking about. Heck, you can use that tool for really anything you can think about for checking your SEO score or competitors like we always say. So localseotactics.com, top right corner, yellow button, instant SEO audit. Click that and see what your website score is. So that’s about it for this week.
We’ll get into our five-star review of the week and who do we got here this week? Is bill. I think it’s [Whidmer 00:15:22]. If I’m saying that correctly, Bill, I hope. Bill says “Amazing. I’ve been doing SEO for over four years and have a site getting over 100,000 monthly search traffic and still learn things I didn’t know on this podcast. Absolutely amazing. If you’re doing local SEO, this is the podcast for you.” That’s super cool. I think this is the first one we’ve read where it’s somebody that’s had some SEO chops.
Bob Brennan: Yeah, yeah. Those are good numbers, Bill.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. For 100,000 site visits a month, regardless of your industry, it’s pretty awesome. If we’re able to teach you a few things, that’s super cool, Bill. If you’ve got a question or if you want to throw some things out as too, again, just like Evelyn, take advantage of that. Love to hear what you have to say for Tips and Tricks.
Bob Brennan: We’re not obviously the be all to end all this.
Jesse Dolan: Oh gosh no.
Bob Brennan: So we’re learning stuff every day. We’re just trying to kind of distill it down and get it out to …
Jesse Dolan: To that point, I don’t think anybody …
Bob Brennan: No.
Jesse Dolan: There’s very few people that are true experts because …
Bob Brennan: Mr. Google is.
Jesse Dolan: Right, exactly. They change it all the time. That’s all we’re doing. We should call it SEO or Google optimization really. So all right, well I think that pretty much does it for this week. Hope you guys enjoyed that and well, I shouldn’t even say this week because we’re going to be rolling out multiples.
Bob Brennan: Yeah, [inaudible 00:16:30] a couple of week, we’ll, two to three.
Jesse Dolan: Going to have to get used to that. So hope you enjoy this episode.
Bob Brennan: There you go.
Jesse Dolan: Stay tuned for the next one. [inaudible 00:16:37]
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