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Let's say that i have a image restaurant-photo_big.jpg which is 640x480..

How can I change the resolution safely for SEO purposes? it's the same identical image but 800x800 (it may be cropped out compared to the old one).

  • Should I simply replace restaurant-photo_big.jpg?
  • Should I leave on my server old restaurant-photo_big.jpg (not linked anywhere) and create restaurant-photo_huge.jpg ?
  • Should I 301 redirect restaurant-photo_big.jpg to restaurant-photo_huge.jpg ?

thank you in advance :)

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Just update the page with a new file name. Let Google have access to the old file if it needs to. Additional do not 301 redirect, Google doesn't favor 301's and should only be used when absolutely required to do so.. this case does not merit a 301 and would be more trouble than its worth. –  bybe Mar 19 '13 at 13:42
    
You mean to just swap the image out, or dynamically changing image resolution based on device? –  GDav Mar 19 '13 at 13:43
    
for example i changed the layout so i need smaller images to fit the size of the layout –  Wes Mar 19 '13 at 14:14
    
what if images are well ranked and i reiceve lot of visits from google images? what will happen with new ones? i want to pass the old image's PR to the new one... so a 301 seems to be needed –  Wes Mar 19 '13 at 14:17
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Doesn't work like that sadly... If a image is ranking and you change it there's nothing to say there won't be a shift. Sometimes images can be deranked completely if the image is not unique. Also 301 doesn't mean that you don't lose your rankings, you lose some juice with 301 and has been for some time now. Personally 301 is not the way to go, but ultimately the decision is yours. I recommend you read more about 301's. Personally I would just change the file to whatever you need. While image rankings is nice it shouldnt be end strat.. Page is more important. –  bybe Mar 19 '13 at 14:23
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you updated your page to serve the new image in the new resolution correctly, there's absolutely no problem in placing the new file on the server with the same name.

That's what I would do, and I have done in the past, when I "touched up" some pictures. I didn't lose any rank whatsoever, and I tried this first with one picture in special that ranks #1 for it's keyword in google images. And it still does.

The only reason to redirect 301 in this case, in my opinion, is if you think you can increase the exposure of the photo by renaming it in a way that may be more visible to search engines.

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thank you for sharing your test ;) i'm waiting for more answers if there will be any.. otherwise i will accept your! thanks –  Wes Mar 19 '13 at 14:44
    
NP, glad to help! –  guisasso Mar 19 '13 at 14:58
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I would not recommend changing the resolution of an image at an existing URL. I don't think it would hurt SEO, but it can cause problems with browsers. If there is an image tag like

<img src="big_image.jpg" width=400 height=400>

but you are now serving at 800x800 image at that URL, it will generally look horrible in browsers. When browsers re-size images they do so very badly. They tend to use linear scaling which is fast, but which introduces very noticeable artifacts ("jaggies") into the images.

You would have the same problem if you redirected the big photo to the huge photo.

You should do your middle suggestion:

Leave on my server old restaurant-photo_big.jpg (not linked anywhere) and create restaurant-photo_huge.jpg

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