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If an image file size were to change from 80kb to 100kb every couple of weeks, would the search bots notice this change and how would a minor change be interpreted? The page consists largley of text which is static.

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3 Answers 3

My intuition, speaking from about two years of experience, is that this would eventually have a negative effect overall. Search Engines, at least the larger ones, tend to cache things like this. If you've got a search engine checking your page, say, every 15 days and that's how often that size is changing, what you think you're advertising to the search engine is:

"Hey, look! My page is staying current and being changed!"

What you'd actually be saying (and, again, this is my opinion):

"I'm not creating any new content for users, I've just found a way to make it look like I'm continuing to update my page and stay relevant, but, sometimes, I change it to a bigger file which is worse for page load speed and sometimes I change it back, but it keeps cycling."

I just wouldn't do this. Is there a reason it has to change or can you just keep it as the 80kb file? If they're different image with different alt text, I wouldn't worry about it.

Keep in mind, for this answer, I'm giving the search engines an awful lot of credit. If any are smart enough to detect this kind of stuff yet, they will be eventually. If they are now, my guess is only Google would be able to.

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The image will comprise of market data which is updated every couple of weeks, but the alt text is likely to be the same unless i add something like the date to the alt text. –  Mahalia Samuels Aug 29 '13 at 9:54
    
Ah, I see. I can understand what and why you're doing it now. Since it's such a minor thing, it shouldn't have too much effect. Just be sure not to over-extend the re-index time for your page. If it's hardly ever changing, not including the image, I wouldn't put the timer up too high. I would also probably recommend making sure the alt text is very clear that this is constantly updated date and, as you suggested, add the date or something. This shouldn't have too much impact on SEO, but it's better to be on the safe side. –  Drew Copenhaver Aug 29 '13 at 16:20

Search engines will see the change but I don't think there will be any interpretation regarding SEO (if only the image size file has changed).

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It is possible that this could positively affect the "freshness" value of your page, however it is more likely that it will have no effect at all.

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I also thought about this idea but in definitive, for just one file, I doubt. I don't think search engines are silly. –  Zistoloen Aug 28 '13 at 10:19

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