Next-Gen images are image files saved in formats that are able to compress into smaller than average file sizes, while not sacrificing image quality.
This enables them to load faster, as requests & transfers are smaller than usual, while the image quality remains the same.
Formats include JPEG2000, JPEG XR, WebP & AVIF.
Why Next-Gen Images Are Important For Search Engine Optimization
Firstly, always test images before compressing or resizing them on your live site – that way you know that you will not be sacrificing quality for your users.
Image files tend to contain a lot of other data that may not be relevant or even visible to the end user, which is why compressing them helps reduce page load speed.
Smaller packets of data being sent back & forth from the server to a browser provides a faster experience & when combined with other latency optimizations provides users with a seamless experience.
This in turn helps the page compete in organic rankings, and also when properly tagged with alt-img attributes can help your site gain exposure in image search.