To improve page load times (and Google ranking), you should make sure all jpeg, png, and gif files are properly optimized. Instead of writing my own script for jpegtran, pngcrush, and gifsicle, I used Mike Brittain’s Wesley.pl script on GitHub. It works great, though I did have to modify it to change the “jpegtran -copy” parameter it uses — I need to keep the EXIF on larger files, and strip it from thumbnails. I posted the diff on the GitHub Issues page.
Update 2012-12-31 : In case Mike doesn’t merge my diff, with the addition of the
--copy=[all|comments|none]command-line argument (see my comment below for more info), you can download the patched wesley.pl script here instead.