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Google Images – SEO for Your Pictures

Posted • September 20, 2009 • 1 Comment

Google Images - SEO for Your Pictures

SEO for Your Images – Search Engine Optimization is in the Details

image searchYou must be aware that all of the major search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, and Bing have image search engines. So how can we leverage this?

Searches for images can actually generate a lot of traffic, included below are some steps you can take to bring visitors looking for images to your site. “Google images” as a search term actually has a predicted daily count of 11,114 searches. (via Nichebot)

According to a Bing blog article by Todd Schwartz titled A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words:

What many people may not realize is how big the Image Search market actually is. In fact, according to Comscore (June ’09), over 60 million searchers generate over 1 Billion queries a month, driven both by the explosion of image content on the web today, and the increasing need of consumers to use images to help them complete tasks.

There are many people as there are reasons for using image search engines. Searchers looking for pictures of celebrities, album cover art, or that perfect image to emphasize a point on their blog. Shoppers often look for pictures of furniture, vacation destinations, clothing, cars or anything else people buy.

If your site is selling products or services it is these “shoppers” you are looking for. All of these persons are potential customers or subscribers. Who knows, they may even become regular readers. You need to keep the funnel full!

All the major search engines, Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and more, now include image search listings automatically in their regular web search results. If you have taken the time to optimize your images properly, you can get yourself a very attractive top search engine ranking.

Guide the search engine to understand what the image is about

wordpress image description(Post from Search Engine Optimizician.)
If you want a higher ranking for your images for particular keywords or keyword phrases you need to make sure the search engines can understand what the picture is depicting.

Some keyword research would help you to choose some terms that actually have people searching on them. 😉

OK here is the skinny on image optimization

  • Use descriptive file names
    Use an image name that actually says what the image is. If the image is the logo for a catering company, use the name of the company not just logo. Use keywords and keyword phrases that actually describe the image.
    :-( : /images/image-1234.jpg

    :-) : /images/portland_catering.jpg
    :-( : /images/
    :-) : /images/crave_catering_logo.png
  • Make proper use of your HTML alt tags
    (If you are blogging use the description field in your blog or content publishing software when you add an image).
    :-( : <img src=”” alt=” ”>
    :-) : <img src=”” alt=”Screen shot of WordPress image description field”>
    :-( : <img src=”” alt=”Image”>
    :-) : <img src=”” alt=”Google’s Hans Christian Ørsted logo”>
    If you have a series of related images, use descriptive variations.
    ”Google’s Ivan Kostoylevsky logo”
    ”Google’s Unexplained Phenomenon logo”
    ”Google’s 400th Anniversary of Galileo’s First Telescope logo”
  • Adding descriptive text in the vicinity of the picture is a good thing
    In determining what the picture is actually depicting, the search engines will examine the text adjacent to the image.
    :-) : It was actually nether. The new logo was a reference to the birthday of Hans Christian Ørsted. <img src=”” alt=”Google’s Hans Christian Ørsted logo”/>
    This text may also be used by the search engine as the snippet describing the image.

Google Orsted logo

  • Keep the most important image close to the top of the page, headline, or title
    Embedding the image close to the top of the page, headline, or title will increase your chances of having your picture in Google News.
  • Put your photos inside the articles and blog posts
    Search engines have a tendency of ignoring images in headers, sidebars, and other places where they can’t be attached to some relevant content.
    Images placed inside the articles and blog posts have the greatest chance of being recognized by the search engines.

Technical issues that effect your image’s search engine rankings

  • Don’t use frame breaking code
    The Bing Blog post referred to above recommends:
    “Watch frame breaking – Sites that attempt to break frames make it more difficult for the image to display correctly within search. Make sure you’re testing your site against the search engines.”
  • Use images that will reduce to thumbnails and remain recognizable
    Quality pictures with high contrasts and clear, bright, colors always work best. The search engines generate small thumbnails to be included in search results, and you want images that will actually be recognizable is that small size.
  • Make sure your photos are accessible to the search engines
    Be sure the directory containing your images can be accessed by the search engine’s spiders and bots.
    Check your robots.txt file to make sure you are allowing the search engines access to your image folder/s.
    Robot.txt file is explained in Top Ten Rules for Beginning SEO.

It never hurts to make use the social sites

You can host some of your images on photo hosting sites like twitpic, flickr, and photobucket. Add links from those sites back to your site.

Flickr, twitpic, and photobucket may even generatate traffic on their own, and the search engines could even include these images in their image search results.

You can check how many of your pictures Google has indexed

To check what images Google has indexed from your site, go to Google Image Search and enter “” in the search box.
Replace “” with your domain name.

This post I had been meaning to get around to was inspired by Pandia Search Engine News.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Like feathers on a balance beam search engine optimization is a process of adding as many feathers to the scale as you can. This is just one of those bags of feathers that is rarely used. SEO image optimization is a way to get ahead of your competition.

Gary Pool

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One Response to “Google Images – SEO for Your Pictures”

  1. Tweets that mention Google : Images : SEO : Pictures : Search Engine Optimizician --
    September 20th, 2009 @ 5:43 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gary Pool. Gary Pool said: SEO for your pictures, search engine optimization is in the details. […]