Universal factor and Image RankingEarly this year Google rolled out its Universal Search, a system that blends listings from its news, images, local and book search engines together with images from crawling web pages. This new system has big implications for the way we optimise images on web pages for the search engines.
Many standard searches on Google throw up a set of images in the second or third positions on the Google results page. If your image is included in this position this is great news for your website traffic, as one simple click will have a browser looking at what you have to offer. What’s more important is that nowadays people use the Google image search system more frequently, and for a greater variety of reasons. If you don’t optimise the images on your website then you are truly missing out on an effective piece of SEO work.
Many of our clients often ask us, how do we go about optimising images on our site? Webandrank has collected together eight of the best techniques for image SEO.
- If you don’t already have a site rich with images, (remember graphs, charts, diagrams etc are all images too, and will appear in Google search results) then make it happen. Some sites are particularly bland and do not necessarily require images, if this is the case you must do what you can to include and fill up the empty space with images.
- Make sure every image has a keyword-rich file name. It makes it much easier for the search engine spider to find and index your images. An example would be instead of <img src=img0001.jpg/> something like <img src=cowboyhat.jpg/> is much better.
- Ever heard of alt tags? Well any self-respecting SEO should know that Google states that this helps your optimisation efforts. Here is another example, to expand on the example above <img src=cowboyhat.jpg alt=picture of cowboy hat/>.
- It doesn’t stop there; the image code can be extended further to include the image title. The code would read like this <img src=cowboyhat alt=picture of cowboyhat Title=Picture of a cowboy wearing a cowboyhat. Height=400 width=500/>.
- Most pictures include a caption that describes what the picture is. This caption is another opportunity for some simple image SEO. The text should be key-word rich acting as a nice invitation for those Google spiders.
- How can we forget our new best friend Social Media? It is a nice touch to make any images Social Media friendly, facebook like buttons or share on twitter are the most common.
- Linking to images also has another opportunity for image SEO. You can simply make the anchor text keyword-rich, instead of using ‘click for image’ try using ‘here is an image of a cowboy wearing a cowboyhat’.
- Sitemaps have always been important for Google indexing, adding important images to your xml sitemap is another great way to enhance image SEO.
Images are playing a more and more important role in the way people search, image search is the traditional way to find images but now universal search is throwing up image rank as well. The above techniques are very simple and do not require any in-depth knowledge of IT to implement; see your images ranking high in Google searches both in universal search and image search.