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Generally when we put some keywords in the search box of Google or Bing, on result page they display mixed results including pictures, web link, videos etc. These are actually blended or universal search results. Apart from blended search results search giants also offer results from some separate search engines. For example Google serves images, video, books, play store, local etc, which are sometimes referred as vertical search engines. This article deals with ‘Image search’ which is one of the vertical search engines.
Image Search Optimization [ISO]
Do I really need to do ISO?
You website really needs Image search optimization when:
- On querying one of your target keywords, search engines display pictures with standard results.
- Your business sells products that translate into compelling photographs.
- One of the unique features of your website is its graphics.
How to Optimize Images?
Few good habits of placing images at right place in right manner on your website can help you to put your best pictures on the top rank of Image search result. Search Engines cannot understand the image, so to rank any image, critical location tied to the image file, text around that image, meta-tag etc are used. So concentrate on text optimization pertaining to that image.
- Present Image on its own page: Any image has best chances to get ranked well if it is presented on a separate web-page dedicated to the topic of that image. For example: for keyword <Nokia Lumia 520> if you place picture of this mobile on a webpage written especially on this topic, there are more chances of showing up that image by the search engine rather than mixing this image in more general webpage written on more general topic like ‘Nokia Mobiles’
- Image Name: Best name to any image is the key word which you are targeting. For example: give name ‘Nokia Lumia 520.jpg’ in the above case.
- Alt and Title tag: Use simple and descriptive titles. You can use same words for both types of tags.
- Image pointing text: Use keyword in image pointing text. For example ‘click for large image’ contain no key-word. So use ‘Nokia Lumia 520 – view larger’ instead.
- Apart from above techniques, you can use most traditional way i.e. to write long description about that image and topic using various targeting keywords.
- In current trend on Google and Bing when one hover cursor over the image in the search results; it gives brief description about that image. It may contain file name, text around the image, HTML tag etc. Make sure that this information is more than just keywords and gives compelling reason to the user to click on the image.
- Check how your image looks in thumbnail size. Is it readable? If not then edit it by re-cropping or enhancing its brightness etc.
- Don’t do something that restricts your ISO efforts e.g. exclude /image folder using robots.txt file.
- Don’t use same catalog photos that several other sites are using. Use fresh content instead.
- Don’t place very large sized picture. This will load your webpage faster. Display smaller image but don’t compromise too much with the quality.
An old saying says “image says thousand words”. Images have quite good potential to bring traffic if they are interesting and displayed properly. Main target of every SEO pro is to boost ranking on universal result page but why to miss traffic which you can generate by some simple habits of ISO? ISO is an add-on to the optimization process.
I really like all the points you have made here.