It is important to optimize your images for Google Image Search because, without the necessary optimizations, none of the search engines is able to recognize and index your images in its image results. Google image search, which is often ignored by many marketers, easily belittles all searches performed on Facebook, Amazon, Google Maps and Youtube combined according to data from Moz and Jumpshot. Here is a pie chart that will give you an idea of how big Google’s image search is.
The most important web property in search engine optimization is Google Searches at 59.3%, followed by Google Images at 26.79%. Google Image searches are performed ten times more frequently than Yahoo and Bing’s regular searches combined.
Before you start optimizing your image search results, make sure you are searching your name using incognito or private mode in your browser to get the most accurate search results.
What Is SEO? How does Google index images?
SEO stands for search engine optimization wherein optimization means making your web pages, or in this case, images ranked higher by search engines. You have to meet specific requirements and use certain techniques that make your web pages and images worthy of indexing for search engines. For web pages, they have to load fast, offer value for users, contain keywords naturally, have keyword-rich and search-relevant titles and be linked to reputable websites/platforms through backlinks. The idea for images to rank high is pretty similar, but the criteria that rank images higher are different.
When it comes to images, search engines will rank them based on their relevance with the content of the page they are on, the name of the image file, the caption of the image, PageRank, quality of the image, etc. In short, you will have to work on a lot of things to optimize your images for search engines. Here are some tips to help you rank high in search engine image searches.
Rename your image metadata, title and alt tags.
First, you will have to name your files properly. You name your images based on the keywords or content they are relevant to. Just like naming, you will also give a caption to the image and try to include keywords and content-relevant terms in the caption. As for Alt Tags, it’s best to keep it concisely descriptive. Do not stuff it with keywords but rather describe the image in the best way possible. Let’s take an image for example:
At this point, the image has an alt text of “cookies” with no caption and a default file name of Image123.jpg. You can also see that the image quality is pretty bad. This is an example of an unoptimized image. To optimize the image for search engine results, you will add an alt text, caption, and proper image file name. The file name of the below image is “BrandName’s Chocolate Chip Cookies,” and its alt text is now more descriptive.
Figure 1 – Freshly baked delicious chocolate chip cookies, waiting to be eaten.
This is how you should add alt text to the above image.
Bad alt text: <imgsrc=”BrandName’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.jpg” alt=”Cookies”>
Good alt tex: <imgsrc=”BrandName’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.jpg” alt=”Chocolate chip cookies”>
Best alt text:<imgsrc=”BrandName’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.jpg” alt=”Stack of three chocolate chip cookies”>
(added the text to the website from where the idea as taken, but modifications had been made to avoid plagiarism.)
Think about it, will people ever search for chocolate chip cookies by typing “image123” on Google?
Create Google+ page and add photos to Google Maps.
Whether you are an individual looking to position your brand or an enterprise with a global presence, having a Google+ page can give you a great competitive advantage in Google searches. Google loves it when you use its platforms, and your business page on Google+ appears in top results when a relevant search is performed. However, the more important thing is to add pictures on your Google+ page and make use of Google maps by listing your business there. With your business listed on Google maps, every time your business appears in search results it will be accompanied by customer reviews and ratings. These reviews and ratings are available right on the search page. Look at this example:
Add images to your social networking pages.
Creating business pages and personal profiles on social networking websites is already very important, but what’s beneficial is to include images on those pages and profiles. Sometimes, your official business website might not be among the top search results, but your social networking pages might show up. However, having your personal or business’ picture included with the profile gives you an identity at once. Take a look at the example below where the first picture in Google Images of Markos Moulitsas, the co-founder of VOX media, is from his Twitter account. Markos made sure that his picture that appears on his account, not a business logo or some quote. This way, when someone searches his name, his profile photo shows up.
Write guest posts and include profile photos.
For guest blogs, people pay more attention to bio when they are accompanied by an image of the author. A picture with your bio makes sense. For personal brands, a picture is just like a logo i.e. people recognize you with your face. This is why you need to use it as much as you can and anywhere you can. Some of the most famous bloggers and personal brands of the world use their pictures frequently on their blogs because they know their face serves as the logo of their brand. Take a look at Harsh Agrawal’s Should Me Loud blog and scroll from top to bottom and you will find his picture appear four times on the same page.
Images on Slideshare rank highly on Google Images.
Slideshare is a part of the LinkedIn platform. The good thing about SlideShare is that the slides you create on the platform show up on search engine image results as jpg images. How well your images rank on image searches depends on the number of viewers. The more people view a particular slide, the higher it ranks in image results. Search for my name “Kaitlin Zhang”, and many of the top images in the results are from Slideshare.net.
You have to pay attention to the quality of your content no matter how many images you upload. Just uploading images without labeling, naming and captioning them properly is not going to help you in any way. Continue to incorporate the tips given above and optimizing your images without losing patience. It might take some time before you see any visible results, but as you continue to upload properly optimized images, you will start seeing them appear in Google Image search results. And once your images start appearing in search results, the billions of people who search specifically for images every day will be tempted to click on one of your images and land on your website or social networking profile.
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