You are already optimizing your site for search engines, right? But I bet you aren’t optimizing your images for search traffic!
I know, Google image search only gets a half a percent of Google’s overall traffic. But due to blend search results, images actually get a lot more traffic than that half a percent.
Unlike before, when you now search for terms like “golden gate bridge” you actually see images of the golden gate bridge on the search listings page. For this reason, it’s important to optimize your images for search engines.
Here’s how you can make your images search engine friendly:
Because search engines can’t read images, you need to use alt tags to help describe your image.
If you have one on the Golden Gate Bridge during a foggy day, your alt tag should be something like this:
Alt=”Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog”
Here is how the full image code should look like:
<img src=”http://www.quicksprout.com/foggygoldengatebridge.jpg” alt=”Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog” Â />
The key to creating good alt tags are:
- Describe the image, don’t just stuff in keywords.
- It should be keyword rich.
- It needs to be short and to the point.
Similar to an alt tag, there is also a longdesc attribute. It was first created to help the visually impaired understand images. If you happen to have an image of the Golden Gate Bridge on a foggy day, there is a lot more words that can be used to describe it than the alt tag we used in the above example.
From the color, to the height of the bridge to how the fog looks, there are a lot of elements to the picture. So to describe the image you may include text on a page that explains in full detail what the image is all about.
In this scenario you would use a longdesc and within it would be the URL that explains the image in details.
<img src=”http://www.quicksprout.com/foggygoldengatebridge.jpg” alt=”Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog” longdesc=”http://www.quicksprout.com/imageseo.html” />
Using the same Golden Gate Bridge example, you want your image file name to be descriptive of what the image is about. And because there are billions of images out there, you don’t want to use a generic image file name like “goldengatebridge.jpg”.
Instead you want to use something a bit more descriptive, such as “foggygoldengatebridge.jpg”. That image file name does a much better job at describing the image than using a generic name that will be tough to compete for in the rankings.
There are 2 aspects to an images file size. The first is the dimensions of the image and the second is how much storage space the image requires.
When optimizing an image, you ideally want the dimensions to be as big as possible, yet you want the storage space to be as small as possible. Through programs like Skitch, you can adjust the dimensions, while keeping the storage size small through compression.
Best of all, programs like Skitch will help maintain the quality of the image as you don’t want to compress them so much that the image doesn’t look good anymore.
EXIF stands for exchangeable image file format, which allows you to add various types of meta data to the actual image file. In other words, it will be embedded to the image itself, so wherever it goes, the meta data goes with it.
EXIF data is even a more detailed than the alt tag and long description. It caries data such as:
- Was the flash on or off when the picture was taken.
- What type of camera was the image taken with.
- The aperture speed that was used.
- Date and time the picture was taken.
- The image height and width.
The EXIF data also covers another 20 or 30 facts about the image, but I won’t bore you with them. What you need to do is consider modifying it and adding a detailed description of your image along with your website name.
Unlike the other image optimization tips, this one tags an image to your website or business. That way if you have 1 image that is highly related to your business, it will show up when someone Google’s your business.
For example, when you Google “Neil Patel” you’ll see a picture of me tied to the Quick Sprout listing. This is very useful because it will increase your click through rate.
Just like ranking a web page, you can increase your image rankings by building links to it. And the richer the link anchor text, the higher the image will typically rank.
So if I want to rank that image of the Golden Gate Bridge for “Golden Gate Bridge”, I would build links with the anchor text “Golden Gate Bridge”. And just like normal link building you also want to rotate up the anchor text as having too rich anchor text can hurt your rankings.
If you want to build links to your images, check out the following link building articles:
- Finally: An Easy-to-Understand Link Building Plan to Help You Recover from Penguin and Panda
- 7 Link Building Mistakes You Ought to Avoid
- 10 Hard-Hitting Link Building Tactics That’ll Boost Your Rankings
- How to Leverage Link Blending and Stage 2 Link Building to Maximize Your Rankings
When you place an image on your website, make sure you wrap content around it. From the text underneath or above the image, the title tag of the page, and even headings, the more the text is related to the image the better off you are.
Don’t spam everything with keywords, but sprinkle them in when it makes sense.
Last, but not least, if you are looking to rank your images for localized keywords, make sure you do all of the things above, but add local keywords to everything.
For example if your business is located in the San Francisco region, you could have called that Golden Gate Bridge image file:
And for the alt tag, you could have used “San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog” instead of “Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog”.
If you are already optimizing your images for image search, you probably are doing so through alt tags and image file names. But you probably aren’t using the advance tactics such as using GEO location, rich snippets, or even modifying EXIF data.
A lot of those tactics won’t have a huge impact on your image rankings, but if you combine all of them you should see an increase in rankings.
What other ways can you optimize your images?