Images are more than just decorative additives that can turn a webpage into an engaging piece of information. They are also perfect assets that can be used to gain some love from the search engines. I have often seen many places where people overlook the search engine optimization of images whereas they can be used to drive traffic not only from the image search but also from the normal universal search results. However, benefiting from image SEO means you must implement some SEO tactics, including using the right anchor text, alt text, descriptive tagging, and few others. These are not hard though; if you can optimize a webpage, there is nothing so new about optimizing an image than playing around with your primary keyword. Here are few tips I have created to guide you towards better image SEO.
Use the Right Image
Using an image for any purpose online should start from searching and using the right image. Just like some images can skyrocket the stickiness of a webpage, others may do more harm than good. Hence the right image must compliment the rest of the content on the webpage. Notably, while most people use to Google out images for their blog posts, it is important you note that companies and sites can take legal action against you if you use an image that you don’t have the permission to re-use. This is why you must create an image yourself, buy license for your images or search and use royalty-free images or creative commons. Personally, I prefer using the creative commons search in Flickr for free images and iStockPhoto to buy license for those I can’t really pass by.
Optimize the File Name
Why leave an image name as 000000000039.jpg when the name can be changed to something that blends with the content of the page. There is no secret to optimizing the image name except to use keyword rich words as your filename. If your blog post is optimized for “Panda Update,” ensure that the image filename reflects that. Additionally, all the images on your site must be of common filetypes like .JPEG, .GIF, .PNG and .BMP and must be placed in one file on your site. This helps the search bots to easily identify and include them in search results. For instance, all the images I used on my review blog where I share reviews about digital product creation services like Mixbook and Pinnacle Studio bear the product name as their filename. This is also what each review page is optimized for.
The Alt Text
This is the first image optimization technique I learnt. Many of us do ignore this section when using images online. Even if you are using a text image, the search bots can’t yet see and categorize it based on the texts, but depends on the surrounding descriptions like the alt text, tags, filename and others to associate it with any keyword. Hence the alt text or tag must be optimized with the same keyword you have in the filename. This is very important.
You may be asking how an anchor text applies to images. I have seen several places where people link to images with keywords like photo, image or any other generic text that doesn’t really describe what the image is all about. In this case, search engines won’t know how to categorize the link and image. But imagine that you used an anchor text that describes the image, you are not only telling the search bots what message the image is carrying and when to include it in search results, but also revealing to readers what they should expect to see in the image.
If you are yet to wake up to the demands of the recent penguin update, it targets keyword stuffing (over-optimization). SEO has suddenly turned into a two-edged sword which will reward your site if done well or hurt your site at the slightest wrong step – it is just a matter of when. To this end, you should avoid stuffing the filename, the alt text or tag and the anchor text with your keyword. While keeping these forms short and as descriptive as possible, I use the keyword only once in each case and have never had any penalty for it.
Think that optimizing your images is a waste of time? Think again! Just like normal webpages, you can also optimize your images not only for search engines but also to increase user experience.
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