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How to Optimize Images for Google Image Search

Google Image SearchEarlier in the month Chris Pearson wrote a post that I missed but which I think deserves a look if you’re interested in directing more traffic to your site via Google – well via Google Image Search.

In it Chris outlines how to optimize images that you might use on your blog to increase the chances of them being highly ranked in Google Image Search.

Speaking from personal experience – the optimization tips works and I would recommend following his advice.

In short – make sure that before you upload an image that you name it with relevant keywords for your post and that you use the ‘alt’ attribute (again with relevant keywords – I make them the same as my image name) when adding your code.

Now some people might say that traffic from Google Image Search doesn’t ‘convert’ in terms of becoming loyal or in terms of revenue.

My experience is that this is not true for a few reasons:

  • CPM Ads – when you select an image using Google Image Search you not only see the image but the site it comes from . This creates an impression (or page view) which is counted in your CPM ads.
  • Non CPM Ads – I was of the opinion that other types of ads wouldn’t see much of an increase from Google Image Search traffic – however a year ago I saw something that made me think twice about this. I was involved on a blog at that time that saw over 90% of it’s traffic arrive from Image searches. My assumption was that this wouldn’t make much from AdSense – but was surprised to see that it converted quite well. This one off site could have been a freak of nature – but to me it showed made me realize that it is possible to earn money from non CPM ads from Image Search Traffic.
  • Loyal Readers - On the same site I saw (over a period of time) the conversion of Image Search Traffic into a loyal readership. When people arrived on the site looking for images they obviously saw content that they found compelling enough to read more of (beyond the images).

I suspect that traffic from Google Image Search doesn’t convert as well as other traffic – however at some levels traffic is traffic and getting eyeballs on your blog via any means gives you the chance of ‘conversion’ (what ever that might mean for your particular site).

But Wait There’s More

I should also add that many SEO experts that I’ve read believe that the technique that Chris outlines will also help with SEO in Google Search (and other search engines).

Having the keywords of your post appear in your image tags is just another small onsite SEO factor that tells Google what your post is about. While it might not be as powerful as other techniques it all adds up and is a good habit to get into when using images.

Found via Fitness Mantra

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I have heard that celebrity blogs do very well out of image searches, others that do quite well are blogs about tv shows (eg. do a search for “Katee Sackhoff” or “Jamie Bamber”, find a Battlestar Galactica blog, subscribe to the feed). The main people I hear about optimising this way though are travel blogs (eg. a search for “Lake Louise” returns lots of lovely Canada pictures, visitor explores the Canada Vacations posts and hopefully leaves via a hotel affiliate link …)

  2. myzine says:

    I agree with you , Image search can convert very nicely

    does to my @ http://www.myzine.com

  3. jeff barson says:

    Is there a potential problem you might have with hotlinking to your images and the additional bandwidth you might end up paying for?

  4. >>Is there a potential problem you might have with hotlinking to your images and the additional bandwidth you might end up paying for?

    Each time an image is served from your host you use bandwidth, however, with today’s typical bandwidth limits optimizing for images will probably not push you over your threshold. If it does become a problem then you either 1) Are using an outdated host and should consider doing some comparison shopping or 2)Have reached a level of web traffic success that behooves you to upgrade your account. (Hint, if you have that much traffic and upgrading is financially problematic then you are most likely under-performing your monetization potential.)

    For advanced image optimizers, you may be able to give yourself an extra edge by placing a title, keywords and tags into your images’ internal properties. You can do this with image editors like Photoshop. Even if Google and other image search engines are not using these internal fields today you can bet that they will in the future. Already we are seeing online applications grab content from images’ internal fields to display data such as ‘what are the most popular cameras being used.’

  5. Miha says:

    I did a little experiment a while ago to gain some traffic with images and popular keywords from SE. You can read it at:
    How to use beautiful women for website traffic increase

  6. Andy says:

    Whilst is might be good for SEO it’s a bad move for accessibility. Stuffing the alt and title attributes of image tags is not going to make it friendly towards screen readers, etc.

  7. Darren Rowse says:

    Jeff – i think SEO critique answers it pretty well. Get your image size down and with a decent host and it’s ok.

    Andy – I wouldn’t encourage keyword stuffing as such. My approach is simply to give the image a descriptive title. If the image is a yellow flower – call it ‘yellow flower’.

    The more relevant the name of the image and alt tags are to the image and the content that it appears around the better both for users and for search engines. Stuff your image tags with lots of irrelevant words and you’ll not only frustrate users but run the risk of being penalized by Google too.

  8. Allen.H says:

    @Jeff: Depends on how big the image is in terms of size and how big the search volume is. I think that in most cases the additional bandwidth cost isn’t significant at all.

    Allen.H

  9. Alex Becker says:

    Hey thanks for the advice. I will give it a try and see how it goes.

  10. thanks for this little tip… for some reason, I honestly hadn’t thought about doing this until now. It’s amazing how the little things can slip through the cracks. Okay, I must admit this intrigues me enough to try a little experiment. I have a little extra time today so I am going to go back through all my posts and just redo the alt attribute, and report back next week. (my blog is still fairly new, 3 months, so this isn’t as bad as it sounds)

    if anything, I’ll get used to doing this in the process and it will just become second nature.

  11. okay, I’ll only do 99 posts… (blogdesk only allows so many for editing)

  12. Mike says:

    I always wondered if you should use the same or different text for alt and title tags.

  13. Hello Darren,

    Glad you and your readers found the tip useful. You will not believe how many hits I get from people searching for “fat babies” (and i totally used the image from a fitness point of view – http://www.fitnessmantra.info/2006/08/14/infants-are-increasingly-overweight-even-obese/)! :-)

    Jeff, as for hot-linking, there are ways to configure your server not to allow other hosts to hot-link to your images (.htaccess baby!) and to only allow them to show up on your site (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=htaccess+prevent+hotlinking&btnG=Google+Search).

    Hope that helped,
    -FM.

  14. Dave Starr says:

    I don’t use many images on my blogs, but I did notice earlier this week that when I coined a cutesy title about “showing a little leg” and included a picture of Kati Couric’s famous gams my traffic didn’t double, it tripled. Never underestimate the power of an image or the prurience of the average Internet searcher I guess.

    My wife’s cooking blog is image heavy, (more than 10% of her traffic consistently comes from image search) she takes pictures of most of the dishes she mentions and we “watermark” them with her blog URL so those that get “borrowed” serve as advertising.

    @ Jeff (and others) suffering with bandwidth issues … a. the name of the game is traffic, and hosting accounts with massive traffic allowances are just too numerous to mention, shop around. b. Any decent web hosting company has anti-hot linking software/setups available on their servers so again, find a better host or seek some competent setup advice so you can enjoy the power of pictures.

    Mt dream is to wake up on morning and get a notice my blog is approaching bandwidth limits … that’s when I’ll know I am “in the club”.

  15. Ray says:

    Nice article, yes with an complete information on the image tag its will optimize on Search image

  16. It is well known that Google like images since it is proof that your site is made for users.

  17. Jen says:

    This tip accords with my experience. At first I thought that all the traffic from image searches was ‘wasted’ bandwidth, but a more careful scan of the logs shows multiple page views from a good number of these ‘accidental’ readers. Maybe as this tip becomes better known, it’ll encourage image optimization in the interests of saving bandwidth… and that’s a good thing, since we’re still seeing soooo many of those unnecessarily huge original images crammed into small display spaces with forced ‘height’ and ‘width’ just slowing down the page load…

    Another thought – visitors who come to me from image searches are likely to be ‘fresh meat’ for the most part, people who might not otherwise find a certain site through the usual (highly competitive) text search – the battle of the keywords is a hard one for little guys to win!

  18. This has been my experience based on using google image search. Alt-ed up images bring interested traffic and it can convert. I don’t have experience there, but it probably also works well for those in adult sites.

    On a related note, Darren, I noticed your optimization technique of including an alt-ed image in most of your posts. Smooth operator… Where do you get those graphics btw? Is it a deal with a graphics specialist, some filters in PS?…

  19. Saptarshi says:

    Good post and I can actually vote for the fact that image searches do contribute to your traffic and at times “useful” traffic. Besides the simple points mentioned here like keyword in file name and using proper alt attributes I have taken a few more steps while experimenting with SEO for Google image search that would contribute not only to SEO for google images search but also make the page more optimized for the normal web search.

  20. Saptarshi says:

    Good post and I can actually vote for the fact that image searches do contribute to your traffic and at times “useful” traffic. Besides the simple points mentioned here like keyword in file name and using proper alt attributes I have taken a few more steps while experimenting with SEO for Google image search ( http://seo-kolkata.blogspot.com/2007/03/search-engine-optimization-for-google.html ) that would contribute not only to SEO for google images search but also make the page more optimized for the normal web search.

  21. Painter says:

    Good advices.

    But what to do with sites, written in languages differents from English? :(

    I can’t name files with Russian keywords.

  22. I do not use SEO on my image. but to use tag maybe yes.
    Because I think the reason people use image search is to see the picture, not a website. sometimes people like to search and copy the picture to their own hard drive.

    So from all those reasons, I believe i will not get targeted traffic from image search.

  23. web designer says:

    I place my website images names as keywords or keyphrases based………it helps me lot…thanks for a nice article….!!

  24. ban says:

    I found one Image search this search will display details about all the keywords. And it has about millions of image searches.
    This search will helps how to optimise the images in our blogs in order to increase the rank in google search engine.

  25. izle says:

    My wife’s cooking blog is image heavy, (more than 10% of her traffic consistently comes from image search) she takes pictures of most of the dishes she mentions

Trackbacks

  1. [...] How to Optimize Images for Google Image Search (tags: seo images search optimize google) [...]

  2. [...] Is it just me, or is pretty much every Marketing and SEO Blog on the internet posting about how to Optimize your site for Google Images traffic, its just as if people have finally realised they can get traffic from the images, heres a few examples.  ProBlogger, Pearsonified, Tucows. Now, don’t get us wrong, theres nothing wrong with bloggers telling people about new ways to get more traffic to their websites, but it is interesting how a lot of people blog about it at the same time, although its not something ‘new’. In the spirit of Google ol’ Search engine optimization, heres a look at what you can do to optimize your images for better rankings on Google Image Search. [...]

  3. [...] How to Optimize Images for Google Image Search [...]