I’ve noticed a trend in the Google SERPs lately. Google seems to be
integrating their different vertical engines such as Image and Blog search, into
the normal search results. For certain search queries, you even see a few images
appear above the webpage results.
With this change in the way Google displays results, website owners must
place additional focus on optimizing for image results. By taking a quick look
at your log files or analytics software, you might be surprised to see you are
already getting decent traffic from image searches.
The following tips will get you started with optimizing the images that
appear on your site.
Alt Text: Probably the most significant factor in ranking for an image
search is the contents of the image alt property. Basically, the alt text should
contain a brief description of the item as if you were explaining it to a blind
person. After all, the original intention of this property for the vision
Surrounding Text: Google will weigh the surrounding text heavily when
in determining what the picture is about. Be sure to place relevant keywords
above and below the image you are optimizing.
Image File Name: Another important factor is whether or not keywords
are in the image file name. For example, if you were trying to optimize for the
word “Christian t-shirt“, you might name the image christian-t-shirt.jpg. Of course, it
always difficult to optimize this way if you are forced to go back and change
the name of existing images. Keep keywords in mind when you are naming them in
the first place.
Anchor Text: Although it’s somewhat uncommon to link directly to an
image that’s not in a web page, you can greatly increase your ranking by using
relevant anchor text in the hyperlink just as if you were optimizing for a
As people’s search preferences become more sophisticated, the popularity of
vertical search engines will grow. In addition, Google and other SE’s will
likely continue to mix results from various types of content.
Please leave a comment if you’ve used any other tactic for image SEO or have successfully used any of the above.