Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips for Images

- May 21, 2012

When you view a webpage, your eye automatically darts between the text and the images, taking in all that you see and processing the information to determine what parts of the page are important and what to do next.   Search engine spiders “crawl” a page (by sorting through the text and code) looking for text that they can process and categorize.   Unfortunately they are unable to “see” the images that you have displayed on your website; however, they will be able to crawl the text associated with an image if you or your website designers use the following suggestions.

Alt attribute text is a section of the code behind an image that tells a browser what alternative text should be displayed if the image doesn’t load or the user has images turned off.   This alt text should be a description of what the image says or is about.   Savvy search engine optimizers will make a note to use the keywords that people would search for to find the image in an image search or the page associated with the image in the alt text.   The alt text is readable to search engine spiders as they crawl code looking for text that they can categorize; the follow is what the spider will crawl, an example of what alt text would look like if the image has yet to load, and how the final loaded image renders in a browser.

<img src=”…/keyword-rich-image-name.jpg” alt=”alt text goes here”>

Above is the snippet of code that tells the browser where to load an image from and what alternate text should be displayed.

Another way that the search engine spiders can categorize an image is through reading the text in the image name.   For example, in the example code above, the image name is “keyword-rich-image-name.jpg” and could possibly show up in a theoretical image search for the keyword phrase “keyword rich image.”   If an image is optimized for appearing in a Google Image Search, it may also appear in something called Universal Search.   A search resulting in a Universal Search would result in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that shows results Google has pulled from Image Search, Video search, and other available searches that are relevant to the searched keyword phrase.   Most recently, Google has unveiled the Google Knowledge Graph which may also pull images into a new type of search result.   Keep reading MoreVisibility’s SEO blog for updates on Google Knowledge Graph.

Optimizing images is an important factor in SEO as well as website design and development.   The main takeaways here are:

  • Use alt tags
  • Use keywords in your image names

Added Note: Make sure that the images, alt tags, and image names are all relevant to the page they are included on, otherwise the search engine spider may not consider them relevant and choose not to display them in search results for certain queries.

Using the above suggestions will hopefully improve the search engine rankings of your images for your targeted keywords and allow search engine spiders to crawl your code and “see” the full representation of your website.

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