Images Provide SEO Trafficseo

Written on November 11, 2007 – 11:33 pm | by Shell Harris |

SEO TipsAny good SEO campaign will put the emphasis on ranking your website for based on the content of the site. But overlooking images on the site can be a big mistake, especially if your site is selling products which use imagery as part of the sales pitch. So why not use those image to draw visitors through organic image search?

Your first step should be to set up a Google Account where you can use Webmaster Tools. In Webmaster tools you will find an option under Tools named “Enable enhanced image search”. When this option is enabled Google will cataloging your images for placement in the search results which can increase traffic, especially if you can show in the search results that show images above the organic search results. (See example of Google search with images above organic results for the search term ‘oak tree’)

After you have instructed Google to look for your images, you want to be sure your images are telling Google and the other search engines exactly what the images are showing. How do you do this? Here are some things to pay attention to and think about when using images. I’ve listed them in order of “my importance”.

  1. Image Size Does Matter – Larger images tend to rank better. Most image results that are ranked are over 280 pixels in both directions. Bigger images make sense to show first, all other things being equal. I would shoot for 300 x 300 to be safe. If you can’t display your images that large, a link to a larger version of the image will help. In some cases, scaling your image in the HTML code through the height and width tags can work to show a large image in a smaller area. Just be sure the image quality isn’t degraded through this method. Resizing images with HTML can cause ugly pixelation.
  2. Image Close to Relevant Text – Keywords should be above or below the image in the same DIV tag -or- keywords should be in the same paragraph as the image. Remember you want the keywords and image close. The keyword should be in the same <td> (table cell) as the image if you are using tables.
  3. Page Title & Page Theme - The title, content and image should all be connected.
  4. File Name – It can be difficult to add the name of the image to the file name, especially if the shopping cart software doesn’t allow it, but when you can, be descriptive.
  5. Alt Tags – Alt tags are designed to provide alternative text when the images cannot be displayed. They should be descriptive of the image. Example: <img src=”oak-tree.jpg” width=”200″ height=”350″ alt=”Oak Tree”>
  6. Image Title Tags – This text shows up when you rollover the image in a popup window. It should describe image. Example: <img src=”oak-tree.jpg” width=”200″ height=”350″ alt=”Oak Tree” title=”Oak Tree”>
  7. Image Sitemap – Okay, this is an idea which may or may not be of any help, but it certainly can’t hurt and if you feel your images are important enough to help your rankings then creating a sitemap with descriptive links to your important images might be the extra boost to get your images to the top of the search engine results.

If we put it all together your HTML code should look something like this. I added teh <h5> tag for a little boost but it isn’t crucial, you can use a DIV tag instead. Notice the link (titled) to the larger image. We’ll stay with the oak tree theme.

<h5><a href="/images/oak-tree-large.jpg" title="Oak Tree"><img src="/images/2007/08/oak-tree.jpg" alt="Oak Tree" title="Oak Tree" /></a><br />A beautiful oak tree in a meadow.</h5>

Please share any successes you may have had with image search or ideas you have tried. I’m especially interested in anyone who has tried an image sitemap or what you think of this idea.

Shell Harris co-founded Big Oak on January 1, 2004. In a previous career he was a print & web designer and often developed the sites he designed before focusing on his current passion for search engine optimization and Internet marketing. He is an avid researcher, SEO specialist, company mouthpiece and is always looking for the next big thing in Internet Marketing.

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  1. 5 Responses to “Images Provide SEO Trafficseo”

  2. By Marios Alexandrou on Nov 12, 2007 | Reply

    I agree big images are good, but you can’t always have big images on the page. So to deal with this, display a thumbnail and link that thumbnail to the larger version. Google is smart enough to understand which URL is the referrer and which URL has the large image. This way you can get the benefit of context from the copy surrounding the thumbnail while still getting the boost from having a large image.

  3. By Shell Harris on Nov 12, 2007 | Reply

    As usual you give a helpful and insightful post, Marios. Thanks for the advice and your time to post.

  4. By John Simpson on Dec 22, 2007 | Reply

    I’ve heard of and I employ 1-5 whenever I perform SEO duties on someone’s site, but I was not aware of 6 & 7. Thanks for the information.

    John Simpson

  5. By Hello on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

    Great tips about images. I had not heard of using an image sitemap. We have millions of images for our topics and are always looking for ways to explore this avenue to drive traffic.

  6. By Lost on Jun 20, 2008 | Reply

    Good tips thank you!

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

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