Next to contextual search (i.e. just a plain 'regular' search on a search engine
Image Search is the fastest growing vertical search in the space.
Compared to shopping, news, blogging, etc., image search has them beat
by a mile. However, what's even more important about image search, is
how Google's Universal Search, Ask's 3d Search and Yahoo's Blended
Search are utilizing and incorporating images from each of their image
search verticals into the 'regular' search results.
No longer are images appearing as just 3 images at the top of a results
page, you'll see images incorporated in a lot of different ways. You'll
see images coming up with the news one boxes, with descriptions of
videos that aren't on Google Video or YouTube, a group of images could
appear at the bottom of a page, as opposed to the top of the page. All
of the search engines are striving to make the results more relevant
and incorporating images into the results is definitely part of that
So with that in mind, here's 5 tips to make sure you're optimizing your sites images for the search engines.
September 6, 2007
that the folder you are storing your images in is not blocked by your
robots.txt file. Prior to the rise in popularity of image search, it
was common practice to block the folder images were stored in. Helpful hint:
Store your navigational and "structural" type graphics in one folder,
and block that from the spiders, store the pictures of products,
events, or news related images in another folder and open that one to
Image File Names:
Name your images in a way that describes what they are. Don't get
carried away though. If it's a picture of a purple widget, name it
purple-widget.jpg, rather than leaving it whatever your camera or photo
editing software wants to name it. Helpful Hint: Use dashes between the words, rather than underscores.
Use the Alt Attribute of the IMG tag:
Make sure you are using the "alt" attribute of the image tag. Again,
like the image name, don't over do it, but ensure that it describes the
image you are trying to present to the user. The attribute should
describe the image in a short "to the point" way that reads naturally
to the viewer. Helpful Hint: Utilizing the alt attribute also
helps visitors who do not run with images on, as well as visitors with
disabilities that utilize screen readers to understand what the web
page is about.
Use a Caption By Your Image:
Placing a small caption directly under, on top or on the side of your
image will help queue the search engines what the image is about. Helpful Hint:
With a caption, you can be a little more descriptive about the picture
than with the alt attribute, but again, make it flow natural.
Include Images With Articles, & Press Releases:
If you are sending out an article or a press release, don't forget to
include an image, or a url to an image that the news outlets can
utilized for their version of your news. By supplying the link to the
image, it can encourage them to link to the image itself straight from
your own website. Helpful Hint: Adding images to articles and press releases makes them more appealing to the reader.
Liana "Li" Evans is the director of internet marketing at KeyRelevance Search Engine Marketing. She oversees all social media, online PR and word-of-mouth marketing efforts for a variety of clients within the company’s portfolio. Li also collaborates with the team on all SEO (Natural Search) optimization for clients. Since 1999 Liana has been active in the search marketing arena, becoming well versed in all avenues of search marketing but with particular focus on natural search, image search, and social media. She also has substantial experience in areas of the retail industry regulated by the FTC. Prior to Li’s tenure at KeyRelevance Search Engine Marketing, she helped to design, plan, and implement an Internet Retailer 500 company’s efforts into natural search optimization, successfully revamping outdated navigation and site architecture. Li is an accomplished programmer and database programmer/designer familiar with the demands of large-scale, dynamic retail sites.
Liana holds a B.A. in Information Systems with a minor in Public Relations from Susquehanna University, and an Associates Degree in Mass Communications/Public Relations from Pennsylvania College of Technology. She currently lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Limerick, PA and runs the search marketing blog Search Marketing Gurus.