Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Google Image Search: What You Should Know

Google image search is increasing in importance on the world wide web. Curious about this functionality, I did some digging on what it takes to get your photos ranked well in this image search engine. Here are some great tips to follow:

Ranking high in Google’s image search can increase your traffic considerably. This is especially true if you can rank in the top three for search results that show images above the organic search results.

1. Make your images large - Large images tend to rank higher than smaller images. I recommend making images you want to rank high in searches at least 10,000 square pixels. An image that is larger than 333 pixels wide by 334 pixels tall would work.

I just did an image search for internet marketing and there were only two images with less than 10,000 square pixels on the first results page.

Make sure to specify the width and the height of the image in your html.

2. Put your keywords in the file name - If you want your image to rank high for the term ‘internet marketing’, name it ‘internet-marketing.jpg‘.

3. Put your keywords in the Alt tags - This is probably the most obvious thing to do. Alt tags are designed to provide alternative text when images cannot be displayed. They should describe what the image is about.

4. Put your keywords in the image title tag - Many people don’t realize that there is a title tag associated with images. The text in the title tag is shown when the user mouses over the image. Put the same text in the title tag that you put in the Alt tag.

5. Put your keywords in the text close to the image - I recommend putting descriptive text that includes your keywords below each image that you want to rank high in image searches. This is just more information for Google to use in determining what your image is about.

6. Optimize your page for the keywords - Include the keywords in the title tags, meta tags, header tags and the body copy of your page. Keyword density of the page that the image is on is very important.

7. Create an image site map - I have just started testing this out, but I have high hopes for it. Create a page with text links to all the images on your site that you want to rank high in image searches. Use the appropriate keywords for your anchor text when linking to the images.

An image site map is a great way to get links that come directly into your images and it lets the search engines know more about what the images are about.

8. Increase the authority of your web site - Images on pages with high Page Rank tend to rank higher in image searches. Build links into the page where the image is located and both your organic and image search rankings should improve.

9. Prevent the framing of your web site with javascript - You can stop Google from framing your web site by adding javascript code to your pages.

The idea here is that when somebody clicks on the image thumbnail in the search results they will go directly to the page on your site where the image is located without seeing the Google frame that has a direct link to the image. You should get more page views by using this javascript. I’m not sure if Google will penalize your site for using such code.

I would love to hear of any other techniques that you have found successful for increasing your image search results.

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