SEO how to: Using Image SEO to appear higher in Google search results
Image SEO is relatively overlooked in the SEO world. The fact is that proper image SEO can drive just as much traffic as properly SEO'd content, sometimes more.
SEO tip: Image SEO can help you leapfrog better ranked content and appear higher up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), because Google gives visual content preferential visibility.
This article shows, using some cool webmaster tools search query graphs, how to better select and optimize images, and use them to drive more visitors to your site via organic search results.
Google search and images
Google includes images in search results and also provides a dedicated image search facility. Images that it finds in content, that it believes is highly relevant to a search, may well be displayed on the first page search results, even if the source page does not.
This means that image SEO can get first page visibility even if your content cannot.
Proper Image SEO
Here are the most important SEO factors relating to images:
- Image name: Don't save images with names that are not relevant or meaningful. Google can't tell what an image called "bp_43Ed443.jpg" is about. An SEO image with the name "image-seo.jpg" is likely to have something to do with SEO and images.
- Image context: Google can't understand images. It relies on the content around the image to give it context. In order to properly SEO an image, you must ensure that it is embedded within highly focused and relevant content.
- Alt & Title: Give images both tags. Alt and title text also play a huge role in providing SEO context for Google. Make sure both tags use SEO keywords and phrases that are highly relevant to the image and topic.
Image selection for SEO
Getting Google to return an image in its results is one thing. Getting a visitor to click on that image is another thing altogether. Many bloggers (including myself, in the past), included a blog post picture simply as a visual clue to help readers identify the post a bit easier.
Image SEO obliges you to take a step further and select or create an image that is as compelling as the content summary returned in search results.
If a user searches for "Image SEO", they are far more likely to click on an image that shows something related to SEO, such as analytical data, graphs, etc. I could place a picture of a cat in a blog post on image SEO, and have Google return the result, but cats are not what that user is after.
Images need to be highly relevant and compelling in order to drive traffic.
Monitoring and managing image SEO
Google Webmasters provides a break down of organic search traffic by "Search" type. This means that is is a cinch to find out how much search traffic arises from:
In order to analyze image SEO and image driven traffic patterns:
- Go to "Traffic >> Search Queries" in Webmaster tools
- Click the "Filters" button at the top left of the page
- Select "Image" under "Search" and click "Apply
Webmaster tools search query data (overall)
The following image shows overall Google webmaster tools search query data for seo entrepreneur:
Notice, in particular, that the top two search terms shown in this graph are "easy" and "blogging". Obviously blogging is an extremely competitive term to rank highly on. There are many millions of bloggers and blogs that compete on this term.
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