I’ve written before about how you can optimize your post images to improve your search engine results by tweaking the images you use on your site.
Well, here are a couple more tips for you.
We’ll be looking specifically at Google Search results but, as ever, other major search engines work in a very similar fashion.
1. Use commonly supported Search Engine File types
Don’t use some crazy file format that search engines won’t like and won’t understand. 90% of the time images used online should be .BMP, .GIF, .JPEG, .JPG, .PNG or .SVF. Don’t use .TIFF or proprietary formats (see: Photoshop).
Though it may look great, .TIFF is too big and complicated.
Search engines index these formats easily and quickly.
2. Tag your images
You may need to dip into a little code depending on your platform and the editor you use but it’s worth it a little work – this is an all-too-helpful and too often forgotten step in image optimization.
Look at the code attached to your image. There are 2 parts that you need to look at in particular with regards to tagging your image.
The image title: [title=”title goes here”] This should be a short, succinct title for your image. This shows up whenever someone hovers over the images or in the space where an image should appear.
The alt tag: [alt=”alt tags go here”] This tells the search engine what your image is about.
When tagging your image, use a couple of words – think about what users will search for (carefully pick keywords) and don’t stuff the tags (Search engines don’t like stuffing).
3. Think about Image File Names
“img00000563.jpg” doesn’t really make a lot of sense to anyone – even search engines. Search engines do look at the file names behind the images that you use. Think about something like “Tubu-Logo.jpg” instead of whatever your camera or image editor throws up.
4. Use an Image Sitemap
Sitemaps are important to Search Engines. They like content laid out in a nice, formatted layout that they can quickly understand.
Generate and submit an image sitemap as well as a regular (site) sitemap to search engines.
Creation of an image sitemap can depend on your platform. If you’re using WordPress there are a number of plugins available to generate and update your image sitemap.
Submit your sitemap through Google Webmaster Tools.
5. Use Images in Context
Don’t just throw an image into a page out of context. Think about it – if you put pictures of hot girls on every page of your Home Tea Making site search engines might throw a bit of a fit because you’re abusing the system (and are drawing unsuspecting visitors to a World of Tea).
Use correctly tagged images that are relevant to your site and the content therein.
6. Think about file size but not too much
No, Google doesn’t consider File Size when indexing images. Put a really great quality image on your page. However, consider your page load time.
Google can penalize sites that load overly slowly. Large images sizes can cause a site to become cumbersome and load slowly. Maybe think about thumbnailing your images so that they load quickly on the page but still have a quality version behind them.
7. When linking, use an anchor
If you’re hyperlinking your image to somewhere it’s a good idea to add an anchor text so that Search Engines know why they’re taking you to where they’re going.
Your code may look a little like this [
Similarly to your alt tags the anchor text should be a couple of words about the link.
8. Protect your hard work
Putting your image online often makes it fair game for others to use and re-use.
Your totally awesome of a sock could end up being used on many other sites. Sure, you may have taken the sock picture and put it in your gallery-o-underwear but what if someone is writing about socks and uses the image in the context of their site? Their use of your image should rank higher in the Socks Google Search.
Consider licensing and image attribution – hopefully this way re-users of said images will attribute the image to you. (see: CreativeCommons.org)
9. Don’t make an image out of text
There are so many images online that contain simple little witty quips. Maybe there’s an actual image in there too.
Search engines can’t ‘read’. They can’t look at an image and say “oh, hey – there’s a bunch of text here”. They text needs to be included in the coding of the page/image.
10. Consider the user
This is, after all why you’re putting an image online, right? To attract user attention and drive visitors to your site.
Just use a little common sense and think about your users when inserting images into your pages.
Don’t make them huge, gory, cumbersome, irrelevant, invisible (i.e out of sight). etc.
Author: Andy Quayle
Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.
Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.