Schedule a FREE Internet Marketing Audit

Optimize Images for Search

July 26, 2010

Since Google just rolled out a new design for the Google Images interface, now is as good a time as any to discuss optimizing images for search. The new Google Images design boasts updates that include a denser tiled layout for viewing more images at once, instant scrolling without letting you get lost in images, larger thumbnail previews, and keyboard shortcuts for quicker navigation.

Google image search, with or without the latest updates, is great for users who are looking for specific images online. It is even better for those optimizing their websites for natural search. Images give us an opportunity to generate more traffic to our websites if handled correctly. Helping the images on our websites show up in Google image search or universal search is fairly simple and can provide great results.

In order for your images to show up in Google, you first have to let Google know they exist. Google now supports images in sitemaps, so make sure you add all of your images to your sitemap and submit it to Google Webmaster Tools.

Sitemaps will help Google know that your image exists and where it is located, but it must also be optimized for a specific keyword phrase. There are three important aspects to the optimization:

  1. Include the keyword phrase in the filename of the image (i.e. search-engine-optimization.jpg)
  2. Include the keyword phrase in the Alt tag of the image (i.e. alt=”Search Engine Optimization”
  3. Link to the image from other pages of your website and from other websites using the keyword phrase as anchor text (the words that are clickable)

Think of each image on your website as an opportunity to drive traffic and make sure each one is optimized.