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One of the most overlooked aspects of SEO is images. Most websites have lots of images but few actually apply SEO techniques to them.

Not implementing SEO techniques with your images could mean that you're missing out on valuable traffic from Google Image Search, which is one of Google's most popular properties. Here are 5 SEO tips that can help you capitalize on all of the searches that are being done for images.

Use Descriptive Image Names and Folder Names

If you're using image names like 00103.jpg on your website, you can't expect search engines to easily identify what the image might contain.

Use descriptive image names instead. If your website contains an image of a red iPod Nano, for instance, the image name red-apple-ipod.jpg is better. If you really want to get sophisticated, you can build a folder structure that includes relevant keywords as well (i.e. /products/apple/iPods/red-iPod-nano.jpg).

Unfortunately, a lot of content management systems and ecommerce platforms automatically give uploaded images useless names (and place them into folders with useless names) so you may need to modify your software to achieve better naming and folder structures. But if you have lots of images, doing so may be a worthwhile investment.

Use Descriptive Alt Tags

Another way you can give search engines clues about what's contained in your images is to use descriptive alt tags.

The more descriptive, the better, within reason, of course. You don’t want to be too generic, but at the same time you don’t want your alt tags to contain a Tolstoy novel. For instance, instead of using 'Ford Mustang' as your alt tag, 'This blue 1965 Ford Mustang won best of show' is better.

On my websites, I've noticed that Google Image Search seems to like sentence-form descriptions better and while I won't say that I have enough data to call this observation 100% accurate, it seems logical, as text in sentence-form is likely to contain more descriptive keywords and probably gives search engines a clue that you're not spamming.

On that note, a reminder: do not under any circumstances use keyword stuffing in your alt tags.

Use Descriptive Anchor Text

As with alt text, if you're linking to your images using text, use good anchor text that describes the contents of the image. Most of the time, this probably means that anchor text contains some of the same keywords you've used in the image name and alt text.

Use Larger Images

I've read several reports suggesting that Google Image Search prefers images that are on the larger side. While I have no first-hand evidence of this, it's important to remember that SEO isn't truly effective unless users click on your listings.

Since it does make sense that if someone is searching for an image, he'll probably be more inclined to click on a larger image with higher quality than a smaller image with lower quality, using a larger image seems to be a good approach where available and appropriate.

Focus on the Page

As with all SEO, context is everything. It's not just about naming your image files right, using good alt text, etc. It's about making sure that the pages your images are located on are tasty to search engines too.

When your pages themselves are well-optimized, the implementation of these image SEO tips will be icing on the cake.

Patricio Robles

Published 10 February, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2429 more posts from this author

Comments (22)

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eddiedamon

Really your article is intresting in 5 steps you explained entire thing thanks for sharing

almost 8 years ago

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Zen Cart men

It was very informative to read your post. I didn't know about that trick with descriptive names. Thanks :)

almost 8 years ago

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Andy Field

Pet peeve. It's alt attribute NOT alt tag.

almost 8 years ago

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Anonymous

It is really good post.. Apart form that I have a suggestion regarding image optimization Put different alt tag with same at different pages.

almost 8 years ago

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SEOPascal

Link the image.

almost 8 years ago

david carralon

david carralon, Head of SEO EMEA & APAC at Career Builder

great post, some good points to remember that are often neglected by SEOs, including me.

thanks

david

almost 8 years ago

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Justin Brooke

This should serve as an effective guide on making the images of the site a partner in optimizing the website. Thanks for sharing.

almost 8 years ago

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Tamon

Thanks for the info, sounds like a great strategy.

over 7 years ago

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San Diego Web Design

Real distinct tips that will help a lot. thanks for posting this. A really effictive guide about web images.

-peter

over 7 years ago

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seo services

Traffic from images can also convert into customer that's why it's a plus points if your images is optimized.

over 7 years ago

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Ayesha khan

There is one simple question i like to ask, what about a website full of images and images only ? how can google rank ? we are using alt tags and description as well, yet we are back-behind in google ranking ? can u say anything ?

about 7 years ago

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Sahil

Hi,

Great seo tips, I was fnding such tips, Now I have learned more

Thanks for sharing info

about 7 years ago

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vsotto

great post. and i just like to ask regarding image naming convention like: "this-blue-1965-ford-mustang-won-best-of-show-2009-11-31.jpg", is valid or optimize for seach engine? adding the year-month-day after "alt" descreption.

just need some clarification :)

thanks,

vsotto

  

about 7 years ago

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shoaib hussain

thanx a lot for such nice tips ,lately my traffic from the Google images has dropped so I guess i need to implement your suggestions.

over 6 years ago

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myster9

Seriously, nice way to wrap things up in a post!!

I never realised naming of image was a factor, okay tell me if I name my image as red apple ipod.jpg instead of red-apple-ipod.jpg would that be same or latter is more appropriate regarding #SEO

over 5 years ago

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SEO Las Vegas

You are spot on! My brother designed a website for me and named the photos with a generic 0012.jpeg extension when he should of been describing the picture.

I only noticed this after I had uploaded some videos and did a search for my vidoes then I clicked on images and noticed image results for my links but not from my website.

about 5 years ago

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Site prebuilder

The context of the image is also really important. Google gleans information about the image from the content it is embedded in

over 4 years ago

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Frederick Baker

Build links intelligently. Begin with foundational links like trusted directories. (Yahoo and DMOZ are often cited as examples, but don’t waste time worrying about DMOZ submission. Submit it and forget it.) Seek links from authority sites in your industry. If local search matters to you (more on that coming up), seek links from trusted sites in your geographic area — the Chamber of Commerce, local business directories, etc. Analyze the inbound links to your competitors to find links you can acquire, too. Create great content on a consistent basis and use social media to build awareness and links.

over 4 years ago

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Steve Bowling

Use press releases wisely. Developing a relationship with media covering your industry or your local region can be a great source of exposure, including getting links from trusted media web sites. Distributing releases online can be an effective link building tactic, and opens the door for exposure in news search sites. Related bonus tip: Only issue a release when you have something newsworthy to report. Don’t waste journalists’ time.

over 4 years ago

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Rob Sheppard

Thankyou for these tips, hope they can improve our google image rankings

over 4 years ago

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BlogDips.com

Actually image seo is very important for total seo. And the most important option is add Alt tags. Thanks for your nice post:)

almost 4 years ago

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caftan marocain

Thank you for these so useful tips, and I'd love to ask something : what if a blog used to be well optimised on google & google image search en engine and suddenly in one day traffic decreased - 70% and all the images disappeared from the first results ? What's the problem in your opinion? thanks

over 3 years ago

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