In this article you'll learn the most important SEO (search engine optimization) practices when it comes to uploading pictures to your website or blog. What you'll get is more traffic to your blog from Google Image Search which basically means more visitors, more subscribers and, why not, more money from advertisers.
Too many bloggers (especially beginners) are doing this wrong and they keep asking why their blogs aren't getting the desired traffic?! Well, it's all about the reader, isn't it?
Let's start with you. When was the last time you typed in Google's search box something like IMG.00543? Or JPEG.23? I'll take the liberty to answer that: NEVER (or maybe just 0.01% of the times).
You are just another consumer of information like any other internet enthusiast. You really shouldn't look further than yourself to discover a pattern of how people think when they're searching for something on the web (be it images or webpages).
Have you ever wondered how does Google and other search engines know what images to render for a specific query? It is because the webmasters and bloggers who run those websites (displayed in the search results) did 3 simple things to tell search engines what their images are about.
To have a sense of how much you need to implement the SEO for your images, ask yourself this question:
- Do I use lots of photos/images in my blog?
So here are the three smart rules you need to follow when adding images to your blog:
1. Give a proper filename to your picture.
Leaving your photos or graphic images untitled is just not good... IMG.00543 doesn't mean anything even if the picture is one of the greatest mountain landscapes ever caught on a DSLR camera.
What you can do instead is give a relevant, keyword rich filename to your images. Keep the filenames as short as possible (up to 5 words) and think about the words you'll use if you'd like to find such a picture in the image search results - use those words in the filename.
Example: climbing-free-solo-el-capitan.jpg or mountain-bike-vector-t-shirt-print.png
You don't have to use hyphens between words, you can leave blank spaces without any loss in terms of SEO. Remember that using underscores (like_this) is interpreted as if the whole title is a single word. However, you'll find images in the search results that have their filename words linked with underscores so the sigle word thing doesn't always apply.
Highball Blog works with blank spaces or hyphens and it seems to work beautifully for all the free vectors.
2. Use the alt tag in the HTML code of the picture.
The alt tag or the alt attribute of the image is the piece of code that tells browsers and search engines what your picture is about. That is of course if you describe your picture well within the inverted comas (the value of the alt attribute is the text description that you must add).
Remember those times when your internet connection was too slow that the images didn't load? In some cases, instead of the images you got blank white squares with some text in each square. Those pieces of text are the alt tags. If the images didn't have alt tags you would see just their filenames (too many times, names like IMG.00543 which didn't tell you anything about the content of the picture).
Example: alt="Climbing Vector Design for Your T-shirt" or alt="Deep Water Solo Climbing in Bulgaria"
Even if your readers can't see your images, at least they have a hint about the content so they'll have a reason to come back later (when the internet connection is better).
Just like the filenames, keep the alt tags short and relevant and try to use synonyms. That is, don't copy the filename in the title tag.
Example: filename DIY-glidecam-for-GoPro-camera alt="Home Made Steadicam for GoPro HD" These two pieces of text are different but they convey the same message: the picture shows a do it yourself camera stabilizer for GoPro.
The ideea is this: use simple words that your readers are likely to type in the search box when they are looking for a solution to their problem.
Matt Cutts Discusses the Importance of Alt Tags - Video
3. Add a title attribute to your image
The title attribute of the HTML image code is the message you see when you hover your mouse cursor over an image (or link). This is the only text, attached to the image code, that your readers will see, so use it as a way to communicate with them. Offer an explanation just like you would in a caption.
Example: title="Google Image Search for Mountain Bike Vector"
Scroll up to the begging of this post and you'll see this title suggestion when you place the hand cursor over the image. The image shows the results for mountain bike vector.
Now, you may ask: What the hell is an alt tag?!?! And the answer is: you don't really have to know. As long as you know what it does (tells search engines what your picture is about) and you use it correctly, you'll get more traffic to your blog.
Adding the alt and title attributes means you have to work within the HTML view of your blogging software. You'll do this after you upload the picture. The final result (in Blogger) should look like this:
<a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dDUHPa7QgaM/TLq5Pn2hrmI/AAAAAAAAEAs/1TCVAfZdeZ8/s1600/MTB+Vector+Google+Image+Search.PNG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img alt="SEO for Images - Google Image Search" border="0" height="206" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dDUHPa7QgaM/TLq5Pn2hrmI/AAAAAAAAEAs/1TCVAfZdeZ8/s400/MTB+Vector+Google+Image+Search.PNG" title="Google Image Search for Mountain Bike Vector" width="400" /></a>
The green code is of no interest to us now. This is the link that leads to the picture shown in full size (opens in a new tab). The orange and red lines of code are the alt and title attributes of the image tag (<img ... />).
Remember that this works with any what type of blogging software you may use: Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, Tumblr, Posterous, etc. If you're not publishing your content on a blog and you have a custom build website, the image SEO tips still apply. Actually, Google advises webmasters to have clear descriptive alt tags for their images.
So there you have it. Apply these three SEO tactics for your images and you'll get more traffic to your blog from Google Image Search.
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