Want to know how to use Google Image Search to send traffic back to your site? To do this you need to understand how Google indexes images. Once you optimize your images for Google, they’ll appear in search results and ultimately lead traffic to your site. Here’s how to do it.
Why Use Google Image Search?
It’s all about traffic. It doesn’t matter how ‘good’ your site is, if you don’t get traffic your sunk. Over 8% of the traffic to my site comes from optimizing the images on my site. That’s a lot of free visitors for very little work
- Google Images bring your site a lot of visitors
- Google Images will drive extra traffic is your images rank page 1
- Google Images will drive extra traffic is they are heavily searched, so you want to think in terms of going for specific keywords.
Some sites get more traffic from Google Image search than regular search.
Understand Alt Text
The W3C says you should use Alt text on images to help visually impaired users browse your website. Remember, Google cannot see your site – it reads code.
So, you need to write the code so Google can read/see your site in the correct way, right?
Google Image Bot
This bot crawls the web, indexes images like the regular Googlebot does and looks for keywords.
These are two different bots. However the Google Image bot is very slow and doesn’t visit a site with the frequency of the regular Google search bot.
How To Optimize Images for Google
As Google can’t “see” images, it uses different ways to analyze every graphic.
Here are some of the things it looks for:
- Alt Text
- File Name
- Surrounding Text
- Page Title
My testing shows that Alt Text followed by the File Name are biggest factors in determining how Google Image indexes each image.
What is Alt Text?
This is the ‘alternative’ text you see when you hover over an image.
To include Alt Text in your code, do this:
<img src=”filename.gif” alt=”Enter Alternative Description Here”>
Use real words that will sense to humans and includes the right keywords – don’t over do it or Google will punish you for keyword stuffing.
Use words you would search for if looking for that image.
Avoid filler words such as like, the, and, or, we, are, for, etc.
Right: PayPal logo for ecommerce site
Wrong: this is a logo of PayPal for an ecommerce site
Keep is short and remember that Google prioritizes keywords from left to right.
So, write the most important keywords first.
Image File Name
This is also very important. How you name the image is as important, if not more, than the ALT text.
Instead of calling it pic1234.jpg
use descriptive text such as:
- Make the File Name the same, or very similar to the Alt Text.
- Don’t try and rank the same image for multiple terms by stuffing different keywords in to the Alt and File Names
- This will confuse the Googlebot
- Be consistent
Image File Structure
Use a consistent, and keyword rich, file structure for your images, for instance:
Is much better than:
Does It Work?
You can see if it works when you start seeing images.google.com in your server logs. These will also appear in your Google Webmaster and Analytics stats.
I get a consistent amount of traffic from specific keywords this way. It doesn’t take very long to do and once you create images with Google in mind, your traffic will begin to move up.
Let me know how you get on.