[Video] Marketing Academy Secrets: The Importance of SEO for Images
By Seth Price
In episode #6 of Marketing Academy Secrets, we explore how you can optimize images for better search engine rankings.
When you search for something in Google, Bing, or Yahoo!, you always have the option to show only the image results. This is distinctly important for you when you’re creating content because you want your images to show up when someone’s searching for real estate, houses, or pools in your area. The key here is to start with image formats that the search engines can understand. Google, for example, can index the following formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, and SVG.
The second thing you want to think about is making sure that you’ve titled your images in plain English. When you take a photo, generally what your camera is going to do is give it a numeric value based upon the number of pictures that you’ve taken. And for search that’s really useless, and for humans that’s useless because it doesn’t provide any memorable or valuable information. But if you use copy that describes what’s in the image, it makes it easier for the viewer to find it and it also makes it easier for the search engines to find it.
Some people take naming to the extreme and “keyword stuff” image titles with lots of terms that are only partially relevant. This is a bad habit. Search engines are much more savvy than they used to be, so you should really treat them like you’d treat a person: You’re trying to provide enough information that’s really useful so they can make a decision, but not overwhelm them with random things just so you think you can get found. I like to focus on writing for humans. Search, after all, is about discovery by an individual. When I’m searching for something, I’m using language that makes sense to me, and your customers are doing the same thing. Make sure you always keep that in mind.
After you’ve titled your images correctly, you’ve used the right formats, and you’ve sized your images correctly for your site so they look really good, the next step is to make sure that you submit a site map. A site map is simply a list of all of the pages on your website that search engines can crawl. So the first thing you need to do — if you haven’t done so already — is create a site map for your website. Otherwise, it’s really difficult for the search engines to discover images on your site.
If you’re using WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin, a site map will be generated for your site automatically as an XML file. If you’re using another platform, you need to do a little research to figure out how to generate a site map. It’s usually very simple and there’s lots of writing on it. If you’ve ever used Google’s Webmaster Tools or Bing’s Webmaster Tools, they also have lots of content on how to generate a site map.
Lastly, you want to make sure that you’re using high-quality images and that you have the rights to use them. One of the things that people have become comfortable with lately is using images that aren’t theirs. Search engines can recognize this and it also doesn’t give you anything that’s distinctive or unique on your site since you’re using something that was created by someone else. You really want to create unique images for your site so folks can have a sense of discovery. (There’s also a copyright issue, so you’ll want to be careful with that!)
Have you been optimizing your images for search engine discovery? Do you have some helpful image SEO tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!
Published on June 10, 2013
Written by Seth Price
Seth is a brand and marketing strategist with 20 years of digital marketing experience. He’s a founding team member and VP @Placester, author of the bestselling small business marketing book, The Road to Recognition and host of The Craft of Marketing and Marketing Genius podcasts. As a speaker, writer, and marketing workshop leader, Seth brings levity, mentorship, and a dose of reality to the businesses and entrepreneurs he coaches.