Image Optimization for Image SearchMany of my friends blog and they always ask for search engine optimization hints. They want to know every way possible to increase their organic referral traffic. They also cannot afford having a full-time or part-time SEO consultant working on their blog or website, so I must give them SEO advice that they can implement on their own. Image optimization is one easy SEO task any blogger can leverage to increase search engine traffic. Just about every blogger adds at least one image to a post. Do not waste that opportunity to attract more eyeballs to your blog.

The first step is doing some keyword research to determine the keywords you want to target for your blog post. Generally, you want to target one primary keyword and have a few related terms that are incorporated into the blog post content. Those same keywords will be used to optimize the image or images in the blog post.

Before you upload your image to your blogging platform or through FTP to your blog server you must name the image filename properly. That is right the filename is important. Do not name your images fa098fwew08.jpg. No one is searching for the term “fa098fwew08” and no one is searching for the stereotypical web developer naming conventions; header_image_banner_340x720.jpg. Users do not see the filename unless they view your blog’s source code or save the image.

Next you must add your targeted keyword to the image ALT text attribute. Search engine cannot read or view the image. They cannot determine the content of the image, but only know there is an image file within the content. The image ALT text is an attribute is your opportunity to describe the content of that particular image. This is another great opportunity to use your targeted keyword. The image ALT text can be viewed by a user in some browsers when they hover their mouse over the image.

Text surrounding the image or a caption is another opportunity to assist the search engines in determining the content of the image, but keep in mind this is content the user will see. Use your targeted keyword in a manner that makes sense.

So lets optimize the glorious image below:

Batman Dark Knight Rises Poster Image

If I were writing a blog post for the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises I would do keyword research around that phrase. For this post we are going to assume “Batman Dark Knight Rises” is the best keyword.

Image filename = batman-dark-knight-rises.jpg

Image ALT text = Batman Dark Knight Rises Poster Image

Caption = Batman Dark Knight Rises

I presumably would also write content about that movie since I was using that image for my blog post. So the written content near the image is about my targeted keyword which is also the keyword I am using for image optimization. When someone is using Google or Bing Image Search and they are seeking images about the Dark Knight Rises the goal is your image ranks high for that search query. When the user clicks on that image in the Image Search results page they are directed to your blog post. More traffic from the search engines!

You also want to do the following to increase your Image Search performance:

  • Always upload your images to the same folder and allow the search engines to crawl that folder
  • Keep the image file size low
  • Create a photo sharing account and post your images (Flickr)
  • Do not create a page plastered with images and no content

For that last point you want the image or images to support your written content. Also, search engines cannot read images, so do not write your content in the image.

Finally, why did I use the Batman image as an example? Because Batman is flat out awesome. He is so awesome I am even wearing a Batman t-shirt as I write this post.

11 Replies to “Bloggers You Are Missing Out on Image Search Traffic”

  1. Hi Garth,

    timely post for me. Thank God I do not have that many pictures yet. Is it of any help to have a photo sharing account if my blog is not part of my website. I use WordPress hosted by WordPress?


    ps. which plug-in have you used the add-me icons?

    1. Jorgen,

      I am not sure if there is a difference in how images are uploaded with a WordPress hosted versus non-WordPress hosted blog. However, I suspect they are uploaded in the same manner so definitely follow the advice in the post. 

      I would also use your targeted keyword when creating a filename, and tagging when uploading to a image share network. 

      Finally, the Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn icons in the upper right of my blog template are not from a plugin but are baked right into the blog template code. My template was free and came from this site . They have quite a few rocking WordPress templates.

      If you are referring to the share icons right below the post itself, then I am using the Sexy Bookmarks plugin. Great customization capabilities and easy to use.

      Also, if you are looking to increase eyeballs I would recommend getting off the WordPress hosted plan and moving your WordPress blog to a paid hosting environment. I use GoDaddy, but have also used Powweb and a few others. Hope that helps!

  2. Garth,

    I am a virgin blogger and this article has really inspired me.  Read in the nick of time. Awesome, beeches!


    “where beauty and fashion come to play”

  3. You’re right, Batman is awesome and so is this post! I knew of the importance of image searches, but I didn’t know about enabling Image Search on Google Webmaster. I also like your idea of uploading my images to Flickr. Brilliant. Thanks for the help! 

  4. Oh’ that’s great! I am sure with that good news many will get interested
    with it. I believe that treating the customer so politely makes them so
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  5. I agree! Batman is awesome…and so was this post. Thanks so much for the great advice.
    Shanna O.
    Professional Organizer & Event Planner

  6. Some browsers don’t display the ALT tag and require an addition “title” tag within the image code string. Just an FYI …

    1. Jumar,

      This post was geared toward getting the search engine crawlers to surface your images in the in image search results pages. The Google, Bing and Yahoo! crawlers will always find the Image Alt text tag.

      If you are concerned about having text display while the user hovers their mouse over the image then perhaps the Title attribute will help with other browsers. Personally, I find the text annoying when I hover over an image, but I am sure tons of people that have the opposite opinion. 🙂

  7. It was very interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks the author for it.
    I like such topics and everything that is connected to them.

  8. I currently use a ton of different strategies to get traffic to my website. I was wonder if there is something better then PPC and basic search engine traffic. Also need it to be adsense and api friendly for my sites thank you in advance.

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