How to optimise images for Google

Posted on October 8, 2009


We all know that Google is the most used search engine, and when your website ranks well within Google you’ll receive a lot of natural traffic. However, Google isn’t just about optimising your pages for keywords and related search phrases so that you get traffic to your site; with Google’s Universal Search you can optimise for so much more, such as videos, news, blogs and images.

While Google cannot read images (it’s not that clever yet) it can make an educated guess at what an image is about based on certain criteria. For example, the name of the actual file matters greatly when adding images to your website. If you’re uploading a photo of an Aston Martin DB9 to your website, calling the image ‘GH0033378.jpg’ won’t do your SEO any favours, whereas calling it ‘Aston-Martin-DB9.jpg’ will greatly increase its chances of ranking in an image search, and in Google’s Universal Search, for related searches.

Other factors are important too, such as the alt and title attributes you assign to the image, the name of the CSS class on the image, the title of the page the image can be found on, the content of the page, the anchor text pointing to that page and the text surrounding the image itself. The URL and content of the website is also important. All of this can help your images to rank in Google for competitive search terms, driving traffic to your website.

Google image search for fleas

This example shows a Google search for ‘fleas’, a search that produces over 3.5 million results. One of the flea images is from the website, which receives thousands of visitors each month from people looking for information on fleas, visitors the site wouldn’t receive had the images on the website not been optimised for search engines.

By using SEO techniques on your images you can drastically increase your website’s reach, and traffic levels.

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