Why bother optimising your images and photos? There are two good reasons – one is that ‘image search’ is growing rapidly (see the Hitwise graph below) and on Google is now the number one vertical search option second only to Google’s main search.

The other is that with Google Universal Search images will quite often appear in the main search results….

People like to see what they buy before they buy, particularly in the research phase, so there are good ecommerce reasons why you want your images will be found. Also having an image of yours appear in the google results maximises click throughs – it stands out from the rest and often dominates the maximum click through positions in the search listings.

How to carry out Image SEO

There are a few important things you can do to ensure your images get found, here are the main ones:-

– ensure the image file includes the target keyphrases in the filename (ideally a .jpg file rather than gifs which are for graphics with limited colour ranges)

– ensure your filenames are descriptive and naturally include the target keyphrase(s) (make sure words are separated with hyphens NOT underscores)

-Associate an ‘alt’ tag with the image – again a keyword rich description rather than keyword stuffing.

– Set up a Google sitemap specifically for the images and ensure search engines have access to your image folder

– Ideally links to the images should include keyword rich anchor text

-Ideally have the image on your webpage surrounded by some contextually relevant keyword rich text. Or at the very least a keyword rich description next to the image on the page.

In addition to this of course you’ll want to ensure the metadata on the web page the image appears on is optimised and in particular ensure that the word ‘image’ and ‘photo’ appear in the TITLE tag as many people will use these words when searching.

Best wishes with it.