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How to Rank High in Google

Search Engine Placement using Google Image Search

In case you didn’t know it, or didn’t care Google has an image search located on the tab just to the right of its web search where you can search the internet for images based upon the text you type into the search box. This article will explain how to optimize your web site to use this to your advantage.

When you do a Google Image search you will get a page of results that show the images according to your search query. Along with the images you will get a description of file size, image size, and file type. Google also shows some text that is near the image on the web page where the image was found and the web site address of the image.

If you were to click on the image to see the image better you will be brought to a framed page where Google’s information along with a link to view the full size image is in the top frame and in the bottom frame is the actual page of where the image comes from.

This bottom frame if enticing will generate traffic to come visit your web site and make a sale. Take this idea for an example. Say you wanted to see what a DeLorean looked like and typed it into Google Image search. You would get a result of images and if you happen to want to see a bigger image of the DeLorean or noticed that it came from a web site called you would click on the image. On the next page in the bottom frame where the web page of the image is located you see a deal on a DeLorean that you like the looks of (from finding out with the help of Google Image search) for sale for only $1000!

This is just one possibility out of many showing how Google Image can be beneficiary to your web site. If the web page is intriguing enough people will visit your web site to see what else they come across. Maybe someone will do an image search on afghans and discovered a class or video on the subject from your web site. The possibilities are endless.

An Overlooked Way to Get Traffic

Optimizing the images on your web site is often an overlooked way to get genuine traffic. In the past stuffing the <alt> tags of a image (the text that shows up when you rest your mouse pointer over a picture) with keywords got you ranked high, but the search engines soon discovered the abuse of this and now penalize web sites for it. Optimizing the images for a web site done correctly can gain traffic to your web site. Granted it is not as targeted as web text searches on the internet, but this often overlooked way can bring traffic and sales to your site.

How Does Google Rank for Images?

Google looks at these factors when determining what images to rank first in an image search:

  • Image File Name
  • <alt> Text of Image
  • Text Surrounding the Image
  • Page Title and other Web Page Factors

If you were to do a few searches using Google Image search you would discover easily the commonality of the top ranking images. The most important are the file name, alt text, body text surrounding the image, and page title. I will describe these further.

Image File Name

When you do a Google Image search and right click on the image to save it you see the file name of the image. You will discover that the top images usually have the keyword you typed in your search query.

<alt> Text

If you are using Internet Explorer and rest your mouse pointer over the image displayed in the web page where it came from you will discover that the top images also contain the keyword you used in your search query.

Text Surrounding the Image

You will notice that Google takes text containing your keyword search query and displays it next to the image for a brief description. Google uses this method in regular web text searches as well. So it is plain to see that this is relevant to Google Image Search as well.

Page Title and Other Factors

If you notice the page title and URL of the web page where the image resides you will find your search query keyword there as well.

How do you optimize your Web Site for Google Image Search?

Easy! Just make sure that the file name of your image reflects what it is really about. Instead of 00001a.jpg name it delorean.jpg. Make sure that your <alt> tag accurately describes what the picture is about using the keyword you want to optimize for. For example for the delorean.jpg picture you could write an alt tag like this. (alt=”DeLorean for sale for $1000”) Just be sure not to enter ‘DeLorean’ for every image and graphic on your web page. This is a blatant misuse of the alt tag and will get you penalized by the search engines.

Make sure that the text surrounding the images contains the keyword you want to shoot for. If you have a picture of a DeLorean it is natural that the web page will have text about it, so little effort is needed here.

And if you really wanted to optimize for it make sure your keyword is in the <title> tag and URL of your web site.

Update to Article:

Nielsen//NetRatings' report on search share showed us more of the same: Google wins. But, what's new in this report is that Google has been promoted from King to Emperor in image search, controlling almost 72 percent of queries. - April 2006

Michael Rock (Search Engine Optimization Specialist )

Web Ranking Consultants
Web Development Contractor

Michael Rock is a teacher, author, and web designer of SEO (search engine optimization). He is also the founder of The Internet Presence which offers web development services and Web Ranking Consultants which offers SEO consultation and services.

Copyright © Michael Rock
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.
(You have permission to copy this article as long as it remains intact with the author's byline)

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