Adding relevant images to your web page content whether they be photos, graphs, or infographics, is a great way to enhance how you provide information to your readers. It is also a good way to be found in the search engines. Google likes relevancy and media rich content. Why not utilize this to your advantage?
Image Meta Search
The image meta search is its own type of search engine. Sure, it falls under the main company such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, but it is a different set of algorithms that run the engine. They use keywords and phrases to sort thumbnails images by relevancy. You see, the engines don’t actually detect what is in the image itself, but rather the metadata provided with the file. This is not to say that some algorithms can’t detect faces, or specific objects like buildings, or even colors and other visual content. Heck, you can even do what is called a reverse image search that finds all of the locations indexed that have the same picture! But, on the whole, it is the data that is king.
You Need To Optimize The Image
Keep in mind that simply adding pictures to your content is not enough to optimize for the search engines. Best practices dictate that you do a little more to SEO the file. Name the image file appropriately, give it a relevant title, and add descriptive ALT tags. The ALT tag is alternative text that helps, not only the search engines but also screen readers. It was introduced to help the visually impaired so don’t just spam the alt text with keywords, but describe the image. There is some other metadata, such as location, that can be manipulated to help rank your images and website better, but that is a topic for another, more specific article.
When images get posted to websites, eventually they become indexed as items themselves. The more search engine optimization you use in developing the image details, the more likely it will show up in the image search results. SEO, combined with having visually appealing and helpful illustrations will help people find and click on your images and eventually end up on your website.
It is important to note that images can be a bit of a draw on rendering time when your web page loads. Page speed is very important and only getting more important, so optimizing the size and resolution of images is a smart path to take. There are several online tools and software applications that can help you produce and optimize images for the search results. You may want to look into tools such as Adobe Photoshop to create PDF, JPG, PNG, GIF and other file formats. There are other optimization, resizing, and file conversion tools online if you search Google and look around a little.
Keep it legal
I really shouldn’t have to say this, but I will, please be sure that you have the right to publish the images to your website. Just because you found the image online, does not mean everyone can use it. Create your own, purchase the rights, or use royalty free images when you add these enhancements to your content. Be aware of copyright rules and regulations, error on the safe side, and you won’t be regretting it later when someone finds their image on your page and sends you a cease and desist letter!
Images search is a great way to get found and they often rank before page content, so if you are looking for speed, using SEO on images may be an avenue to pursue.