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You Are Hurting Your SEO By Ignoring Image Optimization

May 27th, 2009 | | Nuts & Bolts of Optimization

With a laundry list of SEO strategies at your disposal, there is a tactic that can be easily overlooked: image optimization. This is one of those nuts-and-bolts tactics that can get lost in the shuffle because there are so many other “big rocks” to tackle as you optimize a site. Don’t let this happen!

Almost every search engine has a version of image search and you don’t want to be left out! Here are a few quick and easy things you can do to optimize your website to gain more visibility in image search results:

Include keywords in your image alt attribute (or “tag”)

This tactic seems pretty basic but it’s often overlooked. Similar to optimizing your content for your targeted keywords, you should do the same for the images that appear on any given page. If you are optimizing a page on your site for the keyword “Big Sur Vacation” then you should have this term peppered throughout your content as well as your image alt attribute. It is recommend that you keep your alt attribute description under 25 characters.

Include keywords in the file name

Every little bit helps, right? Most search engines use the alt attribute (or “tag”) to determine what content an image contains. However, why not give the search engine a little help and put your keyword directly within your file name?

Include only one image per page

For an e-commerce sites this one will be difficult, especially on your product pages.
And this is not a strict rule, so-to-speak. However, for other sites that don’t need numerous images, you should keep the number of images per page as low as possible. This way you can focus all of your efforts on one image. And you can work to get that one image ranked high, rather than inserting a dozen pictures into each page that are ranked poorly.

Place the image on a page with appropriate content

Again, this seems like a no-brainer but let’s go ahead and get it out in the open. The content on the page should compliment and be relevant to the  images. This will give the search engines additional context for both the content on the page and the image (it’s a win-win situation).

Use original images

When possible, you should use original images that you created specifically for your site. Sure, it’s difficult to contract an artist or photographer every time you need an image but it’s worth considering. Regardless if you create your own or you purchase images from a service, remember to alter the file names to include your keywords.

Save your images in the same directory

All of your similarly-themed images should be palced within same directory. This is just another element of content siloing where you help the search engines comprehend and rank your content by holding the bot/crawler’s hand and  showing them where everything is on your site.

That should do it for now. As you can see, none of these tasks are extremely difficult but they are easy to overlook.

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