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Universal Search: Google's Ranking of Images
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Ever wonder why or how Google ranks images in their universal search results or within their image results? A common question asked by webmasters is why is it that Google sometimes indexes a portion of your images but not all of them?

Google take on this can be found in response to a question posed to the Google Webmaster help team a while back.
The first thing I would check in this situation is to make sure that hosted
images are discoverable, crawlable, indexable, and not being blocked by
SafeSearch. To do this, go to images.google.com/ and do an image site
search i.e. [site:picasa.com]. To check if images might be blocked by
SafeSearch, click the link below the search box to toggle your SafeSearch
settings. Fortunately images are appearing in image search results without
any SafeSearch issues which also means that Google is able to properly access
and index content from that website. Check out how to make Google friendly
sites here:
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=40349

So we now know Google can properly reach and index images from the
site, but why aren't all the images also included in image search? We have
to remember that image rankings and inclusions come from many factors beyond alt text and title tags. Image rankings also consider the ranking of the parent or linking page, meaning that if the parent or linking page does not provide enough information or rank well, then Google may not have enough confidence to serve those images as results to our users.

As recommendations for appearing in image search results, I highly
suggest that everyone follow Jim's example in following best practices with
using proper and meaningful alt text, titles, and useful file naming. You
also want to consider how unique and compelling the content is beyond the image itself, with the context and information surrounding it. Be very, very
patient as changes do often take some time, meanwhile continue to provide
relevant content for your users and things should eventually work
out.
http://groups.google.com/group/Google_Webmaster_Help-Indexing/browse_thread/thread/e37227930654391e?pli=1

Morale of the story, surround your images with relevant text. Include keywords in alt text, and filenames. Image optimization is not overly difficult, but it can take time for your images to appear within image results and within blended/universal results of Google.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, August 30, 2009  
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