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14 Tips for Image Optimization for Blended Search Results
Sunday, February 01, 2009
We've previously discussed our thoughts on blended search optimization and about the importance of optimizing for blended search as part of your SEO strategy. With Google and the other engines testing the waters with blended results, we are seeing more items such as news results, video results and blog results appear on the SERPs.

Of the blended results, most marketers tend to overlook image optimization. Instead focusing on the continued optimization of the web pages or of videos or their blog content. We understand that there are various types of blended search results, so many webmasters are selective in the types of content that they optimize. Quite often, image optimization gets lost in the optimization process. Yet image optimization can easily be accomplished with some key best practices.

14 Tips for Image Optimization
  1. Use Unique Images - duplicating an image that already exists will be difficult to optimize for and be found for as chances are that the search engines have already indexed this image on numerous occasions. Search engines are looking for unique content, it's no different with images.

  2. Optimize Your Images for Size - large images can affect your page load time and result in a poor experience for your users. Ensure that your images are optimized for size and quick load times.

  3. Pay Attention to Quality - images that have great contrast tend to work better than images that do not. When images are reduced down to the thumbnail size, stronger contrast is needed to better discern image. This will lead to more people clicking and linking to image. Quality of images can affect the user experience.

  4. Image Filenames are Important - this one is a no-brainer or so you would think, but look at the images on your site. How many of them contain a relevant keyword? Yes where possible include relevant, descriptive keywords in your image filenames. Be sure to use hyphens as word separators if the filename will contain more than one word. Keywords in filename is key for image optimization. For the record, if you've already named your images, do not go and rename them. This could result in broken image links throughout your site and could affect you link quality.

  5. Use Alt Tags on Images - be sure to make use of an accurate, descriptive alt attribute for your images. Do not abuse this though. Do not spam your image alt text as this feature was invented to help with accessibility not search engine optimization. If you can place keywords in your alt text make sure that it is relevant to the image itself.

  6. Use a Caption By Your Image - Placing a small caption directly under, on top or on the side of your image will help inform the search engines what the image is about. This can be a great place to add relevant keywords.

  7. Surround Images with Relevant Keyword Rich Text - similar to the above point, ensure that the keyword density of the page copy around the image is keyword rich to boost the relevancy of the image.

  8. Optimize the Page - again similar to the previos points, optimize the entire page for relevant keywords that are related to the image.

  9. Include Images in News Releases, Articles and Press Releases - this is a great way to optimize images for blended search. Most press release distribution resources allow you to embed or include images. Be sure to leverage this option where possible.

  10. Consider Creating an Image Sitemap - there are standard HTML sitemaps, XML sitemaps, and video sitemaps. Create an image sitemap to promote important images on your site.

  11. File Structure - it is important not to block the search engines from being able to access your image folder. If they cannot find you images, how do you expect them to index them? More importantly, how do you expect to receive traffic from being listed in the blended results of the engines if they cannot locate your images.

  12. Tagging - the use of tagging, similar to above options can help inform the search engines about the topic of the image.

  13. Avoid Including Text in Images - while the search engines are getting better at this, they still have some difficulty in indexing content that is found within images. Look for this to improve, but for now, it's better to be safe than sorry.

  14. Be Relevant - include images where it makes sense to do so. Use images to enhance your copy and your content to enrich the user experience on your site. If you are blogging about a news story and have pictures taken from the event, include one or two in the blog post to help enrich the story.
Following these 14 tips will help ensure that your images get indexed in the search engines. With the engines going more towards blended results (we wish that ASK.com would bring back ASK 3-D) look for more blended results to appear in the SERPs. Optimizing your images is but one part of your blended search optimization strategy. You will still want to focus on blog optimization, optimization of press releases and on video optimization as part of your blended search strategy.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, February 01, 2009  
  • At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Team Creatives said…

    These are very helpful tips. Many optimizers should lear from these to get good results. Thanks for the post.

  • At 6:07 AM, Anonymous SEO said…

    grate tips, for people targeting image search engine

  • At 6:46 AM, Anonymous SSL Certificates said…

    One key point about optimising images is having them result in increased traffic to your website and increased brand awareness so surely it makes sense to brand your images with your logo and domain name.

    Many image search users are so adept at using image search that they very often dont even see your website when finding images which are then often used without concent. Branding and applying your logo is definately something that should be done to control this to some extent.

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