An Easy Search Engine Optimization Tip

Last May, with remarkably little ballyhoo, Google substantially changed the way it delivered search results. It’s surprising that there wasn’t more of a ruckus, given that people care deeply about their Google rankings. My inner librarian weeps for how much search engines are used and how little understood.

In any event, one of the highlights of PodCamp was when John Ellis tackled this subject head on. And here’s a great take-away….

Search engine optimize (SEO) your images. With the new Universal Search, images often show up at the top of a generic Google search. There are three easy ways to do this:

  1. Give them great filenames. For example, to SEO an image of myself, I could name the image happy-web-diva.jpg or anna-belle-leiserson.jpg, instead of my usual abl.jpg.
  2. Use the alt attribute. Hopefully you are all doing this anyways, as this is a well-documented requirement for making web pages accessible.
  3. Add an image caption. Actually it’s been a concern of mine that it’s not easy to caption photos in WordPress. I’ll plan on trying the Image Caption plug-in next time I use a photo.

Thanks, John, for a most helpful presentation.

5 Responses

  1. These are great tips. While you’re adding the alt text in #2, you might also include the same text as a title attribute. Every bit helps and in some browsers the title attribute is required to get the tool tip to pop up. For #3, in situations where the WordPress caption plug-in isn’t available, manually adding a caption close to the photo often gets picked up by Google.

    And how about one more image SEO tip? #4 Turn on “Enable advanced image search” in Google Webmaster Tools. Doing so makes your images available for tagging through the Google Image Labeler at http://images.google.com/imagelabeler/ which in turn helps with SEO.

  2. Wow, Anna Belle. More good stuff. Not only is your blog fun and very well written, but it’s so informative! I just went into my main site’s Good Webmaster Tools and enabled “advanced image search” — given that it’s difficult (= impossible) to keep up with everything on the web relevant to SEO, your blog definitely helps clear some of the fog.

  3. Mark — thanks for the great suggestion! I’m with Judy — it all helps — and it’s basically impossible to keep track of it all.