Optimize your images with relevant text.
Image search is the second fastest growing vertical on the Internet (the first is video search). When relevant searches are made, do your images appear in the results? If not, here’s our best advice on what to do.
Tell the search engines what you want them to know about your images.
The search engine spiders cannot “see” photos or determine the subject of an image. They can only spider text. Therefore, you need to tell them IN WORDS what the image is about. Therefore, to optimize your images for the search engines, you must associate optimized text with your images.
Give the image a descriptive, keyword-rich file name.
No matter what format your image is in, give it a file name that describes the photo and uses a good keyword phrase. Use dashes to separate the words in the file name. An image named Orlando-hotel-pool.jpg is better than one named image23.jpg.
Give the image a keyword-rich title attribute.
If your image type allows it, encapsulate meta text about the image within the html and save it with the image.
Give the image a keyword-rich alternate text tag.
Alt tags on photos should be used to give honest, accurate descriptions of what the images are about. Use a keyword phrase, where appropriate, but do not spam.
Wrap relevant text around images.
By surrounding your images with words relevant to them, you place your photos in context and help to theme the page or section of the page. Giving your image a caption is a good way to help accomplish this task.
Use page titles and meta descriptions to give the search engines helpful clues.
For pages where the images are the stars, such as photo gallery pages, use appropriate words in your page titles and descriptions. A page title like Hilton Head Golf Photos helps the search engines to tell immediately what the page is about.
Use keyword-rich text on image heavy pages.
If your page is almost all images, add descriptive text to tell the search engines what the images on the page are about.
Create a photo site map.
If you have a lot of good photos on your site, create a photo site map, similar to a regular, on-site site map. Place text links containing good keywords pointing to the pages that the images live on. Using captioned thumbnails is a nice touch on a photo site map.
Submit your photos to popular photo-sharing websites.
Some photo search engines crawl the web seeking out and spidering photos, but why wait for them to find yours? Instead, take a few minutes to submit your photos to Flickr, Google Images, Blinx and other sites where searchers go to actively seek them out.
This article is a brief summary of the more detailed information available in our free, downloadable whitepaper Search Engine Optimization: Videos and Images.