Our Website Coaches are often asked for guidance with the specific question, “How do I rank in Google?” Well there is no one correct answer, but there are a few tricks that they share with our customers and that we want to share with you.
First off, it is important to realize that a few years ago Google made some changes to their core ranking algorithm that introduced the concept of Universal Search, whereby regular search results are blended with results from news, video, images, local and book search engines.
A few weeks ago, Google tweaked their search engine again while giving a different view to search results. This is addressed by a “Search Options” panel that is to the left of your search results and allows the searcher to view results in new ways.
When I had the opportunity to come up with a new SEO strategy last week for our Homepreneur runner-up, Mike & Mary Ferrari of UnusualThreads.com, aside from the usual Small Business SEO tips, one opportunity came to the forefront: ranking for Google Image Search.
Why is image search a good option for Mike & Mary? Their business is the business of celebrity fashions (e.g., people who want to find and buy the same dress worn by a celebrity). If you search for some of their longtail keyword concepts in Google today (e.g., “Lady Gaga Dress”), the results that rise to the top are almost always image search results. This has become even more important as Google announced over the weekend that they were going to include image search results in their real-time results.
So given this how do you optimize for Google Image Search? Here are 5 tips that you should remember:
- Name your image the same as the keyword that you are trying to rank for. This should be also what the image really is (e.g., LadyGagaDress.jpg)
- Attribute the image with Alt Text and Title/ID tag that is the same as the keyword phrase used in the file name, “Lady Gaga Dress”. If you are using the CityMax.com Website Builder, right click on an existing image, click “Image Properties”, and enter the keyword phrase when prompted for “Alternate Text”. Under the Advanced tab of the Image Properties, change the ID field to also read “Lady Gaga Dress”)
- Add supporting text around the image as the search engines consider contextual relevance of the surrounding images (e.g., “…To the right, you will see a picture of a Lady Gaga Dress worn at…”
- Make the images unique. Resave, re-crop, or change the heuristics of the image in some way that make the image that appears on your website different than the image that may appear on someone else’s website. This is especially true for images that you receive from distributors. One trick is to simply overwrite a watermark on the image with your website address or company name (Note: A few years ago Google filed a patent on capturing and indexing text contained within images. While there is no evidence that they are using this within their algorithm today, it may be good planning to add the keyword phrase as a watermark to the image itself).
- Keep the image fresh. Google seems to rank images based on freshness. This may involve re-saving an image occasionally so you change the image creation date.
Hopefully these tips can help you rank for search engines and bring more visitors to your website.