Using Google Image Search to Bring Free Visitors to Your Website

Posted June 1st, 2010 in SEO by John

google image searchOur 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, 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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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 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”)
  3. 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…”
  4. 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).
  5. 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.

Search Engine Optimization (Homepreneur Website Makeover: Part 1)

Posted May 5th, 2010 in Selling Online by John

2010-02-01-marcoandheatherbarberini21Are you running a small business website? Last week, we entertained our 2009 Homepreneur of the Year winners, Marco and Heather Barberini of, wining and dining them with an all-expenses-paid trip to Vancouver while providing them some small business tips to help grow their already successful small business website.

This post – the first of three in a series — will share with you some of the same tips that we shared with them. Hopefully, you can use these tips and our website builder to grow your business!

Small Business SEO

Marco and Heather had a great start and had some concepts already ranking quite well. As part of a makeover of their website, I did some keyword research around ranking higher for concepts that would lead to sales. Most of the conversation focused on what I like to call the “Magic Triangle of SEO”. This Magic Triangle includes a keyword rich Title Tag, a keyword relevant H1, and anchor text for offsite links that utilize the same keywords that are found within the Title Tag and H1.

The logic behind this triangle is that your Title Tag is you describing what the page is about, your H1 is about what you are telling your website visitors what the page is about, and an offsite link is third-party validation that your page is truly about what you are describing.

For Marco and Heather this resulted in:

Homepage Title Tag: “Pet Tags | Pet ID Tags – Personalized Pet Tags for Dogs and Cats from
Homepage H1: “Pet Tags for $4.95.  Order your Pet ID Tag today!”
Offsite SEO/Anchor Text: Focus on link-building via blogs, Veterinarians, animal rescue centers with the “Pet Tag” and “Pet ID Tag” keywords as anchor text

A few other super-simple changes we made to their home page include:

  • Added ALT text to all images that had some of the keywords included (e.g., “Order Your Pet Tags Now” rather than simply “Order Now”)
  • Changed the text order to read “Pet Tags – $4.95, Free Shipping Special” rather than “Free Shipping Special: Pet Tags – $4.95”. This better emphasizes the core messaging. Before, the site was ranking well for “Free Pet Tags”, something that Marco and Heather were not offering. A quick snapshot of the Google Cache indicated that “Free” was the first word that Google was seeing. Now, they should see “Pet Tags”.
  • Interlinking to internal pages using on-page keywords (e.g., hyperlink “pet tags” to the catalog featuring the pet tags that they had for sale)

We made these edits together and gave the Barberinis some takeaways for more work. So far, these minor changes have already paid big dividends. Ranking for 5 of the 12 keywords being targeted have already increased significantly. The table below shows some of the top keywords and their change in rank after only 3 days:


Hopefully, your small business website can experience the same success. Sometimes all it takes are a few tweaks and you can be well on your way to better search ranking.

The Google “Proof”: Entrepreneurs Make the World a Happy Place

Posted April 6th, 2010 in Small Business Tips by John

Key to every successful business website is having the right product to sell at the right moment in time. A good source of intelligence about what is hot and what is not is Google Trends.

For those that don’t know, Google Trends provides a tremendous amount of data about people, products, or concepts. Want to know what is going to be the hot seller? Ask Google. As noted in this blog, “search volume data (how much people are searching for a keyword or term at a point in time) is a great measure of how interested people are in a particular topic over any given time period.”

At, we use Google Trends for a couple of different things, including search engine optimization and PPC research. However, in looking at Google Trends the other day, we noticed an interesting correlation that “scientifically” proves what we’ve been maintaining for the past 10 years: Entrepreneurs Make the World a Happier Place.

Well scientifically proven may be a bit of a stretch, but we thought we would share our observations:

Our search started with the concept of “happy” (see below for the trend report since 2004). The concept of “happy” ebbs and flows around the holidays, in large part to “Happy New Year” and “Happy Holidays” no doubt. But what piqued our curiosity was the relative volume of news mentions at the end of 2007 and the start of 2008… mentions that have been increasing relatively constantly since that time.


This chart surprised us a little. After all, aren’t we still in the midst of a recession? Isn’t it all a doom-and-gloom, the sky is falling, run for the hills, depressing kind of world that we live in right now? Why is ‘happy’ trending upwards?

Take a look at the keyword concept “recession” to see both the massive spike in the volume of search surrounding the concept as well as the mentions in news. Yep… the recession is in full swing (though interestingly it is on a downward trend).


Given this increase in “happy” in the midst of a recession, we asked ourselves, “What makes us happy?” Responses came from across the company: customers, success stories, getting a product out the door, selling. In other words, what makes us happy is winning.

So we ran the “win” and “lose” search concepts through Google Trends and here are the results:


Six years ago, “win” was searched for with much greater regularity than “lose”. In fact, “lose” has recently overtaken “win” for the first time in Google Trend history. But the same uptick occurs for news mentions, correlating to the increase in happy. We guess it stands to reason, that news mentions about winners might happen to mention that the winners are happy.

So was this the answer, or was there something deeper? We dug into things further with a few search concepts that are dear to our hearts: the life of the entrepreneur. of course is passionate about entrepreneurism as evident by our homepreneur contests, our entrepreneur spirit days, and our website builder that speaks to early-stage entrepreneurs.

We started with a simple search for “small business” (see below). And there was our first “ah-ha”, the same uptick at the end of 2007 and start of 2008. What was interesting is that this uptick also corresponds well to the searches around “recession” and recessionary concepts. Captain Obvious might state that if people are worried about the economy and losing jobs, they might very well consider starting a small business of their own.


What happens when you search for the concept “entrepreneur” and “self employed” within Google Trends? You see the same spike in mentions in the news and you see a rolling average increase in the total number of searches.



So, in our opinion, this proves what most entrepreneurs and small businesses know intrinsically: when you are an entrepreneur and running your own business, happiness is often a result.

Do you agree? Are entrepreneurs happier than most? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by John Lyotier, VP of Marketing at and avid reader of stats, charts, and graphs.