Ranking On Image Search

Source: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2120682/Ranking-On-Image-Search

With over a billion pageviews per day, Google Image Search can be an excellent source of traffic. Of course, one has to ask themselves whether this traffic is beneficial or not and if so, then followup with an understanding of how to get their images to rank.

Why Would You Want To Rank On Image Search?

For some businesses, ranking for their images would mean nothing more than taking on the inconvenience of having to monitor those results for theft. For others it’s a great source of traffic and potential leads. For yourself, the first question to answer is: “is ranking your images beneficial to your bottom line?”

A lawyer for example would likely not want their images ranking for image search. For said lawyer, it is virtually inconceivable that they would attract converting traffic from images however because they have to set an example on copy and content ownership, they would have to take the time to insure that their images aren’t taken. Ranking for images then would produce a net negative ROI as they won’t reap any benefits yet have to expend resources insuring that their images aren’t used elsewhere.

On the other hand, there are many sites/companies who do benefit from ranking their images. A few examples here are:

  1. Photographers: While photographers have rightfully complained about having their work taken and used without permission, ranking images is an opportunity to get their craft in from of potential buyers.
  2. Image Sales Sites: For sites that sell images it’s obviously beneficial to get those images in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
  3. Ad Driven Sites: I learned this lesson from my eldest son who built himself a Pokemon site at 9 years old. After he asked me how he could make it generate money we dropped some AdSense on it. While the vast majority of his traffic came from image search he quickly surpassed the ad revenue generated from the Beanstalk site and attained upwards of 5,000 unique visits per day.

So think to yourself: How can I benefit from image search? What types of image-based phrases would I benefit from rankings for? And of course, how can I monetize those rankings? Once you’ve got these determined, it’s time to get them optimized.

Optimizing Your Images For Rankings

A picture displaying a variety of images as an example of Google image search variety.

Before we delve into optimizing the images for rankings, let’s first get them optimized for their size (which, one could well argue, will impact their rankings and even the rankings of your site as a whole). There are a variety of easy-to-use tools on the web to help you with this process. You can find a few of the better ones listed by Bryan Eisenberg on the recently updated Website Testing Tools site.

Now that you’ve optimized your images for size, improving their load times and reducing their impact on your server, it’s time to try to get them displayed more often. There are a few core areas that need to be directly optimized, let’s discuss them one by one.

Image Name: After downloading images from your digital camera you’ll likely end up with them alpha-numerically named with little to identify their contents. This would see them uploaded to and references from your hosting environment with location such as http://www.yourdomain.com/images/dsc000043.jpg. All this location would really tell Google is that it’s an image. If you had an image on, say, Google image search you’d do well to place it to that location as http://www.yourdomain.com/images/google-image-search.jpg. With this you’ve described the image and named it in the URL.

Alt Tags: Adding alt tags to your images serves two optimization functions. The first is to associate the image directly with a set of text. The second is to give the engines a set of information to use as quasi-anchor text if the image is used as a link.

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