Image Search is an area which is often neglected by SEO practitioners. However, when doing SEO for keyword research, they are often not aware that the estimated search volumes they get from Google Adwords or Baidu Phoenix are not just for web page searches. Those estimated figures include queries in Image Searches, News Searches and other search functions. Image search at least possesses 15% of search volumes. So today, I’d like to talk about how to do image SEO in some simple ways.
1. Create image XML sitemap and put the XML file path in Robot.txt file
Search Engine Optimizers often will create the XML sitemap for their websites. However, only very few of them will create an XML sitemap for the images on the site as well. There are some standards for image XML’s first introduced by Google. Below is an example that shows how an image XML sitemap might look.
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
Other than the tags used in the example above, there are also other XML tags that help Search Engines to understand the picture.
<image:image> is the compulsory tag that contains the image information. It allows up to 1000 images listed under one page.
<image:loc> is the compulsory tag used for image location.
<image:caption> is optional. You can write a short description to explain what’s on the image.
<image:geo_location> is optional and it to give the location of the image. Normally you can put city, country.
<image:title> is also an optional tag, and it is for the title of the image. I would suggest including keyword in the title.
<image:license> is optional as well for the URL for the image license.
Once you create such an image XML sitemap, do indicate it in the Robots.txt file just like you would normally do for a website XML sitemap. For Google, you can also submit it in the Google Webmaster Tool.
2. Give the image files a meaningful name
Huangshan-sunset.jpg definitely makes more sense than IMG000001.jpg to Search Engine. It’s recommended to use meaningful names and or relevant keywords for images.
3. Use the HTML code properly when inserting any image
The best code to insert for an image is to contain all the necessary code tags, for example <img src=” http://example.com/huangshan-sunset.jpg” width=”400″ height=”300″ alt=”huangshan sunset” title=”huangshan sunset” />.
4. Include your keywords in the anchor text to image
People often use the text “click to see enlarged picture” as the anchor text, however this is not helping search engines understand what’s on the picture. The best practice is to include some text that is relevant to what’s on the image, for example “click to see the enlarged picture of Huangshan Sunset”.
5. Optimize the text around the image.
Search Engine’s cannot figure out what’s on an image, so they rely on the content surrounding the image as well. So it’s better to have descriptive text related to the image around the image as well.