As universal search begins to dominate results and previous above-the-fold results get pushed below the fold, leveraging all channels possible is becoming essential. Image search optimization offers several advantages not just limited to simple rankings or just image search.
One definite benefit for anyone involved in e-commerce is the possibility of free product promotion within organic results without looking spammy. Product images in search results can seriously boost click-throughs and conversions.
With image search, you’ve got more optimisation opportunities than organic search alone. The name of the image, along with the tag and associated words will all factor in to ranking an image. This gives you opportunities to optimise differently or capture searchers where organic is not doing as well.
At the moment, for those involved in e-commerce, not as many retailers are paying attention to the possibilities of image search and universal search when compared to PPC or SEO. This means as Universal search becomes more prevalent, those in early will probably get better rankings.
So, what can you do? Lots! And most of it can also be done through many CMS systems so never say can’t, never say die, never say never… blah blah blah.
Why not try a bit of alt tag (attribute – I know!) text optimization? When I add an image to a page, I can ad descriptive words for the image.
Make these descriptions specific and include the keyword that you want the image found for. Don’t be spammy – by being focused you’ll get more relevant traffic.
How about putting the images in separate HTML files named after the keyword (linking to the image with your keyword, using ‘keyword.html’ as the file name)? Try putting the keyword in the title as well as in your H1 tags on the keyword-named page where the image appears. Again, keep it specific and focused and remember semantically related text and ‘buy me’ button!
Give your image the name of the keyword you want it to be found for. So if it is a picture of a box of Chocolate Society champagne truffles, call the image ‘champagne-chocolate-truffles’ and not ’1276394′. Remember that alt tag text of ‘Chocolate Champagne Truffles’!
Never forget that semantic relativity! Ensure you are keeping a careful eye on the on-page text. An image of chocolate covered almonds on a page about white chocolate with strawberries won’t do as well as an image of coca dusted almonds (with the right name) on a page talking about chocolate and almonds.
Remember that to optimize your images for more than a single word, you should use dashes and not underscore. Matt Cutts has an old but brilliant blog post about how Google sees a dash and why.
Finally, quality is king. Have high quality images with sharp, clear contrast showing the product with little clutter. As Google does shrink the image in the results, you will need to ensure you capture interest with not just words but pictures.
Search is changing and we all need to change with it. It isn’t just text SEO that needs changing though – all elements of our pages can be optimised for search.
Always remember – just say no to spam.