Have you ever used Google Image Search? When you type in the keywords, “Arnold Palmer”, every image is of Arnold Palmer (or his famous iced tea lemonade). How does Google know what’s in the image?
They don’t, they are using clues provided by the webpage to determine what is contained in the image. Depending on your search terms you may see images that have absolutely nothing to do with your desired results. To help prove this fact and demonstrate how Google Image Search works and how to optimize your images, I will take an image of some motorcycles I took during a concert and have it show up in the image results for the search term, “digital agency seo image example”.
Filename: I have named this image file digital-agency-seo-image-example.jpg. Google will look at the actual filename to help determine what the image may be about. I put a hyphen between digital agency seo image example because white space does not exist in a url; therefore when uploaded the filename will look something like digital%20agency%20seo%20image%20example.jpg. This is harder to read and the hyphens help Google to know you intend to separate the words, digital agency seo image example.
Title: When uploading an image using a CMS such as WordPress you will often have the choice to fill in common HTML variables relating to the image. I typically use the same string of text I used for the filename for my title. In this case the title of my image is “digital agency seo image example.”
Alt Text: The alt text is text that is shown if the image cannot be displayed for some reason, such as an error, or if the user is using a screen reader. The alt text provides a description of what the image is of. In this case my alt text is digital agency seo image example.
Surrounding Content: This may be apparent by now, I have been using the words “digital agency seo image example” all over this page including the caption. Google will analyze the content around an image, this blog post, to figure out what the content is about. Words that show up more frequently, like digital agency seo image example, will indicate that the subject is at least related to those words in some way.
Page Rank: This is not an image seo optimization tip but something you should be aware of. If a set of keywords has many possible results, as in our example with Arnold Palmer above, Google will give priority to websites and pages that have a higher Page Rank. That is to say a page that Google feels is of higher quality or reputation. This is important to understand if you are wondering why your image of an iPhone is not displaying in the search results even if you have used these image optimization tips. There are a lot of iPhone images that have been optimized as well and many of those sites will have a higher Page Rank.
This is also why I used a very unique keyword string for this example. My image is almost guaranteed to be displayed in the results once this post has been indexed by Google. Another important thing to understand, your image will not be displayed immediately. Depending on how often Google crawls your site it may take quite awhile for your image to show up.
If you are reading this post the day it’s published you may have to wait to test out our results. Try searching Google Images for digital agency seo image example and let us know in the comments when you see it!
It works, our image is the first Google image result for our targeted search term. Even the fourth image is from this post. Now imagine if you applied this to an actual product!