Google Images account for more searches than YouTube, Google Maps, Amazon and Facebook combined. Many who use online images within their websites or social media fail to utilise those images to help themselves be seen in search results and so attract people to their sites.
With a simple test you can illustrate the usefulness of this resource to your online marketing. Any Google search for IMG_xxxx where the xs represent any number between 1 and 9,999 will display on average about 200,000 results. Clicking on the Image tab shows Google’s image search results, which likewise displays countless images labeled with the raw data file name. The search for IMG_9998 or any other auto-generated name is realistically never performed, yet a massive amount of data is uploaded this way. Thus, these images which are named by the a default raw file name are essentially unlabeled. File names are just one way images are often neglected when optimizing for searches.
While Google may analyze the surrounding content and index the image in that context, failing to provide Google with extra data that it can use to determine the image’s relevance to search queries is a lost chance to promote a brand, product, person, event, service or business. And that means fewer clicks and traffic to the website hosting those images.
Images are particularly effective in marketing for retail and consumer goods. Google’s Product Listing Ad categories focus on retail and consumer goods, and searches of any of these categories in Google Images brings up a carousel of sponsored shopping results above the organic results.
Thus, any images posted by a business related to retail and consumer goods should be especially mindful of optimizing those images for organic search. But there are many other image categories that will benefit from better optimizing. For example, any business that relies on the reputation of individuals should take similar steps. Professional groups such as law firms and medical practices should expect searches of individual lawyers and doctors by name for portraits or profile pictures. Venues and destinations are also topics that consumers want to see images of. And images of finished work product such as construction, fences or interior design are frequently sought by consumers to gauge the quality of a firm’s work.
Since search ranking is often neglected and because there are so many more results presented on image search results pages, Google Images can help a local business or its products and services get found.
Here are 9 tips to ensure your images are optimized. Allowing you to take advantage of search queries performed in Google Images:
- Make sure that your images are of good quality and are appealing. – Consumers say product descriptions and images are critical to their decision-making. In other words, consumers extrapolate the quality of an image to that of the product or service.
- While overly large image file size hurts page load time, reducing the file size does not mean you have to sacrifice quality. – There are ways to strip out unnecessary data and many online tools that can help optimize images for your website. Try JPEGMini, PunyPNG or Kraken.io.
- While Google doesn’t take the same liberties in cropping images in search results that they do with Google profile pics, it remains important to understand how the image will look in search results. Images that don’t fit the more standard image ratios, such as 16:9 or 4:3, tend to be resized to fit those dimensions. Also, images such as large group pics that lose any valuable detail when reduced to thumbnail size will likely fail to draw attention or clicks.
- Stock images are usually easy to identify and often feel fake or insincere. – As such, they can hurt the thing that make local businesses most appealing: personalized and quality service that is genuine and built on relationships.
- Image file name. – is the most basic description of your image that is searchable. Make the name count.
- Alt tags – are HTML attributes used to describe your image and are used in place of the image when it doesn’t render or isn’t displayed. For example, the text would be displayed by a screen reader for the visually impaired, when images are disabled in a browser or when the image can’t be decoded.
- Captions – are typically the title or description that is displayed with the image.
- Description – is the field that allows for a full explanation of the image and that may provide additional details including links. Descriptions are displayed when an image within a post or on a site is clicked on and opened in a separate window.
- Contextual information surrounding the image. – Google determines relevance of images to search results by the context of everything else around them including text content, other images, image sitemaps, page title and page URL. So optimize them all and keep your page messaging unified and consistent.
In closing, visual images are only becoming more important in engaging and reaching consumers. It’s clear that images will continue to play a powerful role in helping businesses and their products or services get found. So spend a little more time SEOing your images and unlocking the potential returns images can deliver.