Search engine optimisation for images

Here’s a fact. Most of the traffic that comes to my website is from google’s image search. Since I’m a designer, that’s a good thing for me as it means people are seeing my work.

When I upload an image to my website, I pay particular attention to the way in which this is done.

Here are some quick tips that I use (or need to implement ASAP 😉 ) which seems to bring me extra traffic from Google image search.

1. Use a friendly, descriptive URL structure. Keep it short. When I say descriptive, I mean use words to indicate what is in the image. An example of this could be http://www.adrianthomasdesign.com/images/turtle/3d_turtle_waving.jpg. This makes it relatively obvious to the person (and to search engines) what the image is about.

2. Use descriptive alt tags. This is MANDATORY, not just for SEO reasons, but for usability and accessibility reasons too. If you are using a browser with images turned off, or if you are using a screen reader, the alt tag provides an explanation via text or speech as to what is in the image. Google sees whatever you put in the alt tag, but beware don’t stuff keywords in there.

3. Use title tags on your images . The title tag is a bit different to an alt tag. I won’t go into the nuts and bolts of the differences here, but it’s fine to use both.

4. Use a descriptive filename eg 3d_hand.jpg is pretty self explanatory as to what the image is about. Avoid 01.jpg – this file name indicates nothing about the image.

5. Where possible, use descriptive text on the page to reinforce the image subject. This can help provide more relevance.

6. Use descriptive links on your images. For example you could link a thumbnail image to a larger version image. Google loves to index links so this should definitely help.

If you want proof that what I’ve described works, try typing some of these keywords into Google image search “3d hand” “3d turtle” “Deep Sea Diver Man” – You will see that my images are ranking pretty high on Google image search.