How Image Optimization Helps to Improve Traffic and Conversions

Written by Hailun (Marco) Feng

Optimizing for image search is a smart strategy that search marketers should not ignore as a significant amount of traffic (20% to even 60% of all visits, according to Moz) can come from image search, and the number of people competing for that traffic is much lower than the general web search. In addition to helping your websites rank well in organic search, optimizing images has below benefits that many are unaware of.

1: Subtle Reputation Management

Providing images of your products, services, and facilities assisting consumers adds trust and transparency to your company, saying that you have nothing to hide from the public, which increases consumer confidence and the chance that you will be selected to do business with.

2: Shopping via Image Search Result

Consumers are increasingly searching for products via Google Images, allowing them to find what they desire without digging deep. Make sure to add descriptive alt tags and captions to product images and that they are crawlable by the Google bot. You are more likely to be seen if your products have a strong presence in image search. This also improves the chance of appearing in the universal search result, letting you stand out on the search engine result pages (SERPs) with a mini image carousel at the bottom of the organic listing.

3: Empower Others to Promote Your Business

If you hold the copyright to your images, you can let others take and reuse your visual assets in return for promoting your business. Therefore, be sure to watermark your images and specify how you want others to use them on your Term of Use page.

Image Optimization Tips for Organic Search

Unlike text-based web pages, images are more difficult to optimize as they provide few clues to Google. While techniques such as optical character recognition (OCR) to read texts within the images or facial recognition software to determine whether the image is a face, body, or something else are available, they are not reliable. Therefore, success in image search depends on using all the signals available to you to increase Google's confidence in the content of an image.

Give emphasis to the texts immediately preceding or following the image. These texts are what the users and the search engine mostly associate with the picture. Avoid placing images in the banner, footer, or navigation, as Google will ignore them as irrelevant elements. Make sure the image's filename, caption, and alt tag within the HTML code contain your target keyword or its variations. Avoid query strings such as q=database§ion=all for img src just as we do for web page URL. Removing excessive parameters can reduce the possibility that the Google bot may refuse to crawl your images. Use high-quality, relevant images or images with some sort of contrast that are easy on the eyes and more likely to entice clicks. Avoid saving JPEG with embedded thumbnails, which can increase the file size drastically. Instead, turn this feature off in your editing software; the search engine may copy your image, reduce it and save it in a compressed format, and deliver a thumbnail in the search engine results. Have a proper copyright license for the pictures used on your site. If you are using stock images that also are shown on other websites, change the file size or the ratio of the image, or add a watermark to tell the search engine that your images are "original." Lastly, ensure your robot.txt files (you can access this file by adding robots.txt to your domain) allow the crawlers to crawl and index your image and display them on the SERPs.

In addition to image optimizations, search marketers should know that providing a great user experience, investing in original assets, and building and maintaining brand reputation still matter for your organic performance. While this sounds like a lot of work, it does pay off. And that's how grew to be one of the top travel sites, with more than 1.5 million readers annually, answering over 60,000 questions on travel, food, and crafts.

Hailun (Marco) Feng

comtex tracking