Images and Search Engines

Apr 12, 2007 • 11:54 am | comments (0) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Strategies 2007 New York
 

This is the second session of the day, Chris Sherman will be moderating. He says images are interesting that with experiments trying to understand images via pixels, size, etc.. have been promising, but on the web filename, alt text, and so on matter to the search engine. How do you get images well ranked in the search engines?

First up is Shari Thurow and is going to discuss a brief basic review. There is primary vs. secondary text, including alternative text. Web pages should contain the words and phrases that your target audience types into search queries. Information architecture and interface is important to give search engine spiders easy access to keyword rich content. Link development including number and quality of objective, 3rd party links pointing to the url. She discuss the difference between primary and secondary text. Primary text is what the search engines definitely read. Secondary text is the things that some search engines may look at. She gives an example of Art Institute of Chicago and how the page only contains images with alt text that says Art Institute of Chicago. The links pointing to this page is what makes it rank in Google she says.

If your brand is extremely popular OR if your main keyword phrases are truly unique, acceptable to have a graphics intensive web site and or page. She gives an example of the Nissan group and how badly optimized the page is and how Yahoo outranks the Nissan site because it uses a combination of html text and graphic text.

Graphic image search is extremely popular. Term highlighting in the url is popular. Search engines do not see graphic images like they do images. Graphics images are made up of bits instead of text, search engines currently are not able to directly compare query words with the actual content of a graphic image. Search engines can tell now between a woman’s and mans face, they can also see colors in images. She next shows example of why a certain image ranks for a specific keyword, because the text is above and below the images One thing search engines looks for is jpg and gif. Gif’s only have 256 colors while jpgs have millions of colors. Search engines think that jpgs are most likely photographs. File names are important for graphic image optimization than text file optimization. Search engines are looking for context, use keyword rich labels or captions is important for graphic image optimization. Name your graphic images in a way that makes sense to your target audience. Do not let software generate file names. Always provide contextual cues to image search engine when appropriate.

Li Evans from Commerce360 is up second and going to give some opportunities for retailers, rep management people, etc. Image is one the fastest growing search verticals. Shoppers are visual. They want to see it before they buy it. Print them out and take it to the store with them. Search engine incorporate images into contextual searches. Its another avenue of search marketing with out having to pay for the traffic. The opportunities out there are hot products, niche markets, comparison shopping, contextual search, and reputation management. Li gives an example of a hot toy for 2006 which was the roboreptile. Niche markets provide opportunity to gain traffic. It is easier to optimize images and creates better conversion rates. She gives an example of flameless candles and how small business are doing a better job than big retailers in optimizing their images. Use images in your shopping search feed. 3 of the 4 major search engines integrate images into some contextual search results. Searchers can form an impression of a brand, product or service by the images they view. What does an image search say about you? She gives an example of an RIAA search and how there are images that the company probably would not want to have. She gives another example of Neil Princess Patel. Hot products in retail offer opportunities in image search. Niche marketing are great for smaller retailers in image search. Use images in comparison shopping feeds.

Chris Silver Smith from Net Concepts is up and he is going to talk about how to optimize images through image sharing sites. He believes you can get good inbound links from photo sharing sites. The design of Flickr is advantageous for SEO. It offers titles, H1 tag, captions, tagging, cross grouping, comments, sharing, alt text, and optimal linking hierarchies, Date taken & page views. Users can add more text. Steps for optimizing images, have good quality pictures to use. Pictures with good contrast tend to work better. Be broad in experimenting with subject matter for pictures intended to drive traffic and conversions. Factories might show setps in product manufacture. B&B might show furniture & decorative art. Some steps to optimize images. Add unique title, appropriate to the image. Add a description for the photo or even write an article to go with the image. Always tag your image with keywords. Be specific. If the photo is location specific, geotag the picture. If taking many location specific, pix, consider using a camera that has built in GPS, allowing photos to be automatically geotagged with the EXIF data. Create thematic sets for your photos and add each pic to the set appropriate for it. There is a penalty in the interestingness algorithm of Flickr that if you require people to link back to you when you create a group, then it will demote your image somewhat. Also, link over to each of your Flickr photo pages from your website. Try experimenting reuploading images in order to help it rank better. He is not sure how successful this is.

With Google make sure to enable Enhance Image Search feature in Webmaster Central. Some recent research was published and they took image tagged images and associated parts of the image that are tagged and use those blocks to determine what is contained in other images. True image could be affecting the results pretty soon. MSN Live search says they might be doing some of the more advanced true image search by looking at blocks from the images to determine the subject of other photos. Very interesting. Good presentation.

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