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Search Engine Placement Using Google Image Search

By Michael Rock (c) 2006

In case you didn’t know it, or didn’t care Google has an image search located on the tab just to the right of its web search where you can search the internet for images based upon the text you type into the search box. This article will explain how to optimize your web site to use this to your advantage.

When you do a Google Image search you will get a page of results that show the images according to your search query. Along with the images you will get a description of file size, image size, and file type. Google also shows some text that is near the image on the web page where the image was found and the web site address of the image.

If you were to clíck on the image to see the image better, you would be brought to a framed page where Google’s information along with a link to view the full size image is in the top frame and in the bottom frame is the actual page of where the image comes from.

This bottom frame, if enticing, will generate traffïc to come visit your web site and make a sale. Take this idea for an example. Say you wanted to see what a DeLorean looked like and typed it into Google Image search. You would get a result of images and, if you happen to want to see a bígger image of the DeLorean or noticed that it came from a web site called, you would clíck on the image. On the next page in the bottom frame where the web page of the image is located you see a deal on a DeLorean that you like the looks of (from finding out with the help of Google Image search) for sale for only $1000!

This is just one possibility out of many showing how Google Image can be of benefit to your web site. If the web page is intriguing enough, people will visit your web site to see what else they come across. Maybe someone will do an image search on afghans and discover a class or video on the subject from your web site. The possibilities are endless.

An Overlooked Way to Get Traffïc

Optimizing the images on your web site is often an overlooked way to get genuine traffïc. In the past stuffing the tags of an image (the text that shows up when you rest your mouse pointer over a picture) with keywords got you ranked high, but the search engines soon discovered the abuse of this and now penalize web sites for it. Optimizing the images for a web site done correctly can gain traffïc to your web site. Granted it is not as targeted as web text searches on the internet, but this often overlooked way can bring traffïc and salës to your site.

How Does Google Rank for Images?

Google looks at these factors when determining which images to rank first in an image search:

-Image File Name
-ALT Text of Image
-Text Surrounding the Image
-Page Title and other Web Page Factors

If you were to do a few searches using Google Image search, you would discover easily the commonality of the top ranked images. The most important are the file name, alt text, body text surrounding the image, and page title. I will describe these further.

Image File Name

When you do a Google Image search and right clíck on the image to save it you see the file name of the image. You will discover that the top images usually have the keyword you typed in your search query.

ALT Text

If you are using Internet Explorer and rest your mouse pointer over the image displayed in the web page where it came from, you will discover that the top images also contain the keyword you used in your search query.

Text Surrounding the Image

You will notice that Google takes text containing your keyword search query and displays it next to the image for a brief description. Google uses this method in regular web text searches as well. So it is plain to see that this is relevant to Google Image Search as well.

Page Title and Other Factors

If you notice the page title and URL of the web page where the image resides, you will find your search query keyword there as well.

How Do You Optimize Your Web Site for Google Image Search?

Easy! Just make sure that the file name of your image reflects what it is really about. Instead of 00001a.jpg name it delorean.jpg. Make sure that your tag accurately describes what the picture is about using the keyword you want to optimize for. For example for the delorean.jpg picture you could write an alt tag like this. (alt=”DeLorean for sale for $1000″) Just be sure not to enter ‘DeLorean’ for every image and graphic on your web page. This is a blatant misuse of the alt tag and will get you penalized by the search engines.

Make sure that the text surrounding the images contains the keyword you want to shoot for. If you have a picture of a DeLorean, it is natural that the web page will have text about it, so little effort is needed here.

And, if you really wanted to optimize for it, make sure your keyword is in the tag and URL of your web site.</p><p><strong>About The Author</strong><br />Michael Rock is a teacher, author, and web designer. He is also the founder of <a href="" onclick="__gaTracker('send', 'event', 'outbound-article', '', 'The Internet Presence');">The Internet Presence</a> which offers web development services and <a href="" onclick="__gaTracker('send', 'event', 'outbound-article', '', 'Web Ranking Consultants');">Web Ranking Consultants</a> which offers SEO consultation and services.


Camilla Todd
Camilla Todd is Head of Digital Marketing at WNW Digital and manages Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Social Media campaigns and Brand Awareness for WNW Digital SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at or phone on 01392 349580