SEO has many parts to it (understatement of the year). One of the topics that come up quickly, and often is the idea of optimizing images. In fact, done correctly, image search can give you a nice traffic lift, and if you license out your images for use across the Internet – well, you know what can happen. Try it: Enter a search phrase into Google, and select the “Images” link from the left navigation area. You’ll see the image display results.

How can you optimize for images on your website?

Over the years, the HTML ALT attribute (the popular term is “tag,” which is technically incorrect, but I use it here since most folks are familiar with that term) and its use have not been utilized well for search engine optimization. It has been used–still is– as a spammy way to try to manipulate results for search engines.

Learn how to optimize for users and search engines in this short post and discover the ALT attribute techniques that work. And, we look at 508 accessibility issues –  it is also included briefly in the video snippet.

The basic syntax looks like this: <img src=”keyword-specific-name.jpg” alt=”description of my image”>. Where spam would enter the scene is via keyword stuffing (many words crammed into the ALT attribute) in hopes of getting ranked by those keywords inserted. You guessed it:

This does not work, and certainly is no long term strategy.

Do it correctly and optimize for Google’s image search by providing a good filename and a short, related description. If you are looking to brand yourself, you may even graphically place a transparent logo or overlay text right on the image. This way, when it shows up in image search, users have a reference of its origin. You see this often on videos (i.e.: youtube), where a reference to the website sits on the bottom of the screen during play–as a reminder of where it came from.

Enjoy this SEO video about ALT / image attributes from the Google Search Spam Cop, Matt Cutts.

What do you think?


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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.