I bet you don’t give the images on your blog the attention they really deserve.
Luckily there are just a few easy principles you should be following. And once you make them a habit you’ll get yourself a new consistent source of traffic.
To be honest, I’m guilty of not following these easy tips myself. So this post is not just a guide to getting the most from the images on your blog, but also a promise to my own self to finally make it a habit.
Hope you’ll join me in this quest.
Images Do Bring Visitors
It’s not a surprise that the web is becoming more visual these days. You’ve probably heard about Pinterest (which is already being copied by others). Their website is just a never-ending feed of images and people go nuts about it!
Well, guys at Google knew the power of visual content long before Pinterest appeared on the map. In 2007 they announced “Universal Search” & Blended Results which brought images, videos, news and all sorts of other visual stuff to their search results.
And it was a no-brainer for us marketers, that image and video results are much more visible and have a higher CTR than the regular snippets of text.
See where I’m going?
Google Image Search is not the only place where the images from your blog may pop. If optimized properly, they may appear right on the front page of regular search results, which will bring you tons of traffic.
But Do They Bring Visitors To You?
You may want to visit your Google Analytics account and check how much traffic the images on your blog are bringing you right now.
Cause I was a bit disappointed today when I saw that:
This kind of report is available in your Google Analytics under Acquisition -> All Referrals -> find “google.com” there and click it -> find “/imgres” there and click it.
So does your graph look impressive?
NOTE: the graph above is only showing you the traffic from images that appear in regular search results (Universal Search). In case you’d like to see your statistics from Google Image search as well, see this amazing tutorial.
Well, here’s what I’m going to do in order to make the graph above look more sexy.
Making The Most Out Of The Images On Your Blog
There are only two core principles here and luckily both of them are no rocket science.
Just make following these principles a habit (like I’m about to) and your traffic from images will start growing.
- The images should be extremely relevant to your article
- The images should be properly optimized for Google
Let’s break them down:
1. Picking Relevant Images For Your Article
Let me put an image of an adorable cat in this very post:
Let’s pretend it’s perfectly optimized and it pops in Google whenever people are searching for “adorable cat”.
That means some people will land on this article because of this cat picture. But will they stick?
This article is nothing more but meaningless jibber-jabber for this kind of visitors.
So instead of posting cats, I need to focus on the images, that would be relevant to what my article is about (screenshots of Google search results and Google Analytics that I’ve used above are quite relevant by the way).
This way I will get visitors who are actually interested in reading this article.
2. Optimizing Images For Google
In essence, you should put keywords that describe what’s on the image to 3 places: filename, alt tag and caption (or surrounding text).
Keywords in Filename
Something like “005243.jpg” is absolutely non-descriptive filename (unless of course you have nothing else but numbers 005243 written on the picture).
You should use a filename that would best describe what you can see on the picture. If it’s an adorable cat with blue eyes on a sofa I suggest you use a filename like that:
TIP: use hyphens to separate words
Keywords in Alt tag
You should place pretty much the same descriptive keywords in the “alt” tag of your image. Thanks to WordPress, it’s super easy to do:
It is my personal belief that filename has much more weight in the eyes of Google than the alt tag. But since SEOs love it so much I guess it helps too.
TIP: don’t use hyphens to separate the words of your Alt tag (just kidding)
Keywords in Caption and/or surrounding text
And as a final argument to Google you should leverage your Caption and/or surrounding text.
Caption is again something you can fill in once you’re adding the picture via WordPress editor (see my “grumpy cat” example above).
And once the post is published the caption will be displayed right below the picture (see text under my “grumpy cat” example above).
In case you’re not using image captions on your blog (I strongly recommend you do, cause people love them) you can put these keywords somewhere in the text that’s surrounding this image. That would be a signal to Google that the image is highly relevant to these keywords.
And that’s it! It takes no more than a minute to fully optimize an image. So guys, we should definitely make it a habit!
Unique Images = More Results
I know it’s not that simple as it sounds, but bloggers should strive to using unique images in their articles .
Cause this is how a common scenario looks like:
- I need an image of an adorable cat for my post (like the one above);
- I go search Google Images for “adorable cat” and find the image I like (exactly the one above);
- I use that image in my article and optimize it perfectly for keyword “adorable cat” (see above);
- I feel stupid, because I’m trying to get to the top of Google with a copy of image that’s already there.
I’m not a Google engineer, but I’m sure they somehow prevent this kind of scenario from happening:
- They can see that the images are identical, why should they rank the new one higher than the old one?
- If the old image was generating lots of clicks and downloads – that means it’s relevant to what was searched for, which is yet another reason to keep it in place.
And besides, some people say it’s bad to “steal” images that way, as they probably belong to someone else.
This all leads to a logical conclusion: you should use unique images in your articles.
Unique images have much better chances to rank in Google and they don’t irritate other people.
But where to get them? That would be a nice topic for my next blog post.
And meanwhile I’d like to hear your thoughts on this article in comments.