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Tip Tuesday: Image Optimization for Search Engine Inclusion

Images are a powerful tool for your web site. They not only help to tell a story or give you visual of the point being made, but they are also another tool used to find your web site and its pages. People have asked me on numerous occasions why I spend time naming my images with keywords and optimizing their tags. I simply say, “the more open doors, the better!”

A better question to ask is how does image optimization help your web site. believe it or not, it’s a fairly simple answer – to gain better placement in the search engines. Many of us know that you can find images when you use Google, Yahoo or Bing. But most of us don’t know the power of image search and how it drives great traffic to your web site. So I’ve put together some tips to help you optimize the images on your web site and benefit from gaining strong positions for your images in the major search engines.

Make Sure Your Image is Original

Images can be pictures taken with a camera or graphics. Either way, you want to make sure that your picture(s) cannot be found anywhere else but your web site. Now i know what you’re thinking, how can that be possible? There are steps you can take to make sure that your images stay unique to your web site. You can install code on each page to prevent right clicking and people downloading your images. You can also place a watermark on your images and place the watermark in an odd place so it cannot be cropped out. Once you optimize the image for the chosen keywords, Your web site should hold a strong position in the image search area of the major search engines and create another avenue of driving traffic to your web site.

Optimize Everything You Can

Earlier Post on Image Optimization

Optimizing your images is not as complicated as it may sound. All you have to do is use keywords that are relevant to your web site or the page that the image is to be placed on. So how do you pull this off you say? Naming your image according to your web site or web pages keywords helps a lot. Let’s just you have a moving company web site in Las Vegas and you have page named, “Las Vegas Movers”. If you have an image on the page that relates to moving and you name the image file, “Las Vegas movers”, you’ve just made that image relevant to that page. Take it a step further and also optimize the ALT image tag with the same keywords. Here’s an example of what the url to your image should look like:

http://example.com/moving-images/las-vegas-movers.jpg

and this is how your img tag should look optimized in the source code of your web page.

<img alt=”las vegas movers” src=”http://example.com/moving-images/las-vegas-movers.jpg”>

If you noticed, I placed dashes between the words. This helps to break up the words and gives the search engine spiders a more clear crawl. You can also place a TITLE tag in your <img src> tag, but I recommend that you use it only when you have a link in your image.

Combine that with the copy on the web page and now you’ve given strength to that image and page and the image has a strong chance of being indexed by the search engines.

Add Your Images to Your XML Sitemap

Google, Yahoo and Bing allow you to submit your XML Sitemaps to their data base. It’s a great way to tell the major search engines to crawl your web site and bring attention to the pages and its content. But what many don’t know is that you can add your images to your sitemap for better and quicker inclusion. I am not saying that you are guaranteed strong placement or placement at all, but I am saying that you dramatically increase your chances. Below is an example of how you can place your images into your sitemap weather you have one or you’re in the process of building one.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
  xmlns:image="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1">
 <url>
   <loc>http://example.com/sample.html</loc>
   <image:image>
     <image:loc>http://example.com/image.jpg</image:loc>
   </image:image>
   <image:image>
     <image:loc>http://example.com/photo.jpg</image:loc>
   </image:image>
 </url>
</urlset>

Notice the part of the XML code highlighted in red and you will see where the the images on your web pages are included. You can add up to 1000 images to your XML Sitemap. This way, every image you want recognized by the search engines is included in the sitemap when it’s submitted.

Including your most important images in your sitemap tells the search engines that these images need to be acknowledged and indexed. By not including them you are telling the search engines not to pay close attention to them. With image optimization, you are creating another avenue in the search engines to be found and that’s the main point of establishing your web site…. TO BE FOUND. We also have a post on image optimization that gives a clear picture on how to choose the format for your image files and how slow loading pictures effect your web site in the search engines.

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