A picture is known to be worth a thousand words, but with Google’s recent image updates, that is truly an understatement for those in visual industries. Yes— we are talking to you photographers, designers, home-builders, and all others who rely on imagery to sell products and services. Google previously grouped all traffic coming from image searches in with organic search results. So, if someone clicked on an image featured on your website through an image search, Google was not reporting that data separately from your website traffic.
As of a few weeks ago, Google is now reporting on image searches as their own category in analytics data. So, why is this big news you may ask? Google has finally realized the importance of image reporting for those in visual industries. You will now have the ability to see which specific images are most valuable to your business and allow you to create specific audiences for different image searches. In other words, this added reporting will help you understand your audience 10X better.
This brings us to our next point: if you aren’t optimizing your images for search engines, now is more important than ever to start! Optimizing your images is a key component of improving your SEO and generating more website traffic, but with Google’s recent changes, image optimization is even more valuable to get the most out of your analytics for audience data insights.
So you’re probably thinking this sounds great and all, but how do you actually optimize your images? Alt image tags, also known as image descriptions, are a great place to start. These tags are used to provide a text alternative for search engines. In a galaxy far far away (really like 5 years ago), people began stuffing their image descriptions with hundreds of random keywords just to help increase their viewability on search engines. Google quickly caught on and actually started docking your search engine ranking for this practice. So, while alt image tags are important for optimization, always be sure that the keywords you are entering match your image.
Another best practice is always saving your image with a keyword focused title. Image titles alert Google crawlers of the subject matter pertaining to your image, and further improve your images viewability on a given search. When coming up with keywords for your image, be sure to focus on what a consumer would most likely be searching for to stop on your image, but nothing too generic that it gets lost in the shuffle of Google searches. While it may be easier to just save your image as the default IMG_2842, it is an investment in making your content become as viewable as possible by taking a few extra steps.
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