Search Marketing and Image Optimisation

September 9, 2013 - Digital State Marketing

The role of images in search marketing tends not to be discussed as much as the many other aspects of the industry. Perhaps this hails from the historical (yet continuing) focus on content in the form of text taking precedence in the indexing and algorithms of the search engines. However, imagery plays an important role in the usability of web design and as such should be included in search marketing audits. There is also evidence to suggest that the presence of links increases the chances of a page being shared and linked to.

In response to the issue of search engines not dealing with images, this is not strictly true. Hyper Textual Search Engines (such as Google) deal only with text, however, when you place an image on your website the HTML lets them know that the image exists. This is why it is important to tag your images correctly. For example if your image is described as an octopus but in fact the image is of a cat, it will still be treated as an octopus in the image index of the search engine. For example the following image comes up in the images section of Google UK in a search for dinosaurs:

Dr Who episode - Dinosaurs

Image From http://www.addictedtomedia.net/2012_09_01_archive.html

The alt text is as follows “alt=”Doctor Who series 7: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” As you can see the image is tagged in a manner that makes sense in context of the blog ie the picture relates to an episode which features dinosaurs. However, in terms of the content of the image there is are no dinosaur references. As the internet is an undeniably visual resource the search engines are keen to incorporate images and videos in their results however, as mentioned, they are limited by the descriptions provided. With the addition of image results to many search queries, optimising your image content correctly is increasingly important within search marketing campaigns. So keep your alt tags succinct and to the point, ideally stick to describing the image not the page that it is on.

Another key aspect to remember when dealing with images within web design is their impact on page load time, which is a known factor influencing search marketing campaigns. However, this is perfectly manageable and your web designer will be able to help you. At a basic level the balance is between size, resolution and the number of images on the page.

There are many ways to incorporate imagery into websites, such as adding interest to your news pages or including stock images into review articles on site. Many parenting blogs have taken on a trend started by Mocha Beanie Mummy called “Silent Sundays”, whereby participates simply post a photo taken in the previous week. That’s it, no words at all, the premise are to reflect the week with a single image. Bear in mind however, that the search engines utilise the surrounding content to gather more information about the image. So a completely unrelated picture to your article could be counterproductive to your image based search marketing efforts.

For more information about the inclusion of images into your web design, contact Digital State Marketing.