Search Engine Optimization For Images Is Now Vital
Image SEO (search engine optimization), or ISO (image search optimization), is the process of organizing the images on a websiteto reflect the specific keywords which the content of the site is targeting. Considered a subset of SEO, the goal is higher organic search engine rank positions (SERPs) for your website's listing, which increases traffic.
“If I knew then what I know now…”
We have all heard this phrase before. Why? Because “Hindsight is 20/20…”
What if the year was 1995 again, except this time you already knew everything you have learned since then, about Internet Marketing, SEO and SEM? You would be poised to make billions, right?
Well, unless you have a time machine then you are stuck in 2011 with the rest of us.
However, there is a unique opportunity right now in SEO that has effectively leveled the playing field. It isn’t going to be 1995 again, but those who act fast may be able to seize the day – and a big boost in their SERPs as well!
Until now, the general consensus on Image Search Engine Optimization has been that there isn’t a lot that can be done. This excerpt from Wikipedia pretty much sums it up:
Unlike normal SEO process, there isn't much to do for ISO. Making high quality images accessible to search engines and providing some description about images is almost all that can be done for ISO.
Well, that may have been true up until now, but new technology has emerged that is rapidly making this point of view obsolete.
Why Your Image SEO Strategy Is Obsolete:
Recent advancements in image reading technology have finally brought images into the same category as content with respect to SEO. For instance, Google’s new additions to its Image search reveal more about what the Googlebot sees in images. Not convinced? Just drag any image and drop it into the google image search bar and you will quickly be presented with some very interesting results.
First, you will get a list of every other occurrence of the image appearing on other webpages that are contained in the google index.
Second, and most importantly, you will find that the subject matter of the image has been identified (correctly or not) according to what Google has determined the image to be all about. If Google is not exactly sure about the subject of the image, it will provide its “best guess” for the image subject, presumably taking into account the context in which the image appears, the ‘alt’ tag, if available, and the context of the surrounding content on the page(s) where the image is found.
If you think that text appearing in the image is out of the Googlebot’s reach, think again! As OCR technology has advanced, it is a fact that most text appearing in images can be accurately deciphered. This is precisely how Captcha defeating services have recently been able to flourish among automated script and bot developers.
Of course, you are probably already aware that facial recognition is widely used these days, and just as a video camera can scan and detect facial features with a high degree of accuracy, faces appearing in images can also be identified with a small margin of error.
And Google isn’t alone in this endeavor. Facebook Images have already started taking over the internet in terms of SEO importance, with the ability to tag people and things appearing in images.
Further proof of concept can be gleaned from the fact that Facebook recently tried to acquire Instagram and also plans to add many similar type photo filters to its list of features soon. You can read the full write-up about it in the New York Times, August 24th, 2011 Article on the subject.
So if you still aren’t convinced that your image SEO strategy is on the way out, fast, then I can’t help you! But if you are ready to take advantage of this huge new opportunity to boost your SERPs, then be sure to read my upcoming post on exactly what to do to make sure you get the full benefits when the new Image SEO goes mainstream!