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Optimizing Images For Search Engines – SEO

Adjacent to the textual search, Image Searching is the fastest growing vertical search on the internet. As compared to searches queries concerning shopping, news, blogging, etc., image search has beat them by a mile. However, the most important thing about image search is how images are being incorporated and utilized into Google’s Universal Search, Ask’s 3d Search and Yahoo’s Blended Search from each of their image search queries into the ‘regular’ search results.

No longer are just 3 images appearing at the top of the results page, you’ll see images integrated in a lot of ways. Sometimes a group of images may appear at the bottom of a page, as against the top of a page. All the search engines are enhancing the levels of AI(Artificial Intelligence) in their algorithm and trying to make search results more relevant, hence keeping it interactive and visually appealing, having images in search results makes things look more smarter. So keeping that in mind, here are 5 tips to make sure the images in your site are optimized to the full extent for search engines without causing any issues.

1. The Robots.txt file
make sure that the folder in which your images are being stored is not blocked by your robots.txt file. Before image search gained popularity, mostly the folders where images were stored were blocked by most webmasters. Helpful hint: Store all navigational and “structural” type graphics used in your site in one folder, and block that from the bots i.e. spiders.
2. Names Of Image Files
When naming an image ensure the name describes what the picture actually is of. If it’s a picture of a black rose, name it black-rose.jpg, instead of leaving it what your photo editing software or camera has named it. Helpful Hint: The preferences by search engines for word seperators goes from dashes(hyphens’-’) to underscores, etc. So use black-rose.jpg instead of black_rose.jpg.
3. Use the Alt Attribute of the IMG tag
Using the ‘alt’ attribute of the img tag is a must. Again, just like the image name, let it describe what the image actually is. The description should be short and straight to the point. Helpful Hint: The alt tab gives the users a brief idea as to what the image is when the image is not loaded or if the user has turned off image browsing or is accessing the page just from a text browser.
4. Use a Caption By Your Image
Having a caption directly under, on to the top or on the side of the image will help the search engines understand what the image is about. Helpful Hint: With a caption, you can be a bit more descriptive as compared to the alt atb, but remember, don’t overdo it.
5. Include Images With Articles, & Press Releases
If you are adding or submitting an article to a social bookmarking site or article directory, let the image too go with it, so that they can add the image as a thumbnail to the article wherever required. If you supply the link to the image, it may encourage them to link the image straight from your website itself. Helpful Hint: Adding images to articles and press releases makes them more descriptive and understandable to the reader.

Always remember, a search engine bot will never see an image like we humans do. All it knows about the image is :
1) The name(which will be at the end of the image link)
2) Alternate text (using the alt attribute)
3) Description added as Caption text.

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