Monday, November 2, 2009

Alt Tag - Image Optimization

Google's implementation of Universal Search has changed the whole search landscape and settled the often debated SEO issue of whether the use of ALT
text and keywords in image file names have any effect on rankings. In two words- they do.

1. Context is extremely important. Images can rank based on what surroundsthem on the page. Pay attention to keyword text, headings, etc. on the page.
Image-only sites generally only work well if it is an extremely well-known brand or product. Otherwise, you need keyword rich text.

2. URL content text is important, too. The text of your URL is looked at as partof the context surrounding the image. The domain name, directory name and
filename of the image (name it with keywords) are taken into consideration as faras relevance.

3. Use captions if possible. Take a tip from newspaper photos and placekeyword rich captions with your images. Make the text good, quality content, not
keyword spam.

4. Proper image type is crucial. Make absolutely sure your photographs are.jpg and not .gif. The .jpg format is standard for photographs whereas the .gif
format is normally used for graphic images.

5. Images can effect reputation management. Non-flattering images can reallyhurt you. Optimizing your images can help push any images you would rather the
public not see off the results pages.

6. Create a sitemap feed of images. As with web pages, the search enginescan follow a sitemap that you create of images that you want spidered.

7. Use descriptive ALT text. Search optimizers used to debate over whetherALT text had any influence on rankings. That debate is over. Optimize your
images using descriptive keyword-rich ALT text. Don't stuff the ALT attribute.Make it short and to the point. The keyword rich ALT text for your images could
be the tie-breaker over who gets the top spot, so always use it.

8. Use the word "picture" or "photo" in your ALT text. Some searchers do usethose words when they search for images.

9. Label images with your brand or URL. This will capture some home pagetraffic for you. Watermark the images or just add your URL somewhere.

10. Use high quality images. Unique images with good contrast tend to be thebest.

11. Add photos to Google Maps. Fluff up your Google Maps listing with photosand images. These can influence visitors who find you through local search, etc.

12. Post images to Flickr. Open a Flickr account and put unique photos in youraccount. Basically, each photo you put up is its own web page with a title,
description and tags. You can include a link back to your site and share thephotos with other Flickr users and social sites.

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