Image Search Optimization

With some of my websites I have found that the image search function for both Google and Yahoo has generated a significant increase in traffic. In fact, I have one website that increased it’s daily uniques by over 300 visitors a day, just because of image searching. I watched my sales and advertising clickthrough rates skyrocket, as well as my conversion ratios.

Let do the math: 300 uniques average x 30 days per month = 9000 new targeted visitors per month.

The key, like any other search optimization techniques, is relevancy. Those alt tags parameter that can be included in the <img> helps the search engine understand the content of your images. Otherwise, they are seen by spiders big block of pixels with no real meaning.

Your image naming conventions also help. Let’s say your website is about guitars and you have photos of various Gibson Les Pauls. Naming your image “1979-gibson-les-paul.jpg” is far more beneficial than say “picQ13F344.jpg”.

Couple your image naming with the alt tag: <img src=”images/1979-gibson-les-paul.jpg” alt=”1979 Gibson Les Paul”>

Image size is also a concern. I have found that images larger than 150 x 150 pixels do quite well, as they are large enough to illustrate a clear picture. I believe this is factor in the search algorithm, however, it is difficult to substantiate that claim. I do know my luck has been good when they are over 150×150. Likewise, if it is a thumbnail that clicksthrough to a larger image, give the larger image the arbitrary name, while giving the thumbnail the descriptive name. This will help cut down on your bandwidth while keeping your traffic flowing.

Now naturally, you’ll want your surrounding text to also be topical. Surrounding it with a brief overview of the the 1979 Gibson Les Paul will help favor your image even more.

Many image searches open their results in a frameset. Sometimes, this can have a detrimental effect on how your website is displayed. I personally use an external javascript to break out of all frames, including those generated by links in hotmail accounts. I haven’t had any problems with the search engines, however, some may frown upon this use and choose not to include your website. If you go this route and get banned, please do not blame me. I am just relaying my experience.

Taking the time to utilize these simple tactics can yield impressive results overtime. What you do with that traffic is up to you, but certainly it should help you generate enough traffic to do something with.


For musicians, this technique can work wonders for their search engine traffic.

One suggestion I have made to clients is to request permission from photo copyright holders to include pictures of musicians in your genre that you enjoy on your own website. If you are given permission, or if you have photos that you hold the copyright to, build a separate pages dedicated to these musicians. Use the above image search optimization techniques in conjunction with these pages and make sure you have links pointing to the pages from at least one or two linked pages on your main site.

If you would like more information, read my article How to Promote Band Websites.


Kyle wrote 97 posts

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