Do Your Images Attract Google’s Attention?

May 15, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  10 Comments

It’s not just the Googlebot that crawls images on your web properties. There’s also an image-specific robot for indexing images – Googlebot-image. And the best idea to attract maximum attention from Google is to get your images (and pages) crawled by both Googlebot and Googlebot-image. Properly optimized images can prove to be a source of additional traffic. As internet passes through a phase of ‘visual boom’, it’s vital to make sure all the images on your website and blog get quickly indexed by Google, so they can appear in Google image search.

While publishing images, one thing that should always remain at the top of your mind is that it enhances the experience of users. Image search and web search are like the two sides of a coin. Even when it comes to searching images, Google strives to return most relevant results to users.

Google-Supported Image Formats
If you really want to help Google index your images quickly, you should always remember to use only those formats that it supports. On its official blog, Google mentions its supported formats including BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP and SVG. Therefore, you should always avoid using those image formats that are not supported by Google.

According to Google, it can index images of almost any size. Though size does not matter (it depends on your specific requirements), images formats must always be paid careful attention.

Googlebot vs Googlebot-Image
As mentioned above, both Googlebot and Googlebot can index your site’s images. But many times, webmasters notice that their images are only crawled by Googlebot. When there’s some confusion regarding the image URL, the image is first indexed by Googlebot. Once Googlebot is sure that the URL leads to an image, Googlebot-image re-indexes the image.

That’s why, getting your images and pages crawled by both Googlebot and Googlebot-image is a good idea from SEO point of view. Getting your pages indexed by both these robots is a way of attracting maximum attention from the search engine giant Google.

Ranking Algorithm for Google Image Search
Earlier, it was believed that PR played the biggest role in the search ranking of an image. Though the PR of the page (where the image is published) also plays some role, there are a host of other criteria that Google uses for ranking an image in its image search results.

Here’re some of the most important ones –

Placement of the image in a page
Image Alt tabs and filename
Image content (identified via the optical recognition system)
Domain authority of the website the image belongs to
Authority of the page that contains the image
Text surrounding the image

Though there are many other criteria that Google may use, these are the most important ones. Therefore, you should optimize your images by using appropriate filenames, alt tabs and the surrounding text. In addition, you should consider submitting an image sitemap to help Google know more about your images and rank higher in image search results.

Don’t Forget to Optimize for Social Sharing!
If you plan to increase the visibility of your images across the web, it’s a good idea to optimize your visual content for the social media as well. Social signals carry a lot of weight in terms of textual content. The same goes with the images that you publish. Always use superior quality, inspiring the relevant images. However, you should also remember to protect your images by making them available under an ‘attribution license’ so that those who share those images can attribute you (link pointing back to your domain) as the source.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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  • Kenny says:

    Does using alt codes for images really help?

  • biobank says:

    Yes, it is very necessary that our site should have some attractive images which can draw the user’s attention…

  • Pete Goumas says:

    It is not enough to have quality content in your blog to grab readers attention, it is also necessary to have images with content that catches readers attention. Many newbies don’t focus on it but later they found how important images are.

  • I was just having this same discussion with a client last week. We have a couple sites who the majority of search traffic is driven by our images, so yes I agree that properly optimizing images is extremely valuable!

  • Brian Ussery says:

    Hi Obaidul,

    Awesome post! I just wanted to add that using the proper image format in the right situation is also a critical decision, especially in terms of load time. In addition, there are often trade offs which must be made. For example, GIF formatted imagery often loads faster but does not provide EXIF data like you find in JPEG.

    -Brian

  • biobank says:

    If we want to attract the user’s attention, we should have some attractive images on our site.

  • Such a shame… i got to know the image sitemap today… thanks much

  • Jamy Hoster
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great information you have provide here as there are so many people who are doing optimization are working on it but they have lake of information that is why got fail some time but I must say they have to read your blog about image and google algo’s you have nice research on it and share it with all.