Use Photos for SEO!
A few weeks ago, I suggested/informed/declared that Flickr was a great place to get a little extra traffic to your site. A photo site?
Yesterday Bing announced a visual search where photos would show up instead of text. I believe this is something every SEO company should be aware of…and exploit.
Google already has an image search. It’s something I use for almost every image used here and elsewhere. Sometimes the search term I use to find a photo reflects the topic at hand. For this post I knew I would be talking about photos. In my mind it was a lot of photos, not a specific one. So I searched for collage, found the one displayed here and saved it to my hard drive as a file called “photo seo.jpg.” Then I added the “alt” tag “photos can help SEO.” This is a little SEO trick to help this page and to help the photo show up on Google images. I could have kept the original file name or left off the alt tag, but why let such opportunities go to waste? Plus I want my photo to be more relevant so someone doing a search for seo photo might actually read this article.
Sometimes I pick a photo that’s ironic or funny. Yesterday, I did a search for apples and oranges to represent visually how different Facebook and SEO are. I didn’t change the file name which was applesoranges.jpg or some such thing. I also didn’t use an alt tag. The file name was perfect. I assume that’s a pretty common search term and I’m hoping that article will show up.
For the Facebook article, I didn’t use the best photo I found. I really liked the one where someone had hand stiched half an apple and half an orange together and then taken a beautiful photo of it. When you use images, there are copyright issues to consider. Here’s how I handle it. If I see a copyright, like I did with that image, I steer clear of it. If I see the same image over and over on different websites, I assume it’s fair game.
The image I used yesterday was also an original image, but had no copyright info on it. I supplied a link back to the original and feel pretty confident I won’t have any problems. If for some reason the site owner asked me to remove the image, I would comply in a heartbeat and find another suitable image.
Why don’t I link right to the image instead of saving it first? This practice, known as hotlinking, has become quite dangerous for several reasons.
1. By linking to the image, you’re using the other site’s bandwidth. I know I don’t have enough traffic yet to impact anyone, but it’s bad form.
2. The site hosting the image may go down, and your site will have an ugly gap. Sites come and go. It’s a fact of the Internet. Never rely on someone else’s site.
3. The image may be changed. Any one can name any file, anything. It’s happened in the past where a completely benign file name that was hotlinked, suddenly became a pornographic image because the disgruntled host realized someone was effectively stealing their bandwidth.
If you’re not using images in your blog posts or website, now is the time to start. Here are some quick tips.
Use Flickr to host your original images. Do fill in the description tags and use an SEO friendly file name. Do provide your website in the description area as well.
Always save and reupload images you find on the web. Do rename the image if necessary. Do use alt tags to enhance the image’s description. Remember that humans can read the alt tags, so don’t simply keyword stuff.
Don’t steal images!
Remember that photos provide additional SEO exposure especially on Bing and Google. Plan accordingly.