Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on December 11th, 2009

How To Search Engine Optimize Images

Sometimes it is much easier to use images on your website instead of text. Search engines, however, cannot accurately read images, so unless you explicitly tell the search engines what your images are about, they will provide no search engine optimization value to your page.

While images may not be search engine-friendly, they are visitor-friendly. A vibrant, eye-catching image-based website compels visitors to stay longer and browse deeper into your site. Quality, relevant images can also increase visitor trust and inevitably lead to more conversions. Here is an example from one of our clients, YETI Coolers:

Most web designers will tell you to limit the amount of images you use on your site, especially if you can say what you need to in words. However, if you do use images, you can use Alt Image tags to ensure that search engines understand what the image is about.

An Alt Image tag is located within an tag, and its syntax is as follows:

Think of the Alt Image tag as a textual replacement for an image. If for some reason the image doesn’t appear, this tag will in its place. Take time to write a unique, relevant description of the image. Be careful not to stuff it with keywords or phrases, because abuse of these tags will lead to ranking penalties.

The Alt Image tags have been notoriously abused by black hatters and spammers who try to stuff as many keywords as they can in them. Do not repeat the same words over and over again, and never repeat the same Alt Image tag more than once, unless the same exact image is used again.