Before you think about optimizing your images, you need to think about your GOALS for the images.
1. Show up in image search
2. Help your pages rank organically
3. Show up in SERP features
4. Attract backlinks
What are some of the primary intents behind image search?
- Find a photo to use for ___ (presentation, website, graphic, etc)
- Find a visual guide on how to do something
- Look for a specific thing that you don’t know how to describe
- Compare similar items visually (or compare styles of photography)
- Compare different aspects of the same item visually (like a venue)
- Collect inspiration for a Pinterest board (or other bookmarking)
What attributes of an image make it more likely to show up in image search
- Large, high quality images
- Single images (instead of collages)
- Specific objects expected for a query
- Specific aesthetic expected for a query
What factors may contribute to image search rankings
- Image placement (near the top, or featured image)
- Text around photo
- Title of the page containing the photo
- Authority of the page/site containing the photo
- Relevance of the page containing the photo to the intent behind the search
- Image being embedded on other websites
- Other places the photo appears on your website
- Other places the photo appears on your social profiles
You really need to KNOW the subject you are optimizing for. What exactly do people want to see? For a venue, maybe they want to see cafe lights vs tented, or a front porch with a specific type of column that they’ve heard about. Maybe for an engagement session with dogs, they want to see if you can make a dog look at the camera, or look natural.
Large, high quality images, not as concerned about performance. Use the correct format (jpeg, png, etc)
Make a list of queries where you’d like to rank images, and think about how you can create pages or resources that serve the searcher intent for that query!
Outside of image search, how to images help webpages rank better organically
- Are images best for searcher intent?
- Visuals help improve the quality of certain types of content
- Step by step tutorial with photos is better than just text
- Queries that contain “gallery, photos, look like” etc
- Visuals help improve the quality of certain types of content
- Related image filename, content, and alt text
Here, your priority should likely be smaller images that won’t heavily impact performance. Fewer images on a page is probably better – aim for 15-20 max
SERP features that include or feature images
- Featured snippets
- Super Snippets
- Photos near ___ (from GMB)
- Regular organic results on mobile
- Image pack/carousel
Make sure your photos are easy to pin
Have SOME photos with creative commons or easy attribution licenses
Submit to places where editors can pick from a pool of images
Submit to Wikipedia
Leave photo reviews on GMB as your business
Dylan: Welcome to episode 10 of the SEO for photographers podcast with Dylan and Corey from fuel your photos. Today we're going to tackle the topic of image search.
Corey: I see. This is going to be so fun. Yeah, I'm super pumped. It's going to be like image image optimization strategy. Exactly.
Dylan: Yeah. So I mean, I don't want to spoil the whole podcast for you now, but pretty much photographers are always asking you about how to optimize their photos, how to best utilize their photos, because rightfully so, they do have an incredible resource that is extremely useful for SEO with their images.
But I feel like a lot of the times they're a little bit misguided on wanting to just optimize file names and all its text and forgetting about the rest of the strategy. That's hugely important.
Corey: Yeah. So what, before we jump into the things that we are going to cover. Maybe we should talk really briefly about what we're not going to cover here.
I mean, I feel like you just mentioned all texts and founders. We will talk about that a little bit. Not as much as you probably think we are, but a little bit, but we're not going to really get into here are things like image compression, sizing, uh, or you know, different kinds of pixel dimensions for retina or just like different strategies that might come into play with.
Ratios for responsiveness and things like that. As a photographer, it's your job to understand these things, and even if they are quite complex, I think you should at least spend some time learning about how JPEG or PNG or web P compression actually works, and you'll need to kind of have that as a fundamental.
Knowledge for manipulating images on the web and for the web. Uh, we'll try to link to some resources in the show notes for things like that. So if you're thinking, if you're trying to figure out image sizing and compression, we're not going to really go over that too much in this episode. We'll allude to it a little bit, but try to read some other resources and learn those things
Yeah. Those are kind of web design slash web performance topics. Um, and they don't really, from our testing or outside of a few things, actually affect your image search performance,
Corey: right? Like maybe if you're uploading five or six megabyte files that could affect performance of your page because of performance problems.
Uh, but yeah, that, that we're not gonna get into that too much. We'll go on into the things that we do think you need to think about. So, Dylan, why don't you. Outlined for us what we're going to cover here. What are the strategies or the goals that we think are most important for image optimization? Image search.
Dylan: Totally. So they're pretty much four goals that we could think of. The first is just showing up in image search. So Google as a search engine, and they have a totally separate set of results purely based on images. If you click the images tab, uh, and so just ranking your photos in image search is going to be one of the main goals.
After that. Helping your actual web pages rank organically. Um, so we're going to talk a little bit about this. Um, do the images help the pages rank? Do the pages, help the images rank a little bit of a chicken and egg situation? Uh, but it's quite interesting after that, showing up in Cirque features.
That's a search engine results page features. This could be featured snippets, image carousels, uh, grids of images. Um. Anytime that you see a photo show up in a regular web result, uh, we'll talk about that a little bit. And then after that, attracting backlinks, like I said earlier. Images are such a huge asset when it comes to SEO, because every website is always looking for images to use with their content to use with their marketing.
And you have a wealth of images, and so you're able to leverage that by sharing your images, getting backlinks in return.
Corey: Nice. All right. Well, why don't we just dive right into the first goal, and this might be one of the most popular goals that photographers are thinking when they consider image optimization, and that is just regular Google image search.
So why don't we start with the intense behind. Google search. So whenever someone or image search, whenever someone goes to Google, they go to the image tab and they type something in. What are they thinking? What are they trying to accomplish? We have a list of some examples. Let's go through some of those examples.
Dylan: just thought of one that we didn't include. That's probably the top, uh, intent, but I'll leave that one out for now. Um, yeah. Oh,
Corey: okay. I know he's thinking,
Dylan: yeah, it's bad. But, um. The first one is finding a photo to use in a presentation or a website in a graphic, something like that. And so quite often people use image search just so they can download that photo, save as, and then use it for something.
Corey: It's probably stealing.
Dylan: Exactly. Pretty much stealing. Um, so your intent there is, or what you need to think about there is that that's going to be happening and how can you possibly leverage it to benefit you. Yeah. Do you want to handle the next one?
Corey: Yeah. So the next intent could be that, uh, people are just looking for a visual guide on how to do something.
So maybe they want to, uh, build a playground. I'll probably use that example again later. They might do an image search so that they could find step by step instructions that include a
Dylan: visual. Totally. Uh, after that, they might be looking for a specific thing that they don't know how to describe. I do this all the time.
Um, I'll put in quite random queries, like, uh, if I'm looking for a specific tool or something that I saw, um, and I'm just trying to. Figure out what that is that I'm looking for.
Corey: Yup. I use Google lens a lot for this. Um, you can basically take a photo of any object and Google will basically do an image search and then return visually similar items, even if you don't know how to describe
Yeah. It's kind of scary how accurate it is.
Corey: I've been using it a lot lately with my son, not only for, uh, w w we go out and explore a lot, and so we've been using it on animals and nice. Like, well, we'll take a picture of some sort of frog to figure out what species it is or some sort of creature that we don't know.
We'll like do a quick image search for it to see is it venomous? Is it going to hurt me? Things like that. It's pretty crazy how accurate it is.
Dylan: That's awesome. Other than that, uh, another option would be to compare similar items visually, so they might be looking to compare different styles of photography.
Maybe they're searching for, um, uh, a venue and they want to compare night versus day or fall or spring. Um, maybe they're searching for bridesmaids dresses and they're just trying to figure out which style that they're really trying to look for.
Corey: Yeah. Basically the idea that like, I know I want to dress, but I can't, I don't know exactly what I want yet, but I'll know it when I see it, and so I could go do an image search to try to find it.
You've probably said that before. Yeah. And then the other thing that could be doing is just trying to collect inspiration, so maybe they're building a Pinterest board or some other sort of bookmarking tools that they're using. They're going to image search to try to save some images so that they can build up a pool of images that is going to be inspiration for what they're doing.
Yep. And those are just examples, like we want you to use this as like, Oh yeah, that's, that's how they might be thinking. Do this yourself. Think through every time you go to do an image search, why are you doing it, and what are you thinking? What brought you there in the first place, and what are you hoping to find?
And then use that same process to think through what are my clients likely thinking? What do they hope to find. That is the intent behind an image search. So you need to get really good at understanding the intent behind an image search and what people actually want to find, and then do it yourself and see what Google Google favors and what they returned to understand what Google thinks is the intent behind a specific keyword.
Dylan: For sure. And I mean this, this goes further than the actual image, uh, because you, I think you really need to think about that intent when you're. Trying to figure out what, what content to have on the page that the images embedded on. Because when people land on that page, you, you want to have useful information for them.
If they're, if they're trying to decide which bridesmaid stress to get and they land on your page after clicking the photo, it really helps to have some information that's. Useful for that query.
Corey: Exactly. All right, so why don't we break down image search and image search ranking into two categories. One is the attributes of the image itself that will actually help the image to rank.
And then second are external factors, so things that are not part of the image, but like you just said, maybe part of the page or your website in general. Let's start with the image itself.
Dylan: Cool. Uh, the first thing is that Google loves to feature large, high quality images. If you ever look at image search results and start hovering over or looking at the top images that are ranking highest, generally, they're also quite large, uh, from an actual pixel dimension.
Um. I, I've tested this a little bit on some photo heavy sites and having large, like 5,000 pixel wide images, uh, was a ranking benefit. Uh, it definitely helped those image rankings.
Corey: Yeah. In fact, if you are in an image search, a little pro tip for you. If you're on desktop, you can go to tools right underneath the search bar and it will give you a little dropdown for size.
You can do large, medium, or icon. If you're on mobile, you'll actually see. I see right under the search bar or near that area, it's going to have an HD option, a Jif option, a, there's quite a few different little modifiers that you can put. So a lot of times people are specifically looking for a high resolution or high definition photos.
And so if you have a large photo, at least gives Google the option to show it in a modified search like
Dylan: that. Yep. Cool for that. Um. Single images, those tend to rank better than collages. Um, collages have their place. Sometimes they do rank, but generally they get so small in the grid that it's, it's hard for users to actually click on them.
Corey: Yeah. I really, if you think about it, the results themselves are a collage. It's already a, uh, you know, a mesh of lots of images that Google has put together. And so, like Dylan said. This specific images within a collage inside of another collage are usually so small that you just can't even see what's in them.
Cool. Yeah. And then we have, uh, you know, after that, Google's also using machine learning to try to figure out what objects are inside of an image. So if you're doing a Google search for, you know, just like I said earlier, I use this all the time on, on. Animals or whatever, Google can determine that there's an animal or a human or a specific object.
You can say, Oh, that is an Apple. Um, machine learning is very good at understanding those patterns, and they have some really great libraries now for determining objects. And if you want to check that out and see how spooky it is, uh, do a Google search for cloud vision API. And then there's a page there where you can go and drag one of your images onto it.
And in about. Two seconds or less. It's going to analyze that image and show you all kinds of things. It'll show you the faces, the tilt of the head, the emotion that's likely displayed there. It'll tell you color schemes. It'll tell you objects. They'll tell you where that image is found across the web.
All of that. Google can tell you within a second or two, so they have the ability to tell whether an object is in an image and how a search might. Need an object to be in an image.
Dylan: It's pretty incredible stuff. I've, I've worked on a few projects tuning those machine algorithm, uh, algorithms, machine learning algorithms.
Um, one of them was working on looking at which photos won awards, and then being turning that over large image. That's to say. How likely is an image to be at a high quality or like a visually stunning image.
Corey: That's a really cool way to do it.
Dylan: Yeah. Yeah.
Corey: And then also the aesthetic. So not only is it looking at objects, but it's looking at the visual aesthetic.
So what, what might that look like in a search?
Dylan: For sure. So sometimes you'll do a search for like a wedding related term, and. The overall aesthetic is usually quite noticeably a constant throughout that search. Um, and it might depend on the area of the world or what the theme is of the wedding, but you'll notice that like if you do a search for a wedding in like Charlotte or something like that, it's probably going to be like bright and airy and there's going to be some Spanish Moss and.
It's going to look like it was shot on like Fuji film by Jose V or something. Um, and it, because that's kind of the style that that area is known for. And so it might be hard to rank, uh, your images if they're very dark and moody and off camera flash and something like that. On the flip side of that is that Google likes to offer opposing viewpoints from time to time.
And so sometimes they will put both sides of that and let the users sort of decide and see what the user metrics go towards. Yep. And it reminded me of a favorite query that I checked from time to time, is if you just do an image search for Jaguar, uh, and it, you get an interesting result that it changes from time to time, but it's a mix of the Jaguar, the car brand, and Jaguar, the animal.
Um, and it's, it's really that they're trying to decide that intent, but they're forever confused.
Corey: Yeah. So I feel like this is a good example of a time when you need to know the rules and know what's expected before you try to break the rules, but then maybe try to break the rules intentionally. So if you do see, uh, one of the examples I was looking at was, uh, lace house weddings and lays house is like a garden wedding venue that has.
Tons of rod iron Ivy. It's very agreen. Um, and you'll see most weddings, they're used, some sort of white flowers. They're white roses or hydrangeas or something like that. And it's just, you see that across every single image that shows up in image search. Well, maybe that's great. You should do exactly that and that could help you rank there.
Or maybe you should try showing a nighttime photo from lace house where everything is dark and have these cafe lights that everybody wants to see. And so you kind of have to think what is here and expected whenever someone does a search, but also what could people be looking for that's not included in this top set of image results?
And how could I include that and would Google show that. I like it. Gotta experiment.
Corey: So let's move into the external factors that are not part of the actual image of the, but maybe other things like the page.
Dylan: Cool. The fun ones. So I think it was October, 2018 I've I've guessed on that date many times, but I think that's what it was.
Google had a massive update on how they. Do image results. Um, I have a feeling that they were working on this for a long time because I'd noticed these on-page factors really affecting image results. Um, and they're, they're as follows. So pretty much the whole idea behind this is that the actual. Content of the page that the images are embedded on is very important for that.
Images, actual image search rankings. Yep. Um, the main factor is how prominent that image is on the page. So, uh, is it close to the top? Is it large? Is it very featured on that page?
Corey: Now when you say featured, I've even noticed I was doing an experiment here and I was looking to see w you know, I looked through maybe six or 10 of the top.
Images for that query laced house weddings. When I was doing all the research, most, I think maybe out of that, maybe 60 or 70% of the images that were in the top 10 were the featured image for the page that. Uh, was ranking or that contained that image.
Dylan: It's really interesting I thinking about that just now.
Um, would you then recommend having a separate social share image from the featured image? Uh, my, my thought process here is that the featured image. If that's the case, should be free of text overlaps. Whereas the social image probably really benefits from having the title overlaid on the tech or on the phone
Corey: and even potentially a separate pen image if you're exactly sort of Pinterest strategy.
Yeah, I mean totally could do separate. That's why those features exist where you can change the share image from the featured image. If you don't have an option, some platforms don't. You have to use the featured image as the share image. Then just be mindful of that. I do. That's a good point that we didn't talk about as far as like the attributes of the actual image.
I have noticed. Both on Pinterest and image search. Recently, recently on Pinterest, not so much on image search. I've seen less and less text on the photos, so I was like, while I was doing some research on Pinterest lately, I was like, wow, this has really changed. It used to be much more text heavy. All the results had text on them.
Everyone was making their pins that way. Did some searches recently for like wedding venues and stuff. It was like maybe 10% of the returned images had text on them.
Dylan: Interesting. Yeah, that's huge. Big change. Uh, outside of that, just the text of the page around the photo is highly important. Um, so that can just be what you're talking about above and below the photo
Corey: could be captions.
Dylan: Exactly. So, yeah, Google's going to look at that and try to get some context about what this photo is actually about.
Corey: Yep. And then after that, the title of the page containing the photo. This is a big part of that change that Dylan was talking about in 2018 the image results. Started to display the title of the page under them as the caption of the image, or I should, my caption in air quotes here, but basically if you look at a set of image results on Google, you're going to see some text underneath the image.
That's the title of the page containing the image. That hasn't always been that way, but when they did that, they made it extremely obvious and clear that the title of the page has a big influence on. Not only the ranking of that image, but also the click through rate of the people who are seeing that image and image search.
Dylan: Yeah. I mean, as a user it's so much more, it's so helpful for me when I know what kind of website I'm clicking to and what page on that website I'm clicking to when I click on the photo, because it used to always happen where you click on a photo of the card that you're interested in or something, and that photo was embedded on just a random site and it, the other information was just completely irrelevant.
Yup. All right. After that, um, just the authority of the page or the site containing the photo. So how, like, what reputation you've built for your site, what backlinks see for crude? Um. That's all going to help your actual images rank. Um, and so that it goes back to the basics of SEO. But you need to be building authority.
You need to become the authority on the topic that you're trying to rank for. Um, all of that work is going to help your images rank.
Corey: And sometimes you may even be able to hack authority to get images to rank, uh, especially if you can watermark them. This could be an interesting thing. So example, um, whenever I was doing the lace house.
Example, or some research, I noticed that maybe two or three of the top 20 images were from lace house.sc.gov there's so it's an, it's a government. Owned venue, uh, you don't get much more authoritative than a dock of state website for a venue. And if it's got some nice photos on it, uh, those are going to rank.
But one of the things that you could do when I say authority hacking is you could give some of your images to the lace house to use on their site, and you could get your work to be featured in image. Search now that only really matters. Like I said, if you can watermark it or if you get a credit for it on the website or something like that, otherwise it's kind of pointless.
Dylan: Totally. Um, outside of that, the, the relevance of the actual page containing the photo to the intent behind the search. So this is kind of the larger topic that we've been talking about this whole time, but if, if the main intent behind, like a wedding related search is planning that wedding, and more specifically.
Uh, how to set up the venue for the re, the reception or the ceremony. Uh, you need to have that kind of information on the page if you want to rank for those terms. Uh, we were looking at an example right before we recorded this. And if you search Portland, Oregon wedding, uh, I have, I think it's three photos come up in the first row.
Um, all of those are coming from my venue. Blog posts. And so it's, it's showing, uh, heavily that the intent behind the term Portland, Oregon wedding is purely looking for a venue and trying to plan the wedding itself.
Corey: Yep. And this is, uh, an example. I, I talked to the project lead for Google images at an event at Google.
And I asked him a few questions, point blank. And in his little talk before I asked him questions, one of the examples that he gave was, uh, someone building a playground. I said that earlier, and I might come back to it. So, um, basically the idea was if. Someone is trying to build a playground in their backyard.
They might go to image search and do a search to get a visual idea of what they're trying to accomplish, but. These images are going to be ranked by the page containing them and how well it will help someone accomplish their task or goal is what you said. That's kind of the whole goal of image search is that they know whenever people come to image search, they have a task or goal in mind and they're thinking about how the page containing the image is likely to help them accomplish that task or goal.
Dylan: Interesting. Uh, the last one here, um, or I guess we have a few more, but the image being embedded on other websites and you, you briefly mentioned that with the lace house example. Um, one thing that I've, I've tested and I still don't know if I have definitive proof, but other SEOs do have this. Um, you can take a photo and embedded on.
Flicker and image sharing sites and it, it can help Google see that that image has been embedded elsewhere on the web and because your, the original source, it can help that image rink on your website. Um, outside of that, just using the URL from your server, uh, to share that image on other sites. That acts as a link to your site.
Um, and so typically I see this most often by sites that scrape images. Um, and so they're not generally asking for permission. And you'll just see these random sites show up with, uh, links to your images. Uh, but I still think that that is a way to somewhat build authority over time.
Corey: It's a tricky one. I wouldn't recommend this being like a thing that people do as a main strategy, but it's something to consider because the problem is if another side that's more authoritative than you use as your image, it doesn't always help your image rank better on your site.
It could just mean that they rank with it and your wrist doesn't rank at all because Google is definitely going to try to deduplicate images in image search. They don't want to show the same image twice. And I know that the same image may appear. In multiple places across the web, and they're not always going to go back to the source for that image.
They may show like the most authoritative page that contains the image, so you gotta be aware of that kind of thing, but just know that it could have some impact if they see that this image was used in a lot of places and attributes your site as the source that could help show that you are an authority for this image, that you're the owner of the image and help that image rank.
Dylan: Um, another point here is having the photo appear elsewhere on your website. Um, Jen, generally, I do think that this does help. Um, having the photo appear on your homepage is going to show that that's one of the most important photos on your site. Um, then Google is gonna have to figure out which page to actually attribute that to rank for, for image search.
Um, I'm trying to think of examples from my own sites. But generally if it shows up on the homepage, it's going to link to the homepage and image search.
Corey: Yep. And then the same thing with other places like other social profiles or Google my business. Um, we'll talk about that a little bit more when we get into SERP features.
But the idea is like, let's say that an image is on a page about your wedding venues. Uh, or a wedding venue, but also it shows up in your Google my business. And also it shows up in your Facebook page. Like maybe you had some, a photo album from that venue who can see like, Hey, the same business uses the same image in multiple places.
Um, that could help your image ranking and image search potentially.
Corey: I think here now that we're kind of at the end of some of these factors, um, I think it's really important for people to really take all of this stuff that we just said and digest it down to a few key things. And the most important thing is that you need to change your mindset from how do I spam this image with keywords to get it to rank for anything that I'm targeting and more.
You need to think, how can I create a resource on my site that helps people who are probably need to find this image? So if you're trying to rank for, um, Portland wedding photographer, it's not, you're not going to rank an image and immatures for Portland wedding photographer because of the alt text and the file name.
Like that's just not going to do it. You need to create a page or your site overall needs to be authoritative source about Portland wedding photography. So that. If that contains that image, it's likely to rank better. Same thing with like the wedding venue example. If you're trying to rank for lace house wedding, and I want an image to rank in the image search, well the page about the lace house, if it's an authoritative source for information that will help solve problems about lace house weddings and give people all the information they want to know, then the images on that page are more likely to rank.
And then I think something we didn't really cover here kind of mentioned at once. Um. Is that, let's say you do create that guide, a guide to getting married at the lace house. We mentioned that the featured image may get some priority. Uh, and we mentioned things like the aesthetic is important. Are the objects contained in the image are important.
You need to combine all of that and you need to think. Whenever I'm trying to get into the image results for lace house wedding, I'm probably only going to get one, maybe two or three images to show up here. Which ones on my page do I want to rank, which are most likely to rank. Then use that knowledge to make that the featured image or make sure you put text around the other images that you want to rank or optimize the file name and all texts on those.
Just to give it maybe a little bit of an extra push, but you had to make that whole thing
Dylan: exactly. So should we transitioned a little bit from showing how to get your images into image search to how to use your images to best improve your organic web search rankings?
Corey: Yeah, let's do that. It's like the flip flop of what we were
Dylan: just talking about.
Exactly. But they're, they're kind of related to an, I mean. Extremely related. Um, so outside of image search, uh, images can help your web page. Web pages rank better organically if Google thinks that images are necessary for the intent or will help the intent. And as photographers, that's going to be quite often the case.
Yep. So, I mean, visuals definitely they help improve the quality of certain types of content. Uh, use the example earlier, like a step by step, a tutorial. If it includes images, it's going to be better for many people than just text. Yep. Um, likewise, photography related queries generally need to show some photography.
Yup. That's kind of helpful. It's expected. Exactly. So we're going to see queries that contain things like gallery or photos or looks like, um. Quite often, um, or pretty much any random query we get, the inferred intent behind that is going to be images of, so if you see Yosemite showing up in your Google search console, people are looking for images of Yosemite.
All right? So as far as organic search goes, um. Do you want? Should we talk now about like image file names and all texts and stuff like that?
Corey: Yeah, we might as well bring it up.
Dylan: Okay, cool. So this is what kind of everybody goes to when they think of image search and it is a factor, but don't you have a stint?
You ask the guy at Google about this.
Corey: I asked him and his, his response was basically. My question was, how important are file names and all to actual rankings? Are they actually going to improve my rankings? And again, remember this guy was the project lead for image search. So he was thinking more from the frame, not what we're talking about now with is it going to help my organic.
My pages rank organically. He was thinking in image search and his answer was like, we may use those sometimes. If we don't have any other contexts, they could be important. If we don't really have any other good information about the images, we'll definitely look at that, like all texts and file names to try to understand what the image is about.
And so it was, in my opinion, his answer was essentially, it's one of the least important things. Especially if we don't have anything else in this scenario though. Talking about helping your organic ranking for the page itself, there's some interesting thoughts and theories. I'm still like not a hundred percent convinced one way or the other, but like my thought is all text.
Like, what is all texts? Why? Why would we use all texts in the first place? You answered that.
Dylan: Exactly. So all texts is purely for, uh, accessibility. And so people using screen readers or other sort of accessibility tools, uh, it's going to read the contents of the image. Uh, all text. Right. So it, it describes the image, so it gives them the same sort of experience when they're browsing the web as somebody that can see the image visually.
Corey: Exactly. Alt texts literally means alternative text if the image cannot be displayed. Exactly. Or seen. Yep. But anyway, what I was going to say is like the alt text has the potential to add context to a page in things, in ways that we might not normally use words to describe on the page. So, for example, if I'm going to keep using my last house wedding example because it just makes sense.
Um, let's say I do a blog post about place house, wedding, and it's got like 30 images. Um, I might. Not have gone through the trouble of like talking about some of the details. I might not have said something about the cake or the first dance or you know, the flower girl or whatever. But if I'm using alt texts to describe the photos, well I would probably going to describe exactly what's in it.
So flower girl dancing with the bride or you know, a couple cutting the cake, whatever, something like that. Just getting these words into this document. That are very, uh, contextually relevant to weddings can help to make sure, like help Google understand that the topic of this page is definitely weddings because they definitely talk about all the expected things we would ex we would think of whenever we think of the word wedding and the things that are related to weddings.
Theoretically. That could help. And I think it, again, it goes back to if they don't have that information already somewhere else, like if your intro paragraphs or if your title or if the other context of the page doesn't already give that information or enough of that information, then theoretically Walt texts could.
Help with that? Would you agree with that? Yeah.
Dylan: Yeah, I think so. And I, I did a test on a photo heavy site that had very little context around the images and the test was purely adding, uh, alt text to the, to the images themselves. It, it was probably. Even to slightly up for web search. It greatly improve the image search.
But that was because these, these pages had very little context outside of having a title. Uh, and a very short description. There was nothing else on the page.
Corey: But the whole thing is that shouldn't be your goal. Now, like if you're thinking about alt texts, you're thinking about SEO wrong in my opinion.
Like obviously I'm not saying don't do it again for accessibility. It's great and maybe it helps a little bit, but the whole thing is we should be. Making our pages really serve the searcher intent before Google even needs to look at the old text completion. Just be icing on the cake. Totally bad. Yup.
Dylan: And. I never want to hear the horror story of, I just spent two weeks going through my image library, changing my alt text. Like I hear that so often from photographers where they're spending hours or days or weeks doing this, and while all text is great for accessibility, the real problem is you have too many photos on your page, and even if you have a hundred photos, not all of them need all texts
Corey: from any summary.
Dylan: No, I mean, look at how many photos Google serves. I mean, if it's a competitive, uh, uh, query there, maybe in a sort of two or three of your photos, um, they're only gonna really index like 15 photos from any page. So, yeah. Stop having so many photos.
Corey: I think, I mean, this whole section of your, if your goal is organic search and improving your organic rankings, uh, and you want to use images to do that.
The real key here is make sure that. You're including an appropriate amount of photos for the intent behind the search. Like we said earlier, sometimes a visual will help improve the quality of a page that's being returned. So if we're trying to do a step by step guide and we only have one photo, that's a problem, probably need more than one photo.
You have a photo of every step would probably be good, but then like Dylan just said. Have fewer photos, like 15 to 20 photos per page is probably a great target for most scenarios. And in this case, you do want to be thinking about performance of the page, so we don't want huge images that are slowing down the page.
So compression and optimization of the file size is going to be important for organic rankings in this scenario.
Corey: All right. I want to get to my favorite topic.
Dylan: Let's do it.
Corey: Serve teachers. I feel like right now, I was just thinking yesterday, almost posted in the feeler photos group. I was going to be like, if you're not focusing on SERP features right now, you're not doing SEO because this is where.
Google is headed. They're headed towards trying to return. There is the answer that people are looking for in the shortest amount of time possible, and they're basically doing that by deconstructing web pages and building their own answer engine instead of returning pages. It's kind of annoying in some ways because it reduces the need for people to visit webpages in a lot of situations, but also we just had to kind of need to embrace it and try to do the best we can to get our way.
Our work featured there and entice clicks.
Dylan: Yeah. It's, I don't think it's something you can fight and they're only doing this because so many websites had such a poor experience. Once you do click through that, the user wasn't able to answer the question that they're trying to. Um, so yeah, search features are huge.
Um, I'll just quickly list some features or some search features and then you can talk about them, I guess. Um, the first is featured snippets. Uh, what are those.
Corey: So featured snippets are algorithmically determined results at the top of a set of search results that basically is going to pull the answer.
And sometimes it's simply a question and answer. You'll see like a question bolded and then answer in a paragraph or sentence form underneath it. Sometimes it will pull lists. Lists of information, numbered lists, bulleted lists. Um, sometimes it will pull step-by-step information. Sometimes it will pull, um, a video and tell you like a section of a video.
All of these things are featured snippets, snippets, and they are determined by the algorithm. So Google is saying, we think this is the most relevant information. We're going to go ahead and display it right here in the search results. It's kind of like taking the place of meta descriptions, but being much more dynamic.
Dylan: Um, you have a new term called super snippets.
Corey: We'd been like digging through feature snippets lately, and we've come across several, uh, we're calling them super snippets. Basically what they are, are featured snippets, but they are combining features or combining featured snippets using a brief created methods.
And so essentially what you'll see is instead of that one answer at the top. Uh, we've seen stacked featured snippets before where you have two or even three featured snippets that are all before you get to the organic results. But now what we're seeing is I think they're trying to shrink that real estate and make it a little more dynamic.
And that's what we're calling these super snippets. So an example, if you want to see one, go to a search for a Greek weddings, and you'll see one example of a super snippet, and basically it combines. Image pack with a featured snippet, and then keywords underneath that you can click and when you expand them, it's another featured snippet that is relevant to that particular keyword.
And just yesterday I saw one that had bubbles. So you had it. I don't think that one had an image pack. Maybe it did, but underneath, instead of these like keywords that you'll see on the one that I've mentioned here, it had keywords and bubbles that you could click that. Kind of just kind of like carousel in a new featured snippet.
So they're definitely working on stacking featured snippets. It's almost like you get a whole set of results within the set of results all in one block. Awesome. It's pretty crazy. Yeah,
Dylan: I did.
Corey: It's kind of hard though. I'm having a hard time like finding the patterns for how they're building these. Yeah, I think it's probably more machine learning than anything else for sure.
So like really figuring out how to optimizing and get these like additional pieces of featured snippets could be really tricky in the coming months and years. But we're going to try, we're going to dig in. We're going to figure it out. I feel like the.
Dylan: The strategy I'm thinking of right now is just looking at this page, looking at what content they're trying to display and making sure that my pitch has kind of a similar setup.
But yeah, it still
Corey: won't make a whole another podcast episode about super snippets.
Dylan: Exactly. You also have photos near, and this comes from like a location. Um, and it's, I think it's, if you're searching on mobile typically, right? Yep. And, um, it might be like photos near Portland. And these photos generally come from Google my business.
Corey: Yeah. From what we've seen so far, I, everyone I've seen has come from Google my business. Yep. So that's another good reason to keep your Google my business listing up to date with photos. This is part of an image optimization strategy. Using your images in places like Google my business and making sure that you might even want to curate that feed.
Every once in a while I go back and delete some of the ones that have no views and add some that are similar to the ones that have lots of views and things like that. Look at those like do a search for Portland wedding photographer. See what Google is showing us photos near Portland. Try to upload some to your Google my business that are aesthetically similar or have the same image.
Dimensions, things like that. Just test these things and see if you can potentially pop into that care so we don't have the answer yet on how do you get into the photos near feature. Um, but my thought is have Google my business and have it, if it's normally ranking, well, you're probably going to also get those images in that feature.
Dylan: Yeah. Uh, there's also just in the organic results on mobile, when somebody does a regular web search, it generally does show a photo thumbnail off to the side. Um, that's most often a featured image, but not always.
Corey: And I wouldn't say a pro tip here is make sure that you have something that crops well square.
Dylan: There you go. Totally. Without text overlay. Yep, exactly. Um, and then the final search feature is just an image pack, um, for. Queries that have a strong image intent. Uh, Google is going to say, Hey, we have image results as well. Check these out. Um, it can be like a grid of like six to nine images. Uh, it can also just be like a quick three, a carousel, or it can even have those bubbles that show different image, uh, taxonomies or, uh, types of image search.
Um. But yeah, so if you want to get in those, you're probably just going to want to rank well in the image for that term.
Corey: Yeah, and I would say that's also kind of like the flip side of that is if you come across queries that have these image packs, that's a really good indicator that you should focus on image search.
So go back to the section of the podcast earlier where we talked about image search, follow all those steps, create some sort of resource on your site around that image, and maybe you'll be able to. Kind of pop into the image search, there's probably easier to get into that image pack than it is to get into the organic results for something that has a really high competition level.
So that could be a way to kind of jump get something into that result quickly.
Dylan: Totally. Should we talk about using images for link building?
Corey: Yeah, let's do it.
Dylan: Cool. So I guess the first tip is just make sure that your photos are easy to pin. Um, having a Pinterest plugin on your site or something that gives a Pinterest share a button is going to help that quite extensively.
Um. We do recommend a WordPress plugin called tasty pins. You can go to feel your photos.com/tasty pins to check that out. Yeah. Um, and what that does is it has a few cool features. First, it does not use alt text to create the Pinterest description. It uses the actual. Pinterest meta-tags for their description, which means you do not have to stuff your alt text with, is it 500 words or something?
That is the maximum Pinterest, maybe
Corey: 25 something. It's huge.
Dylan: And people were jamming that full of just spammy all text. Uh, which. Would be torture for somebody with a screen reader to come across. Um, and so it does that. It lets you set a pin image specifically for each page, which is the one image that will come up for Pinterest on that.
And it lets you hide images if you don't want specific images to be pinnable from that URL.
Corey: I forgot on WordPress. Uh, sorry. Exactly. I mean, still think through this. Think through making sure that your images are easy to pin or that you have like some sort of Pinterest. Image that will link back to this.
And the reason we're bringing up Pinterest in the link section is actually twofold. One is those are links, like if you get the links from Pinterest, if you will, is crawling Pinterest and can come to your site from Pinterest. It could help your crawl rate, it could help, you know, prioritize a page and Google's crawl, whatever.
That's probably not that important for most photographers. But the other thing. That I've seen personally from this is I have one image from a style shoot. One time that went kind of viral on Pinterest, I think it was like 60,000 repins or something like that. And from that, I know at least two or three big publications picked it up in one of their roundups.
It was like a couple of holding a sign and it was like in these roundups like cute wedding signs or whatever. And so they were like, find it on Pinterest and just put it in their Roundup and then credit me with a link. And that was like brides.com and like several big. Names like that used it. So the idea here is if you can get yourself on Pinterest, that's one way to attract these kinds of automatic links from publishers.
Dylan: That's awesome. Um, after that, let's do having some photos with creative commons or attribution. Uh. Copyright. So I've talked about this. I think we mentioned in the course. Um, I had an old Patrion post about this, but, uh, you can set your flicker photos to be attribution, uh, copyright. So anybody that uses those has to link to you specifically in order for it to be a fair use.
Um, so you can put a few photos up and make them like. Like for me, like using wedding photos is great. Uh, engagement, photos, something like that, that I'm fine with people using on their sites and that I have releases for. And using that as a way to build backlinks over time.
Corey: Yeah. And earlier when I mentioned that pro tip about going to tools, whenever you do an image search, there's one that.
Has a usage rights dropped down. We have labeled for reuse with modification, label for use, labeled for non-commercial reuse with modification, legal for non-commercial reuse, et cetera. So like you can people, we send people steal images from image search, and that's probably going to be like 90% of people, but there are some people who.
Actually care about image attribution or the license, and they will still use image search because I can find images on image search that are labeled for reuse. And, uh, that would be a good way to potentially get some links.
Dylan: Totally. Uh, should we talk about, uh, submitting the Wikipedia?
Corey: Yeah, man, I think we talked about this.
We should do like some sort of scavenger hunt for Wikipedia. The idea is basically go, let's say you live in, um, I'm in Columbia. Let's say I go to Columbia and I look for a list of entities. There's actually a unexplored, I'll try to find the link, but there's a Wiki Explorer and you can like put in your city and then it will bring up like all of the entities on Wikipedia within your city.
Essentially what it's doing is it's taking like the Columbia SC. Yeah, Wikipedia page and crawling it and then pulling out all the links that go to other Wikipedia articles. You can do that manually as well. And the idea is like, look for every mention of something in Columbia. Go to it and see does it have a photo, does it need a photo?
If it doesn't have a photo and it needs one, or if it has a really bad photo, it needs a better one. Could you. Go take a photo. Um, make sure you're okay with the license being completely open cause it is, has to be creative commons to go on Wikipedia, right? Yep, exactly. And then, you know, put it on Wikipedia, submitted as an edit to that article.
Do you get, uh, attribution in the, um, citations in Wikipedia for that? Or is it.
Dylan: You used to, um, you used to actually get one high, like where the image was shown, it would attribute right under and now it links to a separate page and then your attributes from that. Okay. Um, so it's,
Corey: so, it's like an image attachment page on Wikipedia.
Dylan: Exactly. Not as good as it used to be. Cause for awhile I was trying to. I had a few like minor celebrity photos, and I was trying to get my images on their profiles, uh, because it, it would say like photo by Dillon howl right in the top of the article. And that's awesome.
Corey: Yeah. But still, something that might be worth doing should be relatively simple in some cases, especially if you're a little lucky.
Dylan: Totally. Uh, let's also talk about submitting to places where editors can pick from a pool of images.
Corey: Yeah. Like I mentioned earlier, you could do this with, with Pinterest, but there's other options like, yeah,
Dylan: two bright lights. Uh, they probably have the best solution that I know of right now. There's another one I, every time I'm on a podcast, I forget the name
Corey: of a match metrology or something.
Dylan: And so what this allows you to do is have a pool of images that you've uploaded that are like, say they're just wedding images and the editor of a magazine or an online publication like the knot or weddings.com uh, can just grab this cake photo that you have and use it in an article about cakes and you'll get a back link.
And I've had this happened, um, quite often. So it's definitely worth having that pool of photos to be used by these nice authoritative websites.
Corey: Yep. And then finally, you can leave photo reviews on Google my business as your business. So if you're a wedding photographer, this is especially powerful. It could also work well for a, like a newborn photographer.
You could leave reviews for people who make. Props or things like that if they have Google my business. Um, but just in general, what you're wanting to do is look for people you work with. So as a wedding photographer, this makes a lot of sense because you've got other vendors, you've got venues, and as your business on Google, you want to go leave reviews for them with a photo that you've taken.
And what this is going to do is not only can it. Is it going to give you lots of photo views on Google my business? Um, I don't, I can't remember exactly if that attributes towards you as an a Google local guide. I think it does. But anyway, the point is, it's not necessarily like this is a link and this is going to help your authority.
Maybe might have, might play into the algorithm somewhere. But the idea here is let's say you go and review a venue and you leave this beautiful photo and the venue comes and looks at it because they got a new five star review and they're like. Oh, wow, that's amazing. Look at the nice things this photographer said about us.
We're going to reach out to them, and then you're building a relationship. And so hopefully the idea is that you're going to get the opportunity to get a link on that venues website or that vendor's website at some point in the future. You know, don't do it just because that's your motivation. That's kinda like, eh, but it's part of being intentional about networking.
Dylan: Totally, and we mentioned this heavily in our backlink episode, but just getting photos to vendors in a timely basis will do wonders for your backlink profile.
Corey: Exactly. Cool. Well, we've gone over quite a bit here. We talked about image search and the factors for getting into image search. We talked about organic rankings of regular pages based on whether they include images.
We talked about SERP features and how to get some of those. With your images and then building links using your images. Do you have any parting thoughts? Anything else you want to say?
Dylan: Not much. I think we covered it quite well. I think in general, just. Think of how to best optimize how you rank your images and what goals you have with those image rankings.
Corey: you have more questions, I mean, you can always come to the field, your photos Facebook group, you can check out this podcast episode. Go to fuel your photos.com/podcast this is episode 10 you leave comments directly on this episode and we will try to answer those as well.
Dylan: Great. It sounds awesome.
Thanks for chatting about image search for about an hour.
Corey: Yeah, it's been fun. All right, we'll see you on the next episode.
Dylan: Talk soon.
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