Two years ago, I did not consider images as a tool for search engine optimization. If I added articles to photos, it was for decorative purposes. I liked some splash of color on my website.

One day, without any thought of how it would impact my site, I decided to apply basic SEO strategies to images. Since then, I enjoyed about 8% increase in my traffic – most of which came from Google Images. This image-based search engine gets over 1 billion views a day. Just imagine what it could do to your business if you could capture even just a small percentage of these views.

Google Images is not the only good reason for optimizing images; it also increases your ranking in universal or blended search results. In this article, I will share with you the techniques on how to drive more traffic to your site using images.

Top Five Tips for Optimizing Images for Google Images Searches

How to Drive Traffic to Your Site Using Images

1. Use High-quality Images

Using the right image is vital. By “right”, I mean image that is relevant to the topic and are wonderful to look at. Interesting or beautiful images can encourage readers to share the page via back links.

There are many places where you can get free or low cost royalty free images. I get mine from many sites including Flickr, iStockPhoto and PhotoDune. Make sure to read and follow the licensing policies before pasting any photos.

You shouldn’t be intimated to post your own photos as well. Just make sure the images are properly cropped, the subject is in focus, the composition well balanced. Photo editing programs such as Photoshop can be used to improve and create high-quality pictures. Retouching tutorial videos can walk you through the steps for developing necessary skills. I am not a very skilled photographer myself, so watching video tutorials for PhotoShop definitely helped me in creating high-quality photos.

Coming up with great images can be daunting at first. With constant practice and help of image editing programs like Photoshop, you will soon realize that it’s more fun than hard.

2. Create ALT Tag that Succinctly Describes the Image

Without an alt text or tag, search engines have no way of determining what an image is about. Search engines have no “eyes”, so to speak; they rely on texts to decode an image. A good alt text accurately describes what the image is about using phrases that reinforce local keyword phrases. Alt text is an effective SEO signaland is also helpful to readers with visual disabilities. Examples would be “red nail polish” or “baked macaroni”.

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3. Integrate Keywords Into the Filename

Keywords in image filenames enable search engines to determine relevancy. A gibberish “DSC0095670.jpg” filename does not provide any information about an image or a page. If an image used in article is about a red nail polish, the filename should be “red-nail-polish.jpg”.

4. Make Sure Descriptive Text Matches All Other Content

Your image description or caption should tie up with the alt text and image files. This tells search engines that your image is relevant and not a spam.

5. Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Alt texts, filenames and image descriptions should be keyword-optimized for better search engine rankings. However, as with other kinds of SEO, too many keywords can get you in trouble with search engines.

Reviewing Image Files in Your Web Pages

After learning the importance of optimizing images for search engines, I went back to my previous posts. I added alt texts and edited the filenames and image descriptions of images that were not optimized. I added images to pages that didn’t have ones.

Now renaming the filenames of 100 images and adding descriptions and alt texts, not to mention finding photos to use, is a lot of work. I have hired many freelancers to help me complete the job, and I will tell you that the investment is worth it.

In Conclusion… If you have not yet optimized your images to increase traffic to your site, try it now. Give it a few weeks, then review your web stats every day. It would be nice if you’d share with us the results.