History of Search: Search Engine Timeline
History of Search: Search Engine Timeline
Images are often overlooked in terms of their value for organic search results and search engine optimisation. Images can drive traffic through both image search and universal search results.
There are actually several dimensions to image optimization that can help achieve a better placement in search results, better optimisation for user experience, and in some cases, optimisation for easier sharing of images on the social web.
When working on image SEO, it can be helpful to think of optimising images like optimising a small webpage within your page. Things like url structure, anchor text and descriptive tagging are factors for optimising images for search engines, just like regular webpages.
Here are a few tips for optimising your images to improve their performance on the page and in search.
Finding the right kind of image is incredibly important. Great images can add another dimension to an article or page that can encourage people to share the page and create some great backlinks. Research shows that while text is still the first thing seen on the page, the image is what sells the page.
Here are some of the best places to actually find images:
You can also use Google Images to find images for your site, as long as you search with the proper licensing. (They allow you to search Creative Commons and other public licenses.) But you have to be very careful when using images, as if you don’t have the permission to reuse it, companies and sites can take legal action against you.
The general rule of thumb is this: if the image isn’t Creative Common licensed or you didn’t buy or create it, don’t post it.
Just like keywords in post urls are important for pages, the same is true for images. Using keyword-rich words in your image filename is important for helping search engines determine relevancy. Of course, most images that are not simply decorative like the one above and are literal and connected to the content of the page such as a photo of a product.
Google suggests that you should place your images in one folder on your site, mydomain.com/images versus placing them in random folders throughout the site. Another suggestion from Google related to file names or URLs of images is to make sure you use common image filetypes such as JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP.
Alt text or tags are another way that search engines help determine what your image is about. Unlike traditional web content, search engines can’t determine the text content of an image. (Search spiders are pretty smart, but as far as I know they haven’t developed eyes yet.) As a result, search engines need to rely on captions around the image, alt text, file names and other surrounding text. Adding descriptive text in the alt tag helps the search engines determine what the content of the image is.
If an image is used as navigation, ie as a link to another page, be sure to use alt text that is meaningful to the content of the page being linked to.
Anchor text is another important factor in image SEO. If you decide to link to images with text, your anchor text can play a role in how your image is ranked for keywords. Use descriptive anchor text that describes the image. For example, linking to an image using a generic term like “image” or “photo” or a file name that doesn’t use keywords doesn’t give search engines much meaningful information on what the image is about. Linking to an image with keywords is helpful to search engines as well as people visiting your site.
The content surrounding the image should be related to all of the things that you’ve optimized thus far: anchor tags, image url, alt tags. When these things align, it helps search engines confirm that you’re not spamming and that the image is of higher quality and relevant.
This goes for all kinds of SEO, but we’ll say it again just for clarity: don’t keyword stuff when filling out things like image alt text. Your alt text, captions and file names should be short and descriptive, not a long list of keywords. Remember to optimize images for your website visitors. Image SEO is as much about user experience as it is about achieving better search engine rankings.
Whether you are new to search engine optimisation and are trying to pick up some key pointers or are more experienced in SEO and want to stay up to date with the latest developments, announcements and recommendations, it is important to ensure you are sourcing your information from the right places. It can be difficult to work on your latest website or project and still stay up to date with new SEO developments, however staying up to date with SEO news is vital to any Webmaster and can be the difference between success and failure. By using a handful of the best SEO blog’s you can stay up to date with news that is vital to the future success of your investments, without spending hours trawling through various pages of poor articles or old news. Below are Pixelloop’s Top 10 SEO Blogs.
So I read a very interesting article the other day over at SEOWizz and wanted to share it with our audience.
Tim Grice is making a point of webmaster tools showing ranking position ranges as well as particular positions and that he has noticed a rotational ranking system that looks to replace the traditional attempts to rank for a certain position. In short now you will talk about ranking from between 1-5 5-10 and so on as opposed to a specific number.
If you search the same terms continuously you will notice your sites or sites your searching for do not maintain the same positions with each search.
Here is a snippet from the article, you can read more on Tims SEO blog.
OK so I decided a couple of weeks ago to rank for “SEO consultant”, just something I fancied really, not the most competitive term.
Anyway….. I have obviously been keeping an eye on the rankings over the past few weeks on this particular keyword and a few more as well and there has been some pretty dramatic trends in the rankings.
One day I checked and I was 7th for “seo consultant” refreshed and I was 15th, refreshed again and I was 4th!!!
Continue reading about The End of Google Rankings As We Know it.
Google Insights is an essential keyword research tool which can often be overlooked. Google Insights allows you to track the popularity of a keyword of your choice over a set time frame and see how it has performed and what patterns it has shown in the past. Google Insights also allows you to see the popularity of your keyword by country or by area of your chosen country. On top of this Google Insights provides SEO information on the most searched associated keywords and provides a list of the fastest rising related words and new related keywords that may be worth targeting.
When you visit the site, you simply enter your keyword of interest at the top, select the area and time frame of interest, and hit search. This graph shows the popularity of the keyword “SEO”, in the United Kingdom since 2004:
As you can see their is a dip in December each year, probably as this is when most SEO experts take a break for winter. When you are searching a key term relevant to your site or product it is very useful to be able to predict lows in search traffic, and therefore take measures to counter balance these. On the other hand you can predict when peaks in your search term will happen and target these key times with new articles or promotions.
The regional interest information is also very useful, you can view locational information for any keyword, either by country, state, city/town or metro. If you are doing SEO keyword analysis for a local business or competing for an area relevant keyword, this information can be priceless. It also helps to know what areas may be worth aiming for if you have a more general keyword which you are trying to achieve more hits for. This map shows the popularity of the keyword “poker” by US state:
If you had a poker site which was targeting the US, Nevada is an obvious leader, but keywords relevant to more unexpected areas such as North Dakota poker may be worth aiming for in order to get visitors to your site. If you are competing for your keyword locally or internationally, the information provided by Google Insights can be very helpful when forming your SEO campaign.
Perhaps the most important information provided by Google Insights is the ability to view the most searched for associated keywords and the fastest rising associated keywords. This image shows the data provided when searching the word poker:
If you are trying to rank for a difficult keyword, a good approach can be to target the top related searches before moving on to your main target, by doing this and also paying keen attention to “rising searches”, you can receive a lot of keyword hits before achieving first page results for your main keyword. The “rising searches” allow you to be one step ahead of the game and get in on new keywords whilst their is less competition for them.
Google Insights is a vital tool for anyone who works in SEO, or for “SEO aware” people who run a blog or website. Like any Google tool it is easy to use, and the “insights” you gain will be valuable to any SEO campaign.
Having several useful SEO Resources I can check on a daily or weekly basis form an important part of my ongoing development to learn more about determining ranking factors and achieving high traffic and results. The following is not an attempt at a concise guide to the world of SEO but more a good set of starting points and information sources to help in your learning and understanding of search engine algorithms and how to ensure your website and business stands the best chance against the competition.
SEOMoz is a search engine optimization consultancy based in Seattle. They provide both free and premium tools and articles to help webmasters learn more about SEO and stay up to date on changes in this fast paced environment. Their large team of experienced professionals work hard to serve both their clients, appear and internet marketing seminars and to develop the tools to help you and I succeed without having to pay thousands in consultancy fees via their unique tool set and knowledge base. Visit SEOMoz for start making the most of this powerful resource.
SEOBook is another very big resource for worthy news and information. They also have an SEO jargon glossary which can be helpful to keep to hand when reading articles. I really enjoy their video tutorials, they offer some free tools, articles and a training course that are definitely worth checking out. Find out more at SEOBook.
Matt Cutts is in charge of Web Spam at Google and has just past the decade milestone with the company. He is well known around the internet as a leading source of information on SEO, Web Spam and other related subjects. I only recently noticed that he has shaved his head, I think the Shaolin Monk Look is a pretty cool style for an IT professional. You can visit his blog at Matt Cutts.
This is related to the previous entry as the Google Webmaster Video Tutorials are delivered by Matt Cutts himself. Some very useful resources for Webmasters and the format is Matt taking questions from webmasters that write in. You can begin watching the videos at Google Webmaster Video Tutorials.
There are also some other individual SEO professional blogs that I regularly follow. The two most notable are…
SEOWizz is a valuable SEO Resource I have been reading for some time now and is run by Tim Grice an SEO Professional based in Yorkshire, England. The website features fairly regularly updated articles and is never the same old rehashed information. You can visit the website at SEOWizz.Net.
Michael Gray has a fantastic SEO blog and covers Search engine optimisation as well as some other interesting subjects that are complementary to the industry. I regularly find myself reading article after article and I would recommend you do the same. Visit Wolf-Howl.
In conclusion although this is a very complex discipline these are some useful starting points for learning more and some I have been using for some time now to keep up to date. Feel free to submit any other recommendations for our review or your opinions on the above.